I ask people all the time what is their earliest food memory. But when I turn this question on myself it would not be a single taste, but a smell—my grandmother’s house.
My Mormor worked as maid for upper-class Swedish families during two World Wars so she knew how to ration food. Bread could be used for three days (eaten fresh on day one, toast on day two, make croutons on day three) and she taught me not to waste any part when cooking meat, pork or poultry. This waste not, want not mentality might have its roots in survival, but it’s also weaved into preparing some of the most exotic delicacies. The first time I had fugu (blowfish) in Tokyo, I started my meal with fugu sashimi, went on to have it portions of the poisonous fish baked and fried, and ended my meal with a soup made from vegetables and the blowfish’s bones.