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Man’s Quest For His Late Wife’s Chocolate Cake Ends In More Heartache As Kids Turn Against Him
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Man’s Quest For His Late Wife’s Chocolate Cake Ends In More Heartache As Kids Turn Against Him

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When you lose a person you love, there can be hundreds of things that remind you of them, from their favorite songs to the food they used to love or the color they despised for some inexplicable reason.

For this redditor, a dark chocolate cherry cake was one of the things that reminded him of his late wife, as it used to be his favorite thing that she would make. That’s why he wanted to recreate it, but after some unsuccessful attempts—and his kids refusing to give it a go—the man took the recipe to a bakery, where people managed to recreate it. However, his kids weren’t too happy about it. Scroll down to find the full story below.

Scroll down to find the full story below, where you will also find Bored Panda’s interview with an expert in nostalgia, professor of literature and linguistics at Mars Hill University, Hal McDonald, Ph.D., who was kind enough to answer a few questions about the link between food and nostalgia.

Certain foods can evoke a strong sense of nostalgia

Image credits: LightFieldStudios / Envato (not the actual photo)

This husband desperately wanted to taste the dark chocolate cherry cake his late wife used to make again

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Image credits: Andrew Neel / Pexels (not the actual photo)

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Image credits: Character-Form-3248

When it comes to food, it’s not only the taste, but, more importantly, the smell, that triggers nostalgia

You’ve likely experienced it firsthand – the feeling of a certain smell or taste taking you back in time to a specific moment, as if you were Anton Ego tasting the ratatouille for the first time since childhood. If you have, you know just how strong of a nostalgia trigger food can be.

Though, as a matter of fact, as Dr. Hal McDonald pointed out in an interview with Bored Panda, the real factor at work in taste nostalgia is smell. “Most of what we perceive as taste is actually smell, and of all the senses, smell is the most closely related to memory, which, of course, is the basis of nostalgia,” he said.

“We sense smells with a part of the brain called the olfactory bulb, which just happens to be located in an area of the brain close to a structure that is largely responsible for forming memory (the hippocampus) and parts that are responsible for emotions (the amygdala, for one). When we taste or smell something pleasant, our brain forms a memory of the smell itself, including the positive emotions first evoked by it—assuming it was a pleasant smell, of course—along with a recollection of whatever else we were doing and feeling at the time. The result is a powerful memory that is strongly tinged with emotion.”

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Prof. McDonald continued to point out that savoring that same taste later in life—which likely also involves smelling it—triggers both the memory of what we were doing when we first tasted it, and the feeling we felt at the time. “If it was a pleasant time in our lives, the taste transports us back to that golden age and makes us feel the way we felt when we first lived it.

“There’s actually a name for the phenomenon of taste carrying us back to an earlier time in our lives. It’s called the ‘Proust effect,’ named after the French author Marcel Proust, whose novel A la recherche du temps perdu begins with a scene in which the narrator takes a bite of tea cake dipped in hot tea and is immediately transported back to his childhood, when he first experienced that taste combination,” the nostalgia expert added.

Food nostalgia can provide comfort over a lost loved one

It’s no surprise that certain flavors or smells can not only take us back to a specific time or place, but also remind us of certain people, often those who are no longer with us. After losing his father not so long ago, Dr. McDonald shared having recently experienced a bit of food nostalgia himself, which, as he said, has brought him comfort.

“When he and I used to play golf, we would always get a Yoo Hoo chocolate drink after the 9th hole, before we started the back nine. I had not had a Yoo Hoo since the last time we played golf many years ago, but last week I picked one up at a convenience store and drank it as I was driving home. When that familiar taste hit my palate, I was transported back to the golf course once again, walking beside my dad as we approached the 10th tee. It didn’t make me miss him any less, but the vivid emotional memory of that earlier, happier time comforted me by reminding me of all the good times we had together.”

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According to the expert, while nostalgia cannot cure the grief we feel over the loss of a loved one, it can certainly make it easier to deal with. “Nostalgia in general has been shown to elevate our moods when we’re feeling down, and if that nostalgia is associated with the person we’ve lost, it not only makes us feel better, it makes us feel closer to the person we’ve lost. And, as mentioned above, food can be a powerful trigger for stirring those memories.”

Chances are, the OP wanted to relive the nice memories of eating his wife’s dark chocolate cherry cake on Father’s Day, or simply to enjoy the taste of her cooking again, which might have a positive effect on him, too. And even though the bakery making the cake close to what it used to taste like will not cure the grief, it can provide access to the dessert that can in turn provide beautiful memories of the fond times spent together.

Fellow netizens shared their thoughts and questions in the comments, the OP replied to some of them

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Miglė Miliūtė

Miglė Miliūtė

Writer, BoredPanda staff

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A writer here at Bored Panda, I am a lover of good music, good food, and good company, which makes food-related topics and feel-good stories my favorite ones to cover. Passionate about traveling and concerts, I constantly seek occasions to visit places yet personally unexplored. I also enjoy spending free time outdoors, trying out different sports—even if I don’t look too graceful at it—or socializing over a cup of coffee.

Read less »
Miglė Miliūtė

Miglė Miliūtė

Writer, BoredPanda staff

A writer here at Bored Panda, I am a lover of good music, good food, and good company, which makes food-related topics and feel-good stories my favorite ones to cover. Passionate about traveling and concerts, I constantly seek occasions to visit places yet personally unexplored. I also enjoy spending free time outdoors, trying out different sports—even if I don’t look too graceful at it—or socializing over a cup of coffee.

Indrė Lukošiūtė

Indrė Lukošiūtė

Author, BoredPanda staff

Read more »

I am a Visual editor at Bored Panda, I'm determined to find the most interesting and the best quality images for each post that I do. On my free time I like to unwind by doing some yoga, watching all kinds of movies/tv shows, playing video and board games or just simply hanging out with my cat

Read less »

Indrė Lukošiūtė

Indrė Lukošiūtė

Author, BoredPanda staff

I am a Visual editor at Bored Panda, I'm determined to find the most interesting and the best quality images for each post that I do. On my free time I like to unwind by doing some yoga, watching all kinds of movies/tv shows, playing video and board games or just simply hanging out with my cat

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calvinsmelliott avatar
Calvin Smelliott
Community Member
3 weeks ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My husband’s family has a recipe called “Granny’s Cake” that has no instructions, just ingredients. It took me a week of researching recipes and grilling the people that ate it when Granny made it. My MIL was so happy with how it came out. She said it was the closest she's had since the last time Granny made it. She had tears in her eyes. It was so sweet. I can understand OP reaching out to a baker. NTA. *love, hugs, and cake*

jennifercbowen avatar
Suzie
Community Member
3 weeks ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My mom had a mince meat bundt cake recipe. I remember the recipe being on the label she took off the jar of mincemeat. Darned if I can find that recipe in her recipe box. I've found a similar recipe which is as close as I'm ever going to get.

Load More Replies...
sprite420 avatar
Jeremy James
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Every year, I make my MIL a special ginger cake and lemon icing that I pieced together from her Mother's vague recipe card and from some Southern Living recipies. She thinks my partner makes it for her and they've bonded over it. If she only knew it was my gay little hands...

tamrastiffler avatar
Tamra
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Lol...your gay little hands are bringing joy by helping people bond over a delicious recipe. Good job, you!

Load More Replies...
zedrapazia avatar
Zedrapazia
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sounds like a great trade to me. Everyone can now taste the great cake the OPs late wife made so she can make many people happy beyond her death, and OP doesn't just have the full recipe now, but can as well get free cakes from the bakery for giving them the recipe. The kids shouldn't complain, after all they can have the full recipe too now.

Load More Comments
calvinsmelliott avatar
Calvin Smelliott
Community Member
3 weeks ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My husband’s family has a recipe called “Granny’s Cake” that has no instructions, just ingredients. It took me a week of researching recipes and grilling the people that ate it when Granny made it. My MIL was so happy with how it came out. She said it was the closest she's had since the last time Granny made it. She had tears in her eyes. It was so sweet. I can understand OP reaching out to a baker. NTA. *love, hugs, and cake*

jennifercbowen avatar
Suzie
Community Member
3 weeks ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My mom had a mince meat bundt cake recipe. I remember the recipe being on the label she took off the jar of mincemeat. Darned if I can find that recipe in her recipe box. I've found a similar recipe which is as close as I'm ever going to get.

Load More Replies...
sprite420 avatar
Jeremy James
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Every year, I make my MIL a special ginger cake and lemon icing that I pieced together from her Mother's vague recipe card and from some Southern Living recipies. She thinks my partner makes it for her and they've bonded over it. If she only knew it was my gay little hands...

tamrastiffler avatar
Tamra
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Lol...your gay little hands are bringing joy by helping people bond over a delicious recipe. Good job, you!

Load More Replies...
zedrapazia avatar
Zedrapazia
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sounds like a great trade to me. Everyone can now taste the great cake the OPs late wife made so she can make many people happy beyond her death, and OP doesn't just have the full recipe now, but can as well get free cakes from the bakery for giving them the recipe. The kids shouldn't complain, after all they can have the full recipe too now.

Load More Comments
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