Food and Memory
Food can often bring back strong memories of places we have been and of people we know. Grandma’s amazing apple cake, Aunt Kate’s tasty pasta sauce… or perhaps you remember holidays by the ice creams you had? Chocolate in sunny Italy or strawberry on the beach in Devon? These foods can remind us of places we have been and happy times spent in the company of others.
In every issue of top UK children’s magazine, BRILLIANT BRAINZ, we feature a delicious recipe for your child to make, share, and savour — including this memorable one from July 2020 (back issue #22 – available to buy now from the SHOP link).
Let’s see if the healthy, child-friendly Knickerbocker Glory recipe below can make some new happy memories that your children can share with family and friends this summer.
– an old favourite modernized with a deliciously healthy twist!
Serves two. You will need:
- 4 bananas (peeled, sliced, and frozen)
- 2 tbsp of coconut milk (or any milk)
- 4 heaped tbsp of coconut yogurt (or whipped cream)
- 120g raspberries (mashed with a fork)
- 80g of chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts)
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 5 tbsp of maple syrup
- 40g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 40g each of mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries)
Note: Please have your kids check with you or another adult before cooking, particularly when using a hot oven, sharp knives, and electrical equipment.
Equipment: small baking tray/parchment paper, knife, chopping board, 2 tall drinking glasses or tall dessert glasses, tablespoon, blender, and small mixing bowl. Oven 200°C
- Once frozen, remove the chopped bananas from the freezer and place them in a blender with two tablespoons of coconut milk. Blend until smooth.
- Add the chocolate bits and mix evenly; place the mixture into a suitable container and put it back in the freezer (this is your ice cream).
- In a mixing bowl, add the chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, then add five tablespoons of maple syrup and give it a good stir.
- Heat up your oven to 200°C. Place a piece of parchment or greaseproof paper on a baking tray, then pour the sticky seeds and nuts mixture onto that.
- Carefully place the baking tray into the oven, and keep a close eye on the mixture (it can easily burn). This should only take up to five minutes before it becomes brown and bubbling at the edges. This mixture will stay hot for a very long time, so do not touch it! Wait for it to cool down; make sure your children ask you or another adult to help. When the mixture is cool, gently break it into chunks.
- In your chosen dessert dish, add the mashed raspberries, then a dollop of your banana ice cream. Add a layer of berries, then a dollop of coconut yogurt or whipped cream, and sprinkle on some more berries until your glass is almost full. Add another dollop of cream or yogurt, then place your mixed nut and seed brittle on the top and dive in!
Why THIS Knickerbocker Glory is good for your kids
Berries, particularly dark ones, are full of anthocyanins, which support the brain’s memory function, amongst many other health benefits. Walnuts contain ALA, a plant-based Omega-3 fatty acid, to help build and repair brain cells. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which helps to keep those brain cells buzzing for longer. Dark chocolate contains a powerful antioxidant, which may also help brain function.
Additionally, this healthy Knickerbocker Glory tastes amazing! It is going to be a memorable hit with your children, and if they share it with siblings, friends, or family members, it’s sure to join their personal ‘hit parade’ of happy summertime memories — and we can never make enough of those!
Making Memories and Our Senses
The reason why food memories are so very powerful is because they involve all of our five senses: Sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch. The Hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for regulating motivation, emotion, learning, and memory. It has strong connections with other parts of the brain through neurotransmitters.
One of these transmitters is called dopamine. It is connected to the ‘reward centre’ of our brain, giving us a happy emotion when it is triggered; this can be triggered by food.
Our five senses enhance our memories, connecting to the non-verbal part of our brain, helping us remember things more vividly. For example, the smell of homecooked bread might remind you of good times spent with one of your best friends.
These connections, and the memories enhanced by smells and tastes, are unique and special to you. Someone else may remember the same food – but will have a totally different memory.
People tend to remember more of the sweet foods eaten from their past. According to the latest research, the main reason for this goes back to a time when our primate ancestors were fruit seekers. Fruits that were sweet tend not to be poisonous, whereas bitter things often were. So, our memories are geared up to remember sweet flavours more than savoury!
Hmm… and on that point of making sweet memories for your kids, have you remembered to SUBSCRIBE to Brilliant Brainz children’s magazine yet?! :))