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What is your most memorable food experience
Old 08-11-2011, 09:40 PM   #1
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What is your most memorable food experience

I was contributing to the Canadian Food thread when I was inspired to create this thread. I will start off with my own experience and as you will see it isn't about a gourmet meal I savoured but a small incident that has stuck with me and is brought to mind whenever I enjoy a ripe peach.
I was a teenager visiting Belgium with my parents. The hotel in Ostend packed us a box lunch as we were going on a daylong bus tour to the historic city of Bruges. After seeing some of the sights, we choose a bench along the canal as the site of our picnic. We ate the delicious sandwiches and then set about eating the perfectly ripe peaches that had been included . We were from Ireland at a time,the 60's. when fresh fruit was a rarity there and I had never eaten a peach before. It was a hot day and the peach was warm and juicy..I savoured every bite. My father, who was an extremely quiet and undemonstrative man was obviously carried away by the sun, the foreign ambience and the anticipation of biting into the luscious fruit. While my mother and I wolfed down the fruit, my father made a great production of producing his pocket knife and carefully peeling the peach. As he raised the golden orb to his mouth his juice slicked fingers squeezed a little too hard and the magnificent morsel popped from his grasp and landed on the graveled bank of the canal. Anticipation morphed instantaneously into anger as he aimed a kick at the peach that sent it arcing into the canal.
Of course my mother and I were very amused by this and we were cruel enough to laugh but though the peach was lost my father's presence is with me whenever I savour a sun warmed peach.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:07 PM   #2
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When I was in high school we went on a band exchange trip to Syracuse NY. Each of us got assigned to stay with a family from the high school we were exchanging with. I got put with an Italian family, with a mama who could be the inspiration for every caricature TV show ever seen. As soon as I (6'1", 140 lbs) walked in the door, she started shovelling food at me. "You're so skinny, don't they feed you down there, manga manga!" So that night at dinner she proudly served (among other things) eggplant parmigan. I was ready to barf! But I had been raised that if someone offered you food in their home, you ate it, smiled, and asked for seconds. So I screwed up my nerve, and with shaking hand manuevered the fork into my mouth. It was delicious! I not only had seconds, I ate until my stomach hurt. Made mama very happy.

The reason this was my most memorable food experience is that it opened my eyes and my mind to the concept that just because something sounds (or even looks) disgusting doesn't mean it isn't delicious. Since then I've lived by the theory that if someone else has eaten it and survived, I can too. I've tried thousands of different dishes since then, some excellent, some not so much. But it's been a joyful ride, with many amazing experiences. Thanks, mama!
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:48 PM   #3
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Perhaps fittingly with my LBYM manner, both my favorite food experiences had to do with getting a great meal for a great deal.

The first one was my senior prom. I was going in a group of eight - myself, three close friends, and our dates. We went to an expensive restaurant in a downtown Seattle hotel. The mother of one of the friends was dating the manager of the restaurant. He told us we could order whatever we wanted, and the total tab (for all 8 of us) would be $100 (essentially just to cover the cost of the food). We ordered the most expensive stuff on the menu and told the ladies not to worry about the cost, it was all on us. All the girls ordered Shirley Temples, all the guys ordered Roy Rogers. We were just being silly and having a great time. When it got to dessert, we got the dessert menu, looked at it, and told the waiter "we'll have one of each." It had about 15 different dessert items. Total cost was $25 (plus tip) for each of us (guys paid, so it was really only $12.50/person). We got to pick up the check and look baller in front of the girls, and we had an amazing and delicious time. We actually had plans to do something between dinner and the dance itself, but dinner ran so long because we were having such a great time that we ended up just skipping that.

The second one was when the wife and I were on vacation in Loreto Bay, Mexico. She had won the trip on Wheel of Fortune and one of the various included things was a dinner at a nice local restaurant. Since the meal was all paid for, the hotel people told us to go to the restaurant, bring back the bill and they would take care of it (and the Wheel people would reimburse them). So we went to this restaurant and ordered a TON of food. We got fresh made salad at the table, tried like 4 different appetizers, got a bunch of drinks, etc. For the entree they had a big platter of food with lobster, shrimp, crab, steak, and more I can't even remember. When we ordered one of those each, they told us no, no, it's huge, enough food for two. We said that's okay, we'll have one each. Then dessert, of course. The bill was over $100 USD for the two of us (which is ridiculous for there). When we brought the bill back to the hotel concierge, they were in disbelief. They thought it had been rung up wrong. They couldn't fathom that the two of us spent that much on a single meal. And Wheel paid for it all. (That was an amazing trip in general, we also got a breakfast buffet at the resort that normally cost $16 USD per person daily. We got huge trays that waiters carry plates on and filled up plates and plates with fresh fruit, omlettes from their fresh omlette bar, muffins, juices, etc. and brought the trays up to our room to eat on the balcony overlooking the ocean).

I'm sure there's other amazing meals I've enjoyed, but those two immediately popped into mind as meals where I got amazing food for very little (or no) cost.
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Old 08-12-2011, 01:55 PM   #4
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When I was in college, one of my teachers, Cora Du Bois, a world-famous anthropologist, treated me to a dinner of frog's legs at a French restaurant. It was more the occasion, I suppose, than the food, that made it so memorable, since I was tremendously flattered. (I think Professor Du Bois was celebrating getting rid of me at the end of our course, since I had not been a great student, but that was kept implicit.)
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:03 PM   #5
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Age 18. One summer job in a Washington logging camp.

Memory of steak night(thursday) still brings tears of joy to my eyes. Outdoor work makes that fresh cooked logging camp food beyond description.

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Old 08-12-2011, 02:11 PM   #6
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In early 1989 my late wife & I and two friends were down in the Selous in southern Tanzania; they'd had a lot of rain, (we drove in), so the little landing strip at the camp was flooded and unusable, and no supplies could be flown in - we were there for a week, and every lunch and every dinner was comprised of Wildebeest.......Wildebeest meatballs & spaghetti, Wildebeest Chow Mein, Wildebeest Irish Stew, Wildebeest Curry, Wildebeest Wildebeest Wildebeest Wildebeest........ended up smelling like Wildebeest.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:53 PM   #7
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May not be in the spirit of this thread but for me, hands down, Chez Panisse. I've been fortunate to have been to more expensive and more famous restaurants, but Chez Panisse was the most memorable dinner I've ever had.

Runner up, a Brazilian steakhouse in of all places, Milan IT. Aside from great food, service and grappas, it didn't hurt that there were several bonafide supermodels there. Wow!

YMMV
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:44 PM   #8
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Must be a personality thing. Food is not memorable to me. I may remember events that included eating, but I am more apt to remember the other people, my date or wife, or GF, than anything specifically to do with the eating or food. I enjoy meals, but I am not particularly interested in food per se.

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Old 08-12-2011, 03:54 PM   #9
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I think it might be my first lobster. I was twelve years old and we were on a family car trip through Maine. Dad pulled the station wagon over to the side of the road where fresh lobsters were being steamed by locals in some kind of drums. We ate at a picnic table overlooking the ocean. Sublime food and a beautiful setting.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:03 PM   #10
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Like Ha, I don't remember specific meals. However, I have a food-related memory burned in my brain.

My mother required us to clean our plate or "no dessert for you"! Problem was, she put the food on our plate with no input from us. Food was also used as a reward, "if you're good you can have [fill in your favorite sweet]".

Needless to say I don't have a healthy relationship with food and even today I refuse to eat that last bite of food on my plate and sometimes even eat dessert instead of dinner....so there!!
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:17 PM   #11
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I'll add a new twist.... I don't have a 'most memorable food experience'...but I do remember the joy of eating ice cream when I was a little girl. We were poor, so treats were far and few between.

On a rare occasion, my daddy would smoke a cigar, and this event would always happen on a Sunday. Since he had his 'treat', he made sure I had one as well. He'd take me to the store and buy a tiny carton of ice cream for me...the kind that came with the flat wooden 'spoon'.

I can smell a cigar today and it takes me back more than 45 years...and I crave vanilla ice cream....with that little wooden spoon.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bbbamI View Post
I'll add a new twist.... I don't have a 'most memorable food experience'...but I do remember the joy of eating ice cream when I was a little girl. We were poor, so treats were far and few between.

On a rare occasion, my daddy would smoke a cigar, and this event would always happen on a Sunday. Since he had his 'treat', he made sure I had one as well. He'd take me to the store and buy a tiny carton of ice cream for me...the kind that came with the flat wooden 'spoon'.

I can smell a cigar today and it takes me back more than 45 years...and I crave vanilla ice cream....with that little wooden spoon.
What a wonderful memory! And thanks for bringing back the memory of the ice cream and wooden spoon. I had forgotten all about those little treats.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:25 PM   #13
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Going out the door to the schoolbus - late - and my Mom with a tub of peanut butter and a large spoon at the door. exit to the bus with mouth so jammed full of peanut butter i didn't talk most of the whole 8 mile ride in. Mom making boiled beef tongue when we had an animal butchered. Shudder. the look of a huge tongue lolling out the top of a pot, the color, the stench... Thrifty, yes.. Waste not want not, yes. Good? not even.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by bbbamI View Post
I'll add a new twist.... I don't have a 'most memorable food experience'...but I do remember the joy of eating ice cream when I was a little girl. We were poor, so treats were far and few between.

On a rare occasion, my daddy would smoke a cigar, and this event would always happen on a Sunday. Since he had his 'treat', he made sure I had one as well. He'd take me to the store and buy a tiny carton of ice cream for me...the kind that came with the flat wooden 'spoon'.

I can smell a cigar today and it takes me back more than 45 years...and I crave vanilla ice cream....with that little wooden spoon.
Our Saturday night with the Sunday paper cartoons treat was a group bowl of shelled peanuts, raisins, and chocolate chips - fantastic!
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:29 PM   #15
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My folks were never big spenders, especially when it came to eating out. I know Mom always scanned the menu for the lowest priced dinner. That's just the way she was. Dad liked to big deal it and catch hell from Mom later. I'll always remember the day my sister graduated from nursing school in Dayton, Ohio. Dad was treating everyone to dinner at some restaurant. The immediate family and some aunts and uncles. My "little" brother, a high school football player at the time, was pretty big and growing. You just couldn't fill him up. I remember he had a fried chicken dinner with all the fixins. A little later it was time for dessert, and in going around the table the waitress asked my brother what he wanted. He asked dad what he could have. Dad, big dealing it, said "son, you can have anything you want" where upon my brother ordered another chicken dinner. Cracked everyone up and rather than embarrass my brother, let him eat another dinner while everyone else was having dessert.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:32 PM   #16
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My most memorable food experience was the two large steaks I ate at the UR Cooks restaurant in Spokane, WA in the spring of 1971 - followed by the large pizza shared with my two buddies for dessert. It was our first meal after being 'released' from USAF survival school...
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:59 PM   #17
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What a wonderful memory! And thanks for bringing back the memory of the ice cream and wooden spoon. I had forgotten all about those little treats.
Thank you Lisa.

I had to sign off the computer for a little while. That memory really got to me....kind of misty-eyed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
Going out the door to the schoolbus - late - and my Mom with a tub of peanut butter and a large spoon at the door. exit to the bus with mouth so jammed full of peanut butter i didn't talk most of the whole 8 mile ride in.
Now...that made me smile.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:59 PM   #18
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My most memorable meal was last summer, when i picked a few of my own tomatoes for a salad, grilled a ribeye, and chased it all down with a couple of stouts that I brewed, while dining in my own back yard. Most of my memorable meals are homemade.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:04 PM   #19
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One of the most different restaurants I ever visited was in Atlanta. Think it was called "The Barber Shop". They had a couple big open pit charcoal grilles. Along the walls were coolers filled with various type steaks, chicken, burgers, and pork chops. Along side the grilles were galvanized tubs filled with ice and many different beers. This was the honor system on the beers. Throw a couple bucks in a box, grab a beer of your choice and walk around to select the steak you want. You could spend an hour just looking over the selections. Grab another beer in the process. Then the waiter would grill your steak, get the salad and baked potato with all the fixins'and take it to your table on a cart. Everything served at the same time. No fancy table cloths or anything but it was great. What a unique idea.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:09 PM   #20
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Mine was at the Four Seasons in NY....

It was after a deal closing and the CFO of the company asked a few of us out to dinner...

We had appetizers... can not remember what I got, but most of the table thought I got the best and it was good..

Ordered a steak while others ordered other 'fancier' items.... the steak was THICK but cooked very well... it was the softest steak I have ever eaten... again, the table thought I got the best of that....

Desert was some chocolate cake concoction that was hard chocolate over a very moist cake with a moose center.... to die for...

I was never a wine lover, but the wine that we got was also great...

yep, the best meal that I ever had and I did not pay a cent....
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