The Scent of a Memory

Does this ever happen to you?

You catch a whiff of something and all of a sudden you remember a person, a place, an event.

Like the way a certain spice reminds me a grocery in Jakarta, Indonesia. I don’t remember much about Jakarta, as we lived there for only a year when I was six years old. I can’t explain it – I don’t think it’s one specific spice but a mixture of several – but it takes me back to walking through the aisles of Hero with my younger brother and his nanny, under the bright fluorescent lights, on our way to the exit. Is that weird?

I made strawberry shortcake pancakes (recipe from Crumb here) for breakfast a few weeks ago. Previously, I used regular unsweetened yogurt but this time I followed the recipe and used greek yogurt. They turned out really good. Fluffy and light, with just a touch of sweetness from the strawberries and maple syrup. Halfway through eating a stack, as I was about to put a forkful in my mouth, I inhaled. And suddenly I remembered the Jelita Cold Storage in Singapore (funny that I only remember groceries!). My aunt lived in Singapore for many years, and we would visit often. In the recent trips there, I would walk from her house in Bukit Sedap to Jelita Cold Storage. to buy food to take back with me to Manila. There’s a bakery right at the entrance, and maybe the combination of vanilla and strawberry in the pancakes reminded me of how the store smelled whenever I would enter the grocery.

That exact moment was what inspired this blog entry. I had to wait a while to make those pancakes again though, because I had already devoured the entire stack and wanted to include a photo in the post! Yesterday, I went to S&R specifically for greek yogurt and strawberries. I couldn’t find any strawberries so I bought a punnet of blackberries instead. So today I made the pancakes but changed it up a bit, and substituted the almond extract (which I hadn’t used the last time) for lemon extract and strawberries for blackberries, then topped it with whipped cream.  I also used up the whole container of greek yogurt, as there was a tablespoon or two left and I didn’t want to waste it, and it definitely made the pancake softer. My husband liked it, asking if I did anything different. I liked the addition of the whipped cream, and also poured maple syrup over it, but I’m certain it added way more calories than necessary!

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Make these pancakes for breakfast – or dinner if that’s your thing! I promise you won’t regret it. And who knows? It just might conjure up a memory of your own.

Sig