27 Nov The Power of Food to Bring Back Forgotten Memories
Everyone has had that moment when they smelled a freshly baked pie and were instantly transported back to their childhood. The same childhood where you watched your grandmother put her mittens on and pull out that big metallic tray with that all-too-familiar apple pie that you know will taste great.
The reality is that something even as simple as a candy bar can pluck vivid memories straight from our childhood and transport them to the present. Memories involving food somehow just seem more real and recallable.
Food and memories just go together like two pieces of the same puzzle. Like apple pie and whipped cream.
Food and Memory
So, what’s the catch? How does food brings back a memory like nothing else does?
The answer lies within our senses. When we eat food, all our senses are at work. We see the color and shape of food, feel its texture and temperature, taste its deliciousness, hear the cutlery clinking, and smell the mesmerizing aromas.
The way the human brain works is by connects memories with senses. Each time we experience some sense, we recall the memories of it. All these connections are made in the amygdala (a part of the limbic system of the brain, and is the center for emotions).
When you eat something you ate before, you don’t only recall its taste and aroma, you recall whether you enjoyed it. You even remember whether you were sad or happy during the moment.
There is no doubt that remembering Grandma’s apple pie will make you feel happy. But this goes both ways. If you ate something that “your stomach didn’t agree with”, or you didn’t like the taste or smell, you’ll recall that experience too.
There’s a Reason Why the Brain Works Like This!
The reason the brain works like this is not only to remember the good times. This trait has helped humankind throughout the evolution process by helping with the simple decision of what’s good and what’s bad to eat. Just imagine our Paleolithic ancestors hunting. Without this trait, they wouldn’t have known what was edible. We all need to eat after all, so for them, this made the difference between life and death.
In fact, your innate reaction to sour and bitter things comes straight from evolution. Many bitter things are poisonous, and many sour things can contain dangerous levels of corrosive acids. It’s a great thing that we developed a way to know what types of food, and in which cases particular edible foods, can kill us.
Today, we might have this process of elimination done for us by people working in foodstuffs. Still, the key takeaway is the context in which recalling memories works.
How Accurate Are Our Memories Related to Food?
Studies in the past have shown that we remember:
- Around 20% of what we read,
- Around 30% of what we hear,
- About 40% of what we see
- About 50% of what we say
- About 60% of what we do
Remember, eating uses all the above combined.
Another series of studies have shown that when people learn under a certain odor, they remember far more than those who don’t. The experiment was simple and consisted of remembering a certain set of words. The researchers introduced a particular odor with a selection of participants when they were studying. The participants weren’t aware of this. Then, they reintroduced the same odor when all participants were answering. Those who were exposed to the odor when they were learning recalled far more words than those who didn’t.
In the End, Food Is About Enjoyment
Putting aside the way your brain works, food is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Besides it being a basic need, it does contain a much deeper meaning because it’s connected directly with our memories.
Even in strict diets like Keto and Paleo, there are “cheat days” to just indulge in comfort foods, within reasonable amounts that is. Don’t look at them as cheat days though, as this can evoke negative emotions and guilt. Look at them as a special day to put the diet aside and just enjoy life.
If you have any treats that you miss dearly, allow yourself to savor and relive your memories.
At the end of the day, it’s foods we attribute special meaning that allow us to revisit a time long past when life was perhaps simpler.
And sharing such foods with your friends and loved ones will grow the enjoyment. It will allow you to bond with your close ones through storytelling and sharing a delicious meal.
We Created Our Products as an Experience
We too have dear memories of our grandmother’s chicken soups in the winter, which kept us warm and healthy.
Each time grandma brought us her soup, just the smell evoked comfort and enjoyment, and every time we use her recipe, the same feelings return.
And it’s precisely this experience we want you to have with every sip of our bone broth.
We didn’t cut any corners in our commitment to re-imagine grandma’s recipe into a delicious bone broth. We went through countless formulations and different mixes of ingredients. Each mix underwent a tasting session. We even ditched suppliers and partners because we wanted to get it right.
And now, you can experience one of the dearest memories from our childhood.