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Pierogi

Food Epiphanies

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For me, it was the first time I tasted an avocado. I was probably about 16 or 17, and although I'd lived in Southern California at that point for over 10 years, my family's tastes were still heavily rooted in the Midwest. I was at a friend's house, and her Mom made us snacks, which included a dead-ripe, perfectly creamy, sliced avocado sprinkled with a bit of salt.

My mind was well and truly blown. I still remember that taste and sensation every time I eat an avocado. It takes me right back to that first, well, epiphany.

Followed closely, both in terms of experience and time, by the first artichoke I ate.

But I'll take that avocado memory with me to my grave.

Yours...?


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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I could list so many things. So many. That perfectly cooked duck breast with duck confit. The veal at Embrasse. The gateway for me, tho', was the oyster. For me, oysters were a taboo as a kid. All the time, my parents, they'd say how seafood that wasn't fish and chips, frozen Birdseye fish fingers, etc was bad, bad, bad. You'd get food poisoning, every time. And then one time, as a young adult, I thought 'why not?' and walked up to a fishmonger at a suburban market one morning and downed my first (raw) oyster with lemon juice. After that, everything was okay.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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for me it was bread. more specifically fresh rustic baguette from acme bread co. it was better than a head full of sugarplums anyday. after the first time, (when a second loaf had to be purchased since the first one became entirely my own) acme became a weekly tradition, and i would always run into the little hole in the wall and proclaim that someone should make a perfume, ode du bakery. (as a child I thought it was clever every time ;) and now as a functioning adult, the joy has spread to naan, laffa, moms whole wheat, chinese pancakes, and anything else that has those same three ingredients...

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Laarb. That combination of (what was to me) exotic ingredients produced a taste that was orders of magnitude different from any other food I had ever tasted.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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It was a steak with a mushroom cream sauce and I was about 14. I remember being blown away and raving on about how I could taste the steak and the mushroom and the cream.

More recently was when I tried my first oyster say 10 years ago - salty, fishy, meaty, sweet loveliness that I could taste for a good half hour afterwards.

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Thai. I was on a business trip in the Tampa area about 20 years ago and we went to this little mom and pop joint. I could not believe how pale other foods were in comparison. I think I ate there every night on the trip and tried everything.

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As Chris Taylor said above: so many, many things, but the one which stands out in my mind happened only last September 2010...the first time I ever had barbecued pulled pork. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. And we have had pulled pork and now pulled beef and pulled chicken many times since then. Who knew? And why had I never tried Pork on a Bun before and why did this never come up in my already very long life.

So little time, so much uneaten pork. :wub:

(I do also remember quite distinctly the first time I had an avocado and it was made into guacamole. About 1965. What a sheltered life I had led.)

Got another. Enstrom's chocolate-coated almond sprinkled toffee which I now make and give away. My own initial response has been mirrored many times over by the recipients.

Good topic, Pierogi.

Oops, have to add Chiles Rellenos, about 1985.


Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I would dare say ice cream for most people.

If you can remember the totally amazing sensation of sweet, creamy texture of ice cold smoothness, slowly melting, no chewing, no swallowing ---------!!!!!

It was a hot summer night, "fish were jumping, and the cotton's high"---- and I was about 3 years old, --------

A treat that once was served only to sovereign emperors. How many people have you met who is not interested in ice cream?

Do you remember your first taste of ice cream?

dcarch


Edited by dcarch (log)

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For me? It was chicken. And I cooked it.

As a kid I got the flu or something right after I ate some fried chicken. Really bad flu. For me, it was the chicken that made me sick and I refused to eat any from then on. The classic, I'm alergic to chicken. I'd always loved food and cooking and went to work as a cook. But no chicken, I'd cooked plenty of it but never eaten it.

Then, while working as a KM in a Mexican restaurant, they decided to close for July 4 and have a barbecue. The GM and I went to the butcher and got a couple of briskets, a ham, and ton of ribs. He insisted on chicken. "OK, I'll cook it but I ain't eatin it".

People were lined up getting barbecue, the chicken had been off to the side in a cooler part of the smoker. I pulled it out and carved it up and tried to serve it. No one wanted any, they wanted brisket and ribs. The chicken sat there staring at me. I cut off a little piece of the thigh and ate it. Man, was it good. The best thing I'd eaten in a long time. I started eating the rest of the thigh and one of our waitresses yelled out, "The cook's eating the chicken". And poof, it was gone. Barbecue chicken is still one of my favorite things ever.


That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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Great question. One of my oldest and greatest food epiphanies came in 1984 when I was hitchhiking around Italy. I was at the Ponte Vecchio feeling tired, hungry, hot and thirsty. I bought a plump deep-red tomato warm from the sun and ate on the spot like an apple. I almost cried it was so far beyond ant tomato I'd ever had. I can still taste it.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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For me? It was chicken. And I cooked it.

As a kid I got the flu or something right after I ate some fried chicken. Really bad flu. For me, it was the chicken that made me sick and I refused to eat any from then on. The classic, I'm alergic to chicken. I'd always loved food and cooking and went to work as a cook. But no chicken, I'd cooked plenty of it but never eaten it.

Then, while working as a KM in a Mexican restaurant, they decided to close for July 4 and have a barbecue. The GM and I went to the butcher and got a couple of briskets, a ham, and ton of ribs. He insisted on chicken. "OK, I'll cook it but I ain't eatin it".

People were lined up getting barbecue, the chicken had been off to the side in a cooler part of the smoker. I pulled it out and carved it up and tried to serve it. No one wanted any, they wanted brisket and ribs. The chicken sat there staring at me. I cut off a little piece of the thigh and ate it. Man, was it good. The best thing I'd eaten in a long time. I started eating the rest of the thigh and one of our waitresses yelled out, "The cook's eating the chicken". And poof, it was gone. Barbecue chicken is still one of my favorite things ever.

Thanks chm. First guffaw of the day! :laugh:

ps. I still have trouble eating chicken, unless it's just breast meat. It's all those yucky bits.


Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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If you're ever in Paris, there's a restaurant called "Ghi Anglini" near Place de Bastille... open only for dinner, it's fresh italian fare. What blew my socks off was the truffle duxelle - until now I've only had the quenelle stuff of mushroom and thyme, etc. The pasta came out with jambon cru around the plate, and the waiter brought a small bowl of the duxelle... it was a sauce... he dumped it on top, voila. Dinner.... I've only served a duxelle as a sauce to dish from then on.

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Cheesecake! I first heard of it when I was a kid, about 7 or 8 years old. I thought, "Cake? With cheese in it? Ewww!" and nobody enlightened me (probably figured it meant more cheesecake for them). It took me years to try it, and when I finally did, I felt the way Darienne feels about pulled pork - so much cheesecake I missed in those intervening years! Now I'm doing my best to catch up. :laugh:

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Blue cheese.

I grew up in a house of conservative tastes in food, and cheese with mold running through it was definitely something for other people.

The first time I had Bleu d'Auvergne washed down by a glass of Port I was completely blown away, and it opened the door to a glorious world of strong and stinky cheese.

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It is hard for me to think of one food moment in particular that stands alone, but at each point in my life I can think of a moment of acute awareness, "what did I just eat?"

As a young child, probably around 6, I did not like vegetables at all. One late summer evening I was in my family's garden with my mother. She handed me a green bean and told me to try it. The crispy burst of greeness on my young palate was a huge revelation of the importance of freshness and texture.

When I was 14, i was introduced to the loveliness that is whole roasted pig. The crispness of the skin & the luxurious melt in you mouth drip done your chin pork kept me close to the BBQ pit for most of that July 4th.

My next memorable moment came in my mid twenties while I was working at my first white table cloth restaurant. Just being in the kitchen everyday was an epiphany. It was here that I had my first taste of caviar, lobster, creme brulee, scallops, gnocci, & prime aged beef, but one moment stands above the rest. When I first set my eyes on a whole one, I though it was something that had been prepared by the dessert station. Chef instructed me to cut a half inch slice, season it and sear it in a ripping hot pan until nicely browned on both sides. I removed it from the pan, let it rest for a minute then he cut it in half and shared it with me. I was hooked by the foie gras immediately, luring me in with its seductive richness pretending to be savory chocolate.

My 30's were marked by introductions to many new things, some of the stand outs being spices and condiments from far away places. My most memorable one came from a loaf of bread. To the outside person, there was nothing spectacularly defining about this loaf. It wasn't a sourdough from a legendary bakery in San Fran, nor was it a perfectly kneaded and crisped baguette slathered with butter from Normandy. It was a loaf of bread, baked by my son, using a recipe handed down to him from his Italian great-grandmother. The bread was amazing, but it wasn't anything texturally or aromatic that touched my culinary senses. My food epiphany was the realization that my love of food & tradition, and passion for cooking had passed through me to the next generation.

Food is an adventure. With the diversity on this small planet of ours, there is always something new to try. I await my next inspiration with mildly strained patience. Maybe it will be an experience at Achatz's Next, or on my first trip to Japan, or of my first fish and chips while in London. The awesome thing is it could be all three above and for sure will be many more!

Dont waste a meal, enjoy your food.


Edited by Jeffery C (log)

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Having, of course, gone through gallons of ice cream in lo, those many years, I came upon gelato in Italy a dozen or so years ago. Unbelievable!

Although, now that I think about it, there was a similar reaction to my first taste of porchetta, too.

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It is hard for me to think of one food moment in particular that stands alone, but at each point in my life I can think of a moment of acute awareness, "what did I just eat?"

Dont waste a meal, enjoy your food.

Lovely post, JC. I really enjoyed reading it.


Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I once had a girlfriend named Epiphany. Then one day, out of the blue, she suddenly realized I wasn't the guy for her. :rolleyes:

Okay, more seriously:

My earliest epiphany was somewhere around the age of 8, during a trip to Mexico, where I ate and thoroughly enjoyed goat. In the same general time frame, my school teacher offered our class some candy that turned out to be chocolate-covered caterpillars, grasshoppers, and ants. These episodes gave me my first realizations that the world was filled with weird and wonderful things to eat.

A more recent "discovery" was offered by a favorite local restaurant: maple-apple bread pudding with a bourbon cream sauce...topped with bacon. Yes, I'm a relative late-comer to the salty-sweet movement. Bacon really does make (almost) everything better.

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As Jeffrey C noted, it has also been a process for me. I grew up around wonderful fresh food including heavenly baked goods.

The major "oh my goodness where have you been all of my life?" moment was my first home cooked Vietnamese meal in 1990; particularly the nuoc mam cham. That sweet, salty, pungent dipping sauce was from another planet. I wanted to pick up my bowl and just drink it. I was convinced I could live on just that and the fragrant rice. It opened up a whole new food world to me.

I experienced the next level of that some years later when I put the first forkful of Thai green papaya salad in my mouth- purchased from the food court at Wat Thai in North Hollywood, each serving individually pounded and mixed with constant consultation on heat level and ingredients (dried shrimp or pickled crabs?) - it was hot, sour, salty & sweet on steroids.

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The major "oh my goodness where have you been all of my life?" moment was my first home cooked Vietnamese meal in 1990; particularly the nuoc mam cham. That sweet, salty, pungent dipping sauce was from another planet. I wanted to pick up my bowl and just drink it. I was convinced I could live on just that and the fragrant rice. It opened up a whole new food world to me.

Nuoc Mam was one of the condiments for me too. I did pick up the bowl and drink the dipping sauce, politely waiting until everyone else had finished the appitizers first. :')

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And why had I never tried Pork on a Bun before and why did this never come up in my already very long life.

Thats the great thing about food. Always something new!

By the way, will you share the chocolate recipe? my taste buds are intrigued!

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I would dare say ice cream for most people.

If you can remember the totally amazing sensation of sweet, creamy texture of ice cold smoothness, slowly melting, no chewing, no swallowing ---------!!!!!

It was a hot summer night, "fish were jumping, and the cotton's high"---- and I was about 3 years old, --------

Was Dusty on the radio?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Tantalizing topic! Some ah ha food moments for me:

[*]Eating a sun-warmed perfectly ripe peach picked from the tree next to my bedroom window.

[*]My first oyster - an Olympia, small and briny

[*]Truffles - I remarked that it tasted like sex (turns out I was right)

[*]First taste of tuna sashimi eaten with a little shredded daikon and chiso

[*]oil and herb cured olive

[*]Larabaru SF sourdough bread

And, in honor of Santo Santamaria who died recently, his "chef's suprise" at Raco des Con Fabes. What looked like a large truffle but when you cut into it was black truffle layered over foie gras. Spread on toast. Best. Toast. Ever.

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Thats the great thing about food. Always something new!

By the way, will you share the chocolate recipe? my taste buds are intrigued!

Consider it done. Actually it is already done.


Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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When I was 10, my parents travelled from St. Louis to the World's Fair in New York and we had a babysitter we called Grandma Shoalmeyer take care of the four of us kids. Up until that time, the only fish I had ever been offered were fish sticks (which I hated), fillet o'fish sandwiches (which I hated) and canned tuna (which I liked in tuna salad sandwiches). Grandma Shoalmeyer made broiled rainbow trout. I can still see it, smell it and taste it. :wub:


Edited by robirdstx (log)

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