Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wordsworth called memory the "inward eye."  Are your memories more sight-based, or do they concern sound, taste, touch, or smell?

Memories for me are based on so much more than just visual. I believe my two strongest senses are taste and smell. Because of evidences too complicated and numerous to mention here I belong to a group of people called "super tasters." Simply, it means I have more active taste buds. Linked with this is a powerful sense of smell.
I came to the realization that I could detect odor much more easily than others while on a walk with my mother. We had stopped to chat with a neighbor and when we walked away I mentioned how good she always smelled with her exotic floral fragrance. I thought it must be a purfume, but my mother looked at me a bit sideways and told me she had no idea what I was talking about. And she had hugged the woman at the end of the conversation! So, no purfume, just an innate good smell.
Tasting nuances within food at a higher level came as a surprise to me too. It was difficult to explain when I was younger why I liked one fast-food chain above another, but now I know it was all in the flavor. It was probably the fat content too, but healthy eating is a different subject. I couldn't explain my preferences because I thought everyone could taste things the way I did.
When eating I like my food to have an abundance of flavors that blend and enhance each other. Good food can be one of the most pleasurable experiences available to me. Restaurants are judged not on service, because that can change from night to night, but on taste.
I loved living in Arizona because of this. The different cuisines available were spectacular, and the spices were used without fear. I thought moving to the East Coast would give me more of the same type of opportunities. New York City has so many famous restaurants that one could conceivably eat at a new place every night for a year or more. Unfortunately, outside of the city, things become bland, bland, bland. There are no good Mexican restaurants, only mediocre, and for a family from the Southwest this is hard to give up. The abundance of pizza and Italian restaurants is insane, but their red sauce/gravy is little more than tomato sauce.
Don't get me wrong. I have had some outstanding Italian, French, and American meals here in Upstate New York, but I've had to go a long way out of my way to find them. When we try something new I can usually tell if we are in for a treat just from the aromas coming from the kitchens. Those trips where we have found great food that overtakes the senses are definitely the most memorable. I look forward to more of them!

No comments: