If I close my eyes, I can clearly see our first kitchen where I lumped potatoes (they never came close to mashed when I first started) and mixed scrambled eggs. I could see into the back yard when I stood on the little footstool my Dad made for me (and Mom, so she could reach things in the top of the cupboards) helping Mom at the stove, as there was a window over the stove. We moved from that house when I was seven.
I really got busy with learning in our next kitchen. By the time I was 11 I could do dinner from start to finish...if you don't count the coffee. I didn't drink coffee, so I could never remember to start it on time.
My aunt always complained, so I ended up putting her in charge of it...learning at an early age how to delegate. My favorite food memories are the simple foods: fried potatoes, onions and hot dogs; stroganoff; fried cabbage and noodles; stuffed cabbage. And, of course, her famous "roast chicken on the floor".
It slid off the platter onto the just-washed-yesterday linoleum. We did a "pick it up-brush it off-don't tell anyone" dinner and no one was any wiser.
I have a number of recipe boxes that were my Mom's, along with an album she used to collect her favorite recipes, and all the cookbooks she owned. I may not use them much for cooking, but they evoke all sorts of wonderful memories. The best memories, though, are the ones that pop up when I make something that smells just like childhood.