I think almost everyone has a food that takes them too a different place. When the flavor combination is so great, that it is transformative. Sometimes when I sit down for a meal, I get lost and suddenly in the experience until suddenly the meal is over. Sometimes food is just that good.
Think about the movie Ratatouille. In the climactic scene, the food critic is served ratatouille, a simple, provincial dish that some might call peasant food. The critic takes a bite and is transformed to his childhood. Coming home with a bloody knee. He sits to a lunch of his mother’s cooking. A plate of ratatouille.
For me, one of these foods is sushi.
My first sushi experience was on a family ski trip in Park City, Utah. We ventured in to town one night for dinner and found a nice place to eat. What we found was a Japanese sushi bar, right on the main drag in downtown Park City.
Looking back, this probably wasn’t the wisest choice. How exactly are you supposed to get fresh fish for sushi in a landlocked mountain town?
Needless to say, it wasn’t very good. In fact, it was awful. You could say, that I hated it.
Actually, I would say that I hated it.
Fast forward a summer. I’ve just come home from camp, and the family decides we’re going out for sushi for dinner.
But don’t you remember that I hate sushi?
No matter, I’ll go along.
All of a sudden, I’m at a sushi restaurant, unwillingly, in Humble, TX trying to decide what to get. I’ll check the menu for anything else maybe?
Throughout the course of the meal, I found, surprisingly, that I in fact enjoyed, loved you could say, sushi. I realized I didn’t want to eat something else off of the menu. I wanted to eat more sushi and see what else the sushi chefs had to offer.
Since then, my brother and I have gone to great lengths at birthday celebrations to put sizeable dents in mom and dad’s credit cards. Think of Kitchen Confidential when Anthony Bourdain travels to Tokyo with his boss to check out the local Les Halles location.
But each time I eat sushi, I am reminded of that first time. Bad sushi is still sushi and everyone’s first time isn’t exactly what we want it to be. But we still have the experience right?