Food memories can be very powerful. For instance, I can remember where I was the first time I ever ate spaghetti carbonara, I can recall the restaurant where I first ordered duck confit (now easily my “Last Supper” choice…more on this later), and I have a vivid memory of the care with which I chose, and prepared, the first meal I ever cooked for my wife.
So much of who we are, and recollections we have of times spent with family and friends, are intimately connected to our memories of the foods we shared with these people. As a parent, I’m enjoying watching my kids begin to build their own catalogue of food memories, and wonder where and when they will hit the rewind button, and replay them in later years. I observed first hand the power of one of my son Boris’ fledgling food memories just the other day. We were out of town, traveling on our annual “guys getaway” trip the week after school let out, when he started asking me about where we’d be eating on this junket. We were traveling to a destination that we had visited before, and he was VERY concerned that I had made the appropriate dinner reservations in advance (such his father’s son, in a scary sort of way, I must say).
He informed me that there was one restaurant in particular that we just HAD to dine at again. When I asked why, he responded (in fact, all three boys did) that the Cafe’ Martinique served the BEST Caesar Salad on the planet, and that in their minds, the success of the whole trip would be at risk if we couldn’t secure a table!
I’m not kidding, this was a big deal to them.