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Perspective: Memories that smell good


There’s something special about memories that smell good.


I’m not sure how the brain does it, but there I was, walking from one room to another, right into the aroma of ginger bread cake. Not cookies. Cake. That’s what I called what my mom served hot out of the oven with whipped cream on top.


This has been happening a lot lately — flashbacks to smells and memories of my mom in the kitchen.


My go-to person when this happens is my sister, who remembers more than I do. We’ve been talking a lot lately about those dishes — sharing memories.


The cinnamon and sugar toast made in the oven. Some crazy dish called milk toast — a piece of toast covered in hot milk and sugar. And that reminded me of her egg gravy over toast.


Such memories aren't linked only to Mom. I remember when Dad showed us how to make “California style” hamburgers. I was amazed by the new taste and Dad's cooking knowledge.


I smile now because he simply added lettuce and tomato to the burger. Onion was optional. Yep, I was easily impressed, but hey, back then a tomato tasted like a real tomato.


We seldom went out to eat when I was a teen in the early ‘60s. So it was a big deal when we loaded into the car and drove to a Friday night fish fry at the VFW.


I always got the same thing. A bottle of root beer (maybe two), fries and breaded, deep-fried shrimp with the great sauce.


Even now, if we do a fish fry, I order the same thing. It's not quite the same, but it's close enough. Because it's easy to remember how it felt — our big night out.


And that memory is still delicious. They all are.


I’m Lonny Cain … and that’s my Perspective.

Lonny Cain, a graduate of the journalism program at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, has been in the newspaper business for more than 45 years. He and his wife have three sons. They live in Ottawa, where he was managing editor of the local daily newspaper for 30 years, retiring in December 2014. He continues to be a columnist for The Times in Ottawa and is pursuing other writing projects.