What is it that etches some memories in the brain more deeply than others?  I would think it would be largely a matter of impact or importance, big moments vs mundane days, but in my experience, and I am guessing yours, that isn’t necessarily the case.  Every summer with the first really steamy day – the sun is intense, even through the haze, the air is damp and not a hint of coolness is to be found, not even in the breeze, if there is one – I am vividly transported back to mid to late 70’s upstate NY.  It’s flip-flops and cut off shorts. It’s hoses washing wood panelled station wagons, Steve Miller Band on fm, nights of neighborhood-wide games of kick the can, and my friend’s pool. It is also, and here we get to the point, the Worst Sunburn Of My Life.  Maybe it’s Severe Pain that is the strongest etching tool, haha, because, boy, do I remember that day. I had been at this friend’s yard, at the pool but also helping with…something. That part hasn’t stuck around. What has stuck with me is the aftermath, sitting on the couch, watching The Hobbit, my mother plying me with grape Kool-Aid and salty chips (from the metal tin that came from the chip delivery man – WTH was that?  The 70’s were weird – and wonderful). So that flavor memory, for whatever mysterious reason, has strongly stuck with me. Years ago my husband and I spent way too much money on one meal, a fancy tasting menu by a fancy city chef and I barely remember one or two courses. Chips and kool-aid? With me forever. Go figure. In any case, it has been so persistent an impression that I figured that I needed to do something with it.  The first thought to come to mind was to try a cake.  I made a cake that had the kool aid mixed into it with crushed chps in the frosting, and one with finely ground chips added to the cake with a kool aid frosting. 

Served them both to the fam.  The consensus?  Decidedly MEH.  Boo.  Ok, that’s fine.  Back to the drawing board, because I am determined to work this hounding devil of a flavor monkey out.  Stay tuned, but if you want to try the cakes out yourself, have at it.  (Basically, add 1/4 cup powdered kool-aid to your favorite yellow cake or 1/2 cup frinely crushed potato chips.  Or whip it into a butter cream.  I am not going to bother with a recipe since I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome).  Better yet, if you come up with a tasty version, please share!  Hmmm…maybe a cocktail for my next attempt…


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