Round the kitchen table: Forbes Museum launches Recipes Remembered

We, at the Forbes Museum, would love to know about your favourite foods, how to make them and your memories associated with them.

Many of us have memories of foods that take us back to our childhood or to a special person that made them or with whom you shared the food.

It may be a simple evening meal that your mother made on weeknights after school, or a more elaborate dish that you associate with special events like Christmas and Easter.

Even your first baking disaster can be memorable-mine was the making of rock cakes at school. They were literally that, as shown by my brother who, when I proudly offered him one, threw it at the wall and not a crumb dropped off! Devastating to a 9-year-old.

No matter the importance, memories involving food are vivid and they often feel more evocative than other types of reminiscences.

Susan Whitborne, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts, USA explains, 'Food memories are more sensory than other memories in that they involve all five senses, so when you're that thoroughly engaged with the stimulus it has a more powerful effect.'

You're not just using your sight, or just your taste, but all the senses which add to the richness of food memory.

These sensations combine with the situation- where you were, who you were with, what was the occasion- adds the most power to our sentimental recollections.

Only the other day, while I was cooking sweet mincepies for Christmas, our daughter came in and told me that smelling them made her feel 'Christmassy.'

'Food memories feel so nostalgic because there's all this context of when you were preparing or eating this food, so the food becomes almost symbolic of other meanings,' Professor Whitborne says.

Many of our memories as children, maybe an apple pie cooked by your mother for example, convey the whole experience of being in a family, where we are nourished and loved.

In this way the pie acquires a great deal of symbolism apart from the sensory quality of the food.

It is because of this that Hadley Creighton Bergstrom, an assistant professor of psychological science at the University of Oregon USA, uses food in his human behaviour studies.

In the memory neuroscience laboratory there, he and his team study how memory is stored and retrieved in the brain. He recognises that the nature of food memories is not just based on facts or our need for survival but are shaped by the context- the company, the situation and the emotions experienced at that time.

Bergstrom states that the reinforcing nature of food is what drives memory formation in the brain and creates within us the feelings of nostalgia.

This is why we want you to share both your recipes and your memories associated with them, so that we can record them in a book, "Recipes Remembered."

Our history is far more than the amazing objects that we have on display at the museum in Cross Street but it is the personal individual experiences of each one of us that now call Forbes our home, no matter where we were born or what country we came from.

Forbes has always been a multicultural community with a fascinating rich heritage that we must preserve in a variety of ways. This is one valuable aspect that we can recognise and record for future generation.

We are really looking forward to receive your contributions.

Recipe templates are available at the Forbes Historical Museum on Cross Street from 2pm to 4pm daily or they can be emailed to you. Our email is forbesmuseum@gmail.com