In case you, future 30-year-old Soso, friends, relatives, random stranger, wanted to know me better. Well, you probably know this already, but just in case you didn’t, let’s make it completely, absolutely, crystal clear.
I love food. Of course, it has to be good food, but assuming that, I LOOOOOVE food. While most of my day-to-day memory is fading, I have almost an elephantine memory when it comes to good.
For example, my memory of Korea. I left when I was 7 years old, an age old enough to have some solid memories, right? Well, I have forgotten most things. I’ve never been back and I don’t have pictures readily available to reinforce my memories.
BUT… I can recollect vividly the perfect Korean Miso soup my aunt, the youngest sister of my Mom made. The salty, flaky, succulent grilled fish my mom made one day from a fish that my uncle, the husband of my mom’s middle sister brought. The homemade dumplings (mandoo) steamed perfectly and eaten with a slightly tart soy sauce. The fried rice with a fried egg on top with a thin cross made with ketchup that added a contrasting sweet and sourness to all that fried goodness. I can recollect the taste.
My memories of my first year in this country has faded to. That was 28 years ago. BUT…I remember to minute detail my first bite of pizza. My brother and I were at my Dad’s store in White Plains. My brother and I were hungry. My Dad bought us our first slices of pizza at a regular run-of-the-mill pizzeria next door. Hot, straight out of the oven. The first bite had a slight crunch with a soft chewiness combined with the taste of sauce and gooey cheese that was life changing. I instantly fell in love with pizza. To this day, I compare every pizza to that first taste. Alas, after about 1990, I have never been able to replicate that same taste. I don’t know what happened, but all the local pizzerias pizzas (even in NY) had lost that special taste and the perfect crispy to chewy balance.
Ten years after our Hawaii honeymoon, I remember the meals. Yeah, it was beautiful, but you can find island/beach beauty elsewhere. What you can not replicate is the taste of fresh, crisp Kula green salad. Yes, salad! Hawaii food experience was interesting. The meals I remember were not from the big expensive places. The famous seafood restaurant in Kauai? I only remember the delicious salad with pears and an awesome dressing.
What I remember fondly is the wonderful bread at Casanova Bistro, the best bread I’ve ever had to this day. The sandwiches we had picked up before a hike up the Na Pali Coast, made with turkey, bean sprouts, avocado and some honey mustard dressing on fresh rustic bread. A plate lunch from a hole-in-the-wall eatery off the side of the road on our way to a beach.
When I’m 80 years old and I can barely remember my own name, I know I’ll remember the food from Peru. One of the top reasons why I want to visit Italy so badly is for, you guessed it, food.
Fresh, savory, food. Believe it or not, I don’t find that combination all that often around here. It is why I don’t go out to eat very often. There’s nothing worse than bad food except mediocre food at a restaurant.