Some of my earliest recollections as a child was remembering the smell of coffee and pipe smoke. I find that super amazing today that my Dad was a pipe smoker. I remember seeing pictures of him in the Navy with a pipe. It always had this sweet smell to it. He gave that up a long time ago. But the smell of fresh brewed coffee lingers as well. It is something that resonates with me many years later.
One thing I really loved as a child was the times when my Dad would come home from work late at night. I think my Mom was always a night owl, but maybe it was in part because my Dad worked late. Dad would come home and sometimes we’d wake up and run to hug him. He’d pick us up and throw us in the air. And then he’d rub his whiskers on our faces, which would make us squeal with laughter. I didn’t like it that much, but it was all part of the fun. My Mom would be watching Johnny Carson and sometimes we’d get to watch for a bit. She’d make all of us chicken and dumplings.
My Mom was always a big-time shopper. She loved to browse the stores at the mall. She loved thrift shopping the most; and still does. I would remember getting dragged to the mall and we’d park on the South side at the entrance to Macy’s (or was it JC Penney?). We would walk through the riding lawn mowers, pools, and kids battery operated cars, you know the ones a kid could ride. Only the rich kids ever got those things. We’d sometimes go to friends houses to play with their toys that we didn’t have. As we passed through the women’s clothing section, this one corner was strategically placed with gourmet treats like chocolates, caramel corn, and nuts. Mom would always order cashews. They were warm and placed in a paper cone. Oh my!!! They were SO heavenly.
One morning at church during Sunday school, a missionary to Brazil came to speak with us little kids. While we were talking, I smelled these wonderful aromas. I had a strong sense of smell back then and still do. I’m part bloodhound. I recognized both smells, but not both smells together. Definitely, the coffee. Surprisingly, the cashews. After the talk with lots of neat pictures, we were able to partake of the treat common in that part of Brazil where many kinds of nut-like trees are found.
I’ll say “nut-like” since cashews are “drupes” and not true nuts nor legumes. Coffee beans are actually fruits or berries in the category of stone fruits. Sorry, the botanist part of me came out there.
Regardless, there we were with coffee and cashews in front of us. The coffee was heavily laden with milk and sugar. I probably wouldn’t recognize it so much as coffee today, though I know many like it that way. I prefer black coffee because I love the taste and wouldn’t want to diminish all that goodness. But believe me, the combo of this café com leite with cashews was overwhelming. It had a profound effect on the rest of my life. I’m having this combo as we speak.