Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What is the most delicious thing you've ever eaten?

I once said during lunch at the office cafeteria that I didn't care that much about how food tasted. What I meant was that I didn't find myself able to distinguish the finer naunces about whether something had paprika in it or cardomom or too much cayenne and not enough all spice. In short, I'm not a "foodie." I can and do care if food is palatable or disgusting and I can tell if something has too much salt for my liking. Well . . . I think you get the idea.

But, how then do I answer this question?

I guess I go back to food that have been memorable to me, for whatever reason. And the first one that comes to mind in that regard is a random series of memories I have from childhood about a restaurant that we sometimes went to in Albany, Georgia.

Albany is about 45 minutes west of Tifton, where I grew up. Mostly I visited Albany to a.) experience a real Mall with lots of stores and restaurants inside the Mall (something Tifton never could provide, even in the best of years) b.) visit my orthopedic doctor/surgeon on a semi-regular basis. But I can remember a few times when we went to eat at this restaurant. I wish I could remember its name, but it registered as a fancy place. (It had white tablecloths on the tables and cushiony, leathery type chairs to sit in.) We probably only went there a few times in my childhood because my Dad had gotten a salary bonus or something kind of unexpected and he was treating us to something special . . . not that I would have known that at the time or even paid much attention to it if it was said out loud. But that was likely the circumstances for it.

ANYWAY . . . what made this restaurant special to me was the salads they served before the meal. It was something about the dishes the salads came on, or the way that the different dressings came not in bottles but in smal individual bowls all carried in a metal caddy. (I distinctly reember the caddy.) But above all of that was . . . bacon. I remember crumbled up bacon on the salads. Honest-to-goodness bacon that had just recently been cooked crumbled and put on my salad just before it came out to my seat. It was still warm and slightly chewy. It wasn't Bac'n Bits from a bottle. It was warm, REAL bacon.

I still carry a faint trace of that culinary surprise, even if I can't piece together much more than that.


What since childhood? Well, there were many good restaurant experiences during our honeymoon in Charleston, South Carolina. I remember the red beans and rice that I ate our first night after driving into town from Savannah. I remember the she crab soup I ate during a lunch stop one day at a small restaruant tucked away in a neighborhood of Charlestonian row houses. I remember the fancy pasta that we at at the only restaurant I remember by name (The Library at Vendue) and especially the salads we ate that night . . . because it consisted mostly of greens--funkily shaped leaves the likes of which I wasn't used to in my salads from childhood or salad bars or college. But mostly I remember that we consciously spent more on food during our honeymoon than most anything else. We ate well (for recently being in college) and we really liked it.


When I was in Hawaii many years ago, I remember eating a piece of pork tenderloin that had been marinated in soy sauce for a long time and it was tender and flavorful and really, really good.


I remember the first dinner entree I made for Lynda in our first aparatment, when she came home from her first day of professional work. (Skillet fried chicken fingers I cut myself from chicken breasts, accompanied by a homemade honey mustard dip)


Come to that, I remember one of the first meals we ever ate at a couple after the honeymoon, lving in the Town Terrace in Tifton, eating early morning cereal and drinking coffee from our newly washed wedding china.


There are lots of random food memories over the years. But what is the most delicious thing out of these memories and many, many more?

I guess I don't have a very good (or completely satisfactory) answer to that question. Because I remember more about the people and some of the circumstances of the eating than I do the food itself. Maybe that means I just haven't eaten anything truly exceptional. Maybe that will come later in life. Or maybe I'm back to where I started this post. Maybe I just don't care enough to come up with the correct answer.

But anyway, that IS my answer.

Thanks for asking.

1 comment:

GregM said...

Interesting, Dave. I think I approach food in much the same way - or at least with a similar result. I tend to eat for texture more than taste, so I don't tend to remember flavors all that distinctly.

The thing that caught my eye the most in your post, though, was your mention of The Library in Charleston. I've actually eaten there, too, during a college school-related trip. Only time I've ever had duck, which I do recall to be very good. Also the only time I've ever eaten out at a private dining room, with a server standing continually at the door. Very good, and quite an experience!

I'm going to have to work up some questions for you. Be back soon to see what else you dare to answer! :)