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Food I've enjoyed

I've never really liked the notion of "comfort food," the idea that food, somehow, is supposed to make us feel comfortable. It gives me images of soft, amorphous, bland things like cream of wheat or mashed potatoes. Give your comfort food to your inner child and leave me to my olives and sherry.

What does interest me, though, is memorably good food, or food that just seemed great for one reason or another ... the combination of the food itself and the context in which it is eaten.

Kind of strange how my food preferences have changed over the years. As a kid, I didn't like anything. Give me meat; give me potatoes. I didn't like sauce, onions, or even cheese. In fact, I thought cheese was disgusting. As an adult, on the other hand, I like almost everything: artichokes, snails, blood sausage, oysters, you name it, as long as it's not liver ... give me gorgonzola!

Here's an annotated list of some of my top food moments.

1. Italian sausage sub with a Vernors, Traverse City Michigan, c. 1974. As a teenager, this was the ideal meal. We would go over to TC to shop, and there was a little place on Front Street that served italian sausage subs with marinara sauce and melted cheese. And you could get Vernors ginger ale as a fountain drink. Perfection.

2. Zarzuela (caldo) de mariscos, Mallorca, 1990. Strange how so many of my top food moments have to do with Spain. I suppose it is the combination of great food and simply the experience of the place. It was a broth in which was floating (or sinking) clams, fish, shrimp, and who knows what else, all caught in the Mediterranean. It was served with rosé wine, apparently poured from a cask into a carafe. Years later I had versions of this in Mexico in Cuetzalan and in Oaxaca, the only difference being that chili powder was seemingly added to the broth.

3. Raw oysters and beer, Philadelphia, December 2006. Some raw bar downtown. Very cold white wine is good with oysters; but surprisingly, beer also seems to go well with them. I only ate a 1/2 dozen oysters, but I remember the effect being like that of a drug ... a sort of elation as I strolled the streets. I remember also that on the same visit at a simple diner I got French onion soup. With crunchy croutons and crusted melted cheese. Never eat that at home, because no one likes French onion soup but me.

4. There was an old Japanese guy, Reji, who lived across from my friends Luis and Montse in Triana (Sevilla). He liked his wine so periodically he would journey to some pueblo in Huelva do buy these enormous bottles of wine (probably the size of about 50 regular bottles of wine). Since I was in Sevilla, I tagged along. We scored the wine, and then ordered some lamb chops (small and crispy) and shrimp and had them with the local (white) wine.

5. I was alone in Paris, so I didn't really want to eat at a restaurant by myself (2004, summer) so I would go to a bakery and get these individual quiches, and then to a wine shop for a bottle of red from Gaillac. Then back to my dive hotel to feast.

Enough for now; possibly to be continued, for I have many other good food memories.



happy hours

wow, I don't think I have any specific food memories but yours are making me hungry!
I do remember while living in Key West I loved to go to happy hour at the Turtle Krawls bar on the wharf and get the 10 cent hot wings. They were huge, and a basket of 30 pieces made a great 3 dollar dinner. That and a couple bottles of cold beer after a hard day of working on the water was most enjoyable. Sailing out to the reef and back every day was hard work, ya know! haha
Occasionally I would go next door to the Raw Bar for the 10 cent clams and oysters.
hmmm, all of my food memories seem to come from bars. Oh well.

May 2018



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