Sight, smell, touch and taste, of course. Nothing lights up our mind and body like cooking can, which makes a special experience in the kitchen one we remember, return to and savor for life. We asked a few of our favorite kitchen pros to dish (pun intended) on their most delicious food memories, most nostalgic cooking moments, and the recipes they return to with soulful affection.

We can’t all bake cake with domestic legend, Ina Garten (see below!), but cooking mindfully means collecting your own mental album of meaningful cooking memories. From scooping up grandma’s homegrown culinary secrets, to indulging in true Italian cooking abroad, get inspired to build your own kitchen memories with a few of our favorites…

Laurel Gallucci, Sweet Laurel Bakery

Making banana bread with my mom when I was five or six. I remember tasting the batter and being instantly hooked!

Giada de Laurentiis

My favorite holiday party memory is of my entire family in the kitchen together. We do a potluck-style dinner and everyone is in charge of one dish and we all cook together. I’m in charge of dessert… Raffy usually gets the honors for the main!

Phoebe Lapine, The Wellness Project

The time Ina Garten taught me how to make German chocolate cake.

Barrett Pendergast, Valleybrink Road

Eating at Antica Locanda Di Sesto in Lucca, Italy.

Ayesha Curry, The Seasoned Life

My mom making Trinidadian crab and callaloo. Sooo good!

Julia Sherman, Salad For President

It might be because I was just writing about it for my blog, but on a recent trip to Ensenada, I spent the day making salad with the chef of Mexico’s first farm-to-table restaurant, Laja. We spent the day picking veggies from their garden, and he wined and dined me, cooking elevated veggie dish after veggie dish just for me. That night, I joined his brother (Laja’s organic gardener), on the side of the highway. He runs the family’s decades-old carnitas stand, and starts cooking the pork at 2 a.m. We spent the night stirring the cauldron, finally tasting the best carnitas I have ever had around 6 a.m. as the sun rose.

Annemarie Ahearn, Saltwater Farm

Making lasagna with my grandmother in Florida when I could barely see above the countertop. (I had to stand on a stool to participate.)

Chef Derek Simcik

Eating crawfish, crabs and fried fish with family down in Lafayette, Louisiana.

What’s your favorite kitchen memory? Share below with our community…

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