I know a person who has lost his sense of smell and has a diminished sense of taste. You might expect that he has lost his lust for eating, but that is not the case. Five decades of taste memory do not fade quickly. When he dines, he is most likely to order something with pesto, though he cannot taste either garlic or basil. Memories. Taste. Linked forever.
Is your diet dictated by your childhood favorite food memories?
Has the phrase “comfort foods” been around forever? I think not. For me, comfort foods are very much aligned with memories; with whom did you eat the food? Where were you? What were you doing?
My two biggest comfort foods are probably grilled cheese sandwiches and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. If you read my last post, you read about my repeated visits to Raclette, a NYC restaurant that features a grown-up version of grilled cheese. Very comforting.
As for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, I won’t go near it. There are two reasons for my exclusion of it: I might like it, and I might not like it. If I liked it, I would be the bingeing addict. As long as I was near a source of boiled water, I would open (and finish) a box. What if I didn’t like it? Well, it would be goodbye to my childhood, and I can’t risk that.
For the past 27 summers I have visited a friend at her summer residence on Cape Cod. During my four- day visits, we usually dine at PJ’s Family Restaurant in Wellfleet, MA.
If you search for it online, you’ll note that food network has visited it. More important, my friend has visited for her whole life. On my first visit there, I was tasting the food for myself, but my taste buds seemed to have her memories as a filter. The food’s taste was not standing on its own; overlaid were memories of times and people long gone. And, even though they were her times and her people, they became mine.
Ever been to P J’s?
27 years of dining at PJ’s! Now, when my food is delivered I’m tasting my memories: memories of being sure to pack a blow -dryer for the trip and of riding a bike through the dunes with two kids in a cart behind me. Those days are gone, At this point, if they were serving rotgut, it would taste like a fine vintage to me.
Every August I look forward to returning to the Cape and to PJ’s. I await new memories and a chance to revisit old ones. I also get the chance to lose the pounds that my July routine hadn’t budged.
I know all the dietary advice: eat local foods, eat more vegetables, exercise a lot. With this in mind, I enter PJ’s. Repeatedly. I don’t lose weight.
Why not? I ride my bike there. I eat blueberry ice cream, and surely blueberries are grown on the Cape. Though I’ve never seen a fisherman unloaded a catch of calamaris, I suspect that there must be boatloads of them being offloaded near Hyannis. Before the rest of the world knew what kale was, ate kale and linquica (a Portuguese sausage) at PJ’s.
Eat like a local! Exercise! Eat as they did in the “old country.” Gain five pounds? It doesn’t seem fair! Well, if July and August’s routine didn’t work out, there’s always September. I’ll be cooking up two of my favorite
recipes: Holly’s 5 ingredient amazing Lemon Feta Chicken from Eating Well To Fight Arthritis cookbook , even if I don’t ride my bike to the dinner table, I suspect my diet will work out better than it did with the calamari and ice cream.
The other recipe is Holly’s salmon recipe with her delicious Dill Dijon Sauce that goes with any salmon preparation.
Dill Dijon Sauce
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried dill weed leaves
Mix yogurt, vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, and dill weed together in small bowl. Refrigerate before serving; best if refrigerated overnight.
For more information, visit www.hollyclegg.com or The Healthy Cooking Blog for more recipes and tips.
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