Memory and Taste

“The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it….” but “….as soon as I had recognized the taste of the piece of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-blossom which my aunt used to give me …. immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set to attach itself to the little pavilion opening on to the garden which had been built out behind it for my parents.”

Marcel Proust, “À la recherche du temps perdu”

Isn’t it amazing what memories return when we taste something? Just today I took our son for a walk while my wife taught a piano lesson. While walking we stopped by the Mexican grocery store in our town. I saw something I had not seen in years: a Fanta soda bottle.

This may not mean anything to you, but it does to me. My dad’s lumber yard had an old Coke machine; the kind that stored bottles. The machine was old and only took dimes. Sodas then were 30 cents, maybe 40 cents after a while. There was Coke, Sprite, and Fanta Orange, Mr. Pibb, maybe Frostie Root Beer too. I recall going to the lumber yard after receiving my allergy shot. I saved up my dimes so I could buy a soda. The sound of the dimes chinking through the machine, the sound of the ribbed bottle coming out of the slot, the sound of the cap coming off, and then…the taste of Fanta orange soda. Ahhh. No High Fructose Corn Syrup back then! Pure cane sugar, baby!

The Fanta Orange I had today comes from Mexico. No HFCS, baby! Only pure cane sugar. The minute the beverage hit my lips, I was taken back to that lumber yard with its distinctive smell (one I smelled in a friend’s truck yesterday), waiting for my dad to close up shop so I could go home, eat dinner, and watch TV.

Now and then I will treat myself to a Mexican Coke. The taste of cane sugar in the Coke takes me back too. The same can be said for Dublin, TX Dr Pepper, a treat I received for my birthday four years ago from a dear friend. There’s just something about soda with real sugar that takes me back to a time when life was a lot more simple.

Good times, my friends. Really good times.

– KT


One Response to “Memory and Taste”

  1. I drank a ton of Fanta when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya many years ago. I haven’t come across a bottle of it since then, but now I know where to start looking. Good times indeed!

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