the original kStyle blog.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Wednesday Writing Assignment

Sticking with the cleanse theme, let me steal one: please tell me about a happy food memory. We could all talk all day about bad food memories, but I want a happy one.


Blogger Eric said...

My most recent happy food memory is this. Back in January I interviewed for a new job, one that I eventually got, which is why I've been too busy this week to do my Writing Assignments, but that's neither here nor there. My interviewer, now my boss, had told me that we'd get lunch during our afternoon together, and this made me nervous: I'm a notoriously finicky eater, as kStyle can attest, and one doesn't want to embarrass oneself at a job interview by reflexively scrunching up one's face and making a sound that goes like this: "Eeewww."

So I prepared myself to eat whatever it was: Thai, Indian, Mexican, whatever strange and heretofore untested (at least by me) cuisine she chose, I'd go along happily, making a sound that goes like this: "Mmmm."

The day of my interview, it was raining very hard. My interviewer suggested that we just order in sandwiches from the nearby deli, which would have been a fine and much-relieving compromise, but for the fact that I had never, not once in my life, eaten a sandwich.

For most of my years, I'd actually adhered steadfastedly to the principle that bread, while delicious, Did Not Go With Anything, and I'd spout this gibberish to anyone who would look at me befuddled when I said I hadn't had one.

But I could hardly do that here.

So when the assistant came in to take our orders, I asked for the plainest possible sandwich I could think of: turkey on a roll. "That's it?" said the assistant, a bit incredulous. "That's it," said I, figuring that once the thing arrived, I would find some way to handle it, some way, that is, short of actually eating it, as I remained sure I wouldn't like it, and I did not want to make The Face.

A half hour later, in came the sandwiches, and apparently the deli guy didn't take me seriously either, since he'd taken the liberty of putting unrequested lettuce on the thing. This was dispiriting indeed. For I had no fork, no utensils to speak of, and thus no way of removing any of it from the bread (cursed bread!), no way of separating the layers of sandwich to produce something that was, to my picky palate, edible.

(And as I struggled with these internal demons, I was of course trying my best to answer the questions, come off professional and smart, and deflect any concern that I might be, you know, mentally unbalanced. It was something of a juggling act.)

So I said to myself, I said, "Self? You have a few choices. You can hide the sandwich in its wrapper and pretend you ate it, you can tell her you aren't hungry after all and risk whatever impression that leaves, or you can be a man and eat the fucking sandwich."

I am pleased to report that I chose that final option, and more pleased still to report that the sandwich was, in point of fact, unsurpassingly delicious. The philosophy to which I had clung so dearly was dead wrong. (Not the first time for this, by the by.) And when I left the interview an hour later, on my long car ride home I found myself giddier over the sandwich than over the potential job. Certainly, even if I wasn't hired, the day was far from a total loss.

For I had fallen in love.

Now, from that time to this, I have had an average of four or five sandwiches a week, have discovered new kinds of meats and vegetables and new kinds of bread (a market here sells these whole wheat kaiser rolls that are sort of fantastic) and new kinds of things to put on my new kinds of sandwiches. And I realized too that my aversion to the idea of them was probably in reality a fear of much larger things, such as living fully in the world, but I need not wax philosophical here, need I?

Since then, though, I have been in the most culinarily experimental phase of my thirty years, trying cuisines and foods I would never have predicted ever sampling, let alone enjoying as much as I have. And since I did get the job in the end, the day has become really a happy memory of many kinds... but still most notably food.

One postscript: about a month ago, one of the assistants asked me, "What was up with that weird sandwich you ordered at your interview?" As she wasn't even there, I asked her how she knew about it.

"Everybody knows about it," she said. "No one could figure out why you ordered a sandwich with nothing on it." Apparently the assistant who was there was a tattler.

I said that actually the story was much stranger than that, but that I didn't really want to get into it, as I was hesitant to be widely known in my office for that sandwich.

"Dude," she said, staring at me. "You are ALREADY widely known in this office for that sandwich."

And rightly so, perhaps. And rightly so.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Oh, man, there are so many! My family, being half Italian and talkative and political and argumentative, would sit around the table and eat and talk and nibble and talk some more: it's a defining aspect of my childhood and adolescence, if you want to know. But what leaped to mind was a dinner about, let's see, three years ago? C and I were visiting my family, and my mom's brother & his wife came over for dessert, and we sat around and told stories about my grandfather--one of which involved food. (My grandfather was a character, though not consciously so. The stories being told had us all laughing until the tears ran, and C got a whole new set of insights into my family.)

Anyway, my brother & grandfather are golfing at a local place; not very high-class or anything, mind you. They finish up and head to the clubhouse for a sandwich. They order; grandfather orders a BLT. They get their sandwiches, and grandfather calls over the waitress, because the bacon in his sandwich consists of a few bacon crumbles over the top. (My brother, who has some experience with my grandfather, doesn't start eating yet, because it's not clear that they'll be staying.) "Miss! Miss! I ordered a BLT--but where's the B? There's no B here!" He did, eventually, get some B for his sandwich.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Several months ago a local restaurant served a caramel-toffee cheesecake that was the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. I went there a few times (ostensibly for dinner; they also make a kick-ass chicken chili), and then the cheesecake vanished, and my life has been a little darker ever since.

But I cling to the not-improbable hope that they will reintroduce the caramel-toffee cheesecake, at which time the world will burst into glorious song the likes of which have never been heard by human ears, and I will be happy again.


6:08 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

God, I love you guys.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Oh, Ann, that's terrible! But, hey, soon I will be a pastry chef, and then I will make a caramel toffee cheesecake for you, and I will call it "Ann's cheesecake," and when it's famous, you will be too!

10:26 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

Oooh, I'd really appreciate that. Only you'd have to promise not to suddenly one day stop making it for no apparent reason. I don't think my heart could take it...

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:09 PM  

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