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That magic mouthful: a taste I will never forget


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If you had one mouthful of some dish which you could never forget, what would that taste be?

A childhood food which you can recall perfectly and conjure up as totally sublime ...

For me it would be a steaming hot, flaky chicken pot pie, homemade to be sure, eaten as a child of seven on a wintry afternoon ... I can still taste those tiny green peas swimming in that creamy golden sauce, chunks of pristine white chicken breast ...

And for you? :rolleyes:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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The first bite of a charcoal-grilled hamburger patty, cheddar cheese melted while still on the grill, bun toasted over the hot fire, yet still soft and warm in the center, nothing but sour pickle slices to adorn...

The meat is so rare and fresh, the fat and juice try to escape, only to be captured by your tongue and mouth...

The bun gets soaked with beefy meat juices and the cheese pulls from the hamburger in strings...

Ah, summertime in the 'burbs! :biggrin:

"Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”

Francois Minot

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This one is easy. for me it is my mother's stuffed blue crab tomato sauce with perciatelli pasta. The blue crabs are opened, cleaned and stuffed with a mixture of bread crumbs, herbs and locatelli cheese then reassembled and trussed before simmering for several hours in the tomato sauce. The sauce just has that wonderful crabby sweetness made more complex by the stuffing constituents. To this day that flavor is my very favorite. Interestingly I encountered that very same flavor in a different crab preparation at El Bulli last summer. It was incredible!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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This one is easy. for me it is my mother's stuffed blue crab tomato sauce with perciatelli pasta. The blue crabs are opened, cleaned and stuffed with a mixture of bread crumbs, herbs and locatelli cheese then reassembled and trussed before simmering for several hours in the tomato sauce. The sauce just has that wonderful crabby sweetness made more complex by the stuffing constituents. To this day that flavor is my very favorite. Interestingly I encountered that very same flavor in a different crab preparation at El Bulli last summer. It was incredible!

Oh doc, How I wish I was your childhood buddy. :raz: Wow no doubt where your love of food came from.

Robert R

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This one is easy. for me it is my mother's stuffed blue crab tomato sauce with perciatelli pasta. The blue crabs are opened, cleaned and stuffed with a mixture of bread crumbs, herbs and locatelli cheese then reassembled and trussed before simmering for several hours in the tomato sauce. The sauce just has that wonderful crabby sweetness made more complex by the stuffing constituents. To this day that flavor is my very favorite. Interestingly I encountered that very same flavor in a different crab preparation at El Bulli last summer. It was incredible!

Oh doc, How I wish I was your childhood buddy. :raz: Wow no doubt where your love of food came from.

Thanks, Robert. I clearly owe a lot to my parents. I benefitted from a lot of good food growing up.

I can make a reasonable facsimile of that dish, but while close, I just can't get it just so. part of the problem is that it is extremely difficult and rare for me to get fresh live blue crabs where I live. As a result it is hard to consistently make the fine adjustments necessary to perfect it. That crab dish at El Bulli though really sealed the deal for me there. I was having a fantastic meal before and after, but with that one dish it became ethereal, other-worldly and the stuff of personal legend. Because of the whole experience and especially that dish and the surprise of encountering that mother of all flavors (for me) at El Bulli and in that dish, I can't imagine any other meal surpassing that one for me.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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There where many fabulous memories of things tasted as a child that its difficult to point to one. But if I had to pick....

I had to be about 5 or 6 when my mother would take me to a small Italian restaurant in Oakland N.J. called Colucci's. I can still see the owner/chef behind the counter stirring a pot of soup wearing a stained apron and the smile on his face when a costumer walked in. 'Straight out of the movie Big Night' And run over with a spoon in hand to taste whatever soup he was cooking that day.

He would kiss me on the cheeks 'God I hated that' and stick coins on his forehead to make me laugh and things like that.

And Oh My. His lasagna stands out as one of those taste. Not only was this a found childhood memory but a deciding factor in my becoming a chef as a adult.

Robert R

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There where many fabulous memories of things tasted as a child that its difficult to point to one. But if I had to pick....

I had to be about 5 or 6 when my mother would take me to a small Italian restaurant in Oakland N.J. called Colucci's. I can still see the owner/chef behind the counter stirring a pot of soup wearing a stained apron and the smile on his face when a costumer walked in. 'Straight out of the movie Big Night' And run over with a spoon in hand to taste whatever soup he was cooking that day.

He would kiss me on the cheeks 'God I hated that' and stick coins on his forehead to make me laugh and things like that.

And Oh My. His lasagna stands out as one of those taste. Not only was this a found childhood memory but a deciding factor in my becoming a chef as a adult.

What was special about his lasagna? How did it differ from others you have had? Have you trie to replicate it? Have you been succesful?

Edited by docsconz (log)

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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The first time that I ate okra and tomatoes made by my own hand. The mystery and trepadation was gone. I could, in fact, make this sublime and delicious dish just as well as my mother.

A thousand repeats and still going strong. I had it on Tuesday night, as a matter of fact, and it was delicious. As always.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Childhood: My first McDonald's milkshake, bien sur! I'll never forget trying to suck what seemed to be a solid mass up the straw. Yum!

Nowadays: Having my first proper bowl of oatmeal with fresh blueberries about a month ago.

The formula at McD's is different now, but I still dig the shakes. Actually, I just dig shakes. :laugh:

the tall drink of water...
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There where many fabulous memories of things tasted as a child that its difficult to point to one. But if I had to pick....

I had to be about 5 or 6 when my mother would take me to a small Italian restaurant in Oakland N.J. called Colucci's. I can still see the owner/chef behind the counter stirring a pot of soup wearing a stained apron and the smile on his face when a costumer walked in. 'Straight out of the movie Big Night' And run over with a spoon in hand to taste whatever soup he was cooking that day.

He would kiss me on the cheeks 'God I hated that' and stick coins on his forehead to make me laugh and things like that.

And Oh My. His lasagna stands out as one of those taste. Not only was this a found childhood memory but a deciding factor in my becoming a chef as a adult.

What was special about his lasagna? How did it differ from others you have had? Have you trie to replicate it? Have you been succesful?

Tough question doc. Jeez I really don't know. It was a simple lasagna and maybe it was special only in my mind. But I would like to believe it was special because it was prepared with love.

This was a time when restaurant's stood on food alone before the need of gimmicks which may also play into the attraction it had on me.

Robert R

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There where many fabulous memories of things tasted as a child that its difficult to point to one. But if I had to pick....

I had to be about 5 or 6 when my mother would take me to a small Italian restaurant in Oakland N.J. called Colucci's. I can still see the owner/chef behind the counter stirring a pot of soup wearing a stained apron and the smile on his face when a costumer walked in. 'Straight out of the movie Big Night' And run over with a spoon in hand to taste whatever soup he was cooking that day.

He would kiss me on the cheeks 'God I hated that' and stick coins on his forehead to make me laugh and things like that.

And Oh My. His lasagna stands out as one of those taste. Not only was this a found childhood memory but a deciding factor in my becoming a chef as a adult.

What was special about his lasagna? How did it differ from others you have had? Have you trie to replicate it? Have you been succesful?

Tough question doc. Jeez I really don't know. It was a simple lasagna and maybe it was special only in my mind. But I would like to believe it was special because it was prepared with love.

This was a time when restaurant's stood on food alone before the need of gimmicks which may also play into the attraction it had on me.

Clearly not all lasagne are created equally and love is certainly as important an ingredient as anything else. i am sure that was an essential compoinent in my mother's crab sauce as well. I was just curious if there was anything in particular that made it stand out for you. By the way, IMO restaurants still need to stand out on food alone, although other elements can and do add to the experience.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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The first time that I ate okra and tomatoes made by my own hand. The mystery and trepadation was gone. I could, in fact, make this sublime and delicious dish just as well as my mother.

A thousand repeats and still going strong. I had it on Tuesday night, as a matter of fact, and it was delicious. As always.

Brooks, your love affair with okra has been well-chronicled here over the years. Is there a post with your or your mother's recipe anywhere? RecipeGullet perhaps?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Its funny that in later years Colucci's moved to Haledon NJ which was not more then four blocks from my home. It expanded and may have become a bit more commercial losing much of the original appeal. We did not go nearly as often.

Robert R

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Easy. A just-made warm chocolate truffle, dusted with cocoa powder, put out as a sample at the late, lamented Krön Chocolatier store, upstairs on Madison Avenue around 52nd Street. I tasted one and my vision went dim. There wasn't enough brain power left over to do anything except absorb that addictive flavor.

He seems to still exist at Krön Chocolatier, 5 Bond Street, Great Neck, NY 11021, 516/829-5550, 800/564-5766, but the truffles are too delicate to ship, even by FedEx.

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I'll always remember taking a bite of my fathers taco when I was about six years old. It was loaded with extra sharp cheddar cheese and dripping with red grease and Tabasco. I loved it. LOVED IT! :wub:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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My grandmother's buscuits. I've never been able to replicate them, and sometimes when I look at the bowl she used to mix the dough in, I can still smell them.

Close second: my great grandmother's bread. She used to bake this homemade bran bread that was the most amazing thing in the universe. We would all sit around at her house and just scarf up loaf after loaf as she brought it out of the oven. And again, my mother and I have tried time and time again to recreate the recipe, but it's never the same. I think she used some secret ingredient that she never told us about. It really wouldn't suprise me.

I would give anything for just one more bite of either one of those things.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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When I was in college, a doughnut store by the name of Vern's operated out of the basement of a house in a residential neighborhood. I'm sure that much to the irritation of the neighbors, students began lining up for the 11 p.m. opening, when hot, fresh doughnuts could be bought. I'll never forget the immense pleasure of biting into a Vern's on a cold winter night.

Another such memory also comes from my college days. JD's Pizza had an amazing blue cheese salad dressing. If I remember right, it consisted of blue cheese soaked in corn oil, and then folded into whipped cream. With a liberal addition of black pepper, it was heaven in a salad bowl.

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Shakey's pizza

My first Chinese restaurant experience - I think I was around 9 or 10 - any my sister took me and my friend out thriftshopping - another first - and I still remember that first sip of hot and sour soup and my first crackly bite of a fried wonton.

I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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My childhood food experiences were pretty mundane, so no strong imprints there.

But my first taste of foie gras - that's a flavor that has stuck with me forever, and I still close my eyes and swoon a little bit everytime I taste some.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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My very first McChicken sandwich...

Been 25 years and I can still taste it. I worked at McDonalds as a kid and was there when the McChicken was introduced. We were so excited and they were SO good. Completely different than what they are now, that's for sure.

Switched jobs to KFC later that year...when they brought out thier own chicken burger...also fantastic and no longer the same.

Dunno if they were really that good or if it's just nostalgia :smile:

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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My very first McChicken sandwich...

Been 25 years and I can still taste it.  I worked at McDonalds as a kid and was there when the McChicken was introduced.  We were so excited and they were SO good.  Completely different than what they are now, that's for sure. 

I still get a McChicken sandwich every time I visit Canada (relatively frequently to visit family). I haven't noticed a big flavor change from the time I worked there (about 16 years ago now). So much better than every chicken sandwich McDonalds US sells.

Now you've got me craving a McChicken.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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after much thought, a nanny's chicken liver pate recipe certainly sent me down a different path at the age of 11. Not really a dish as such, I loved it most on toast.

Edited by beandork (log)
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after much thought, a nanny's chicken liver pate recipe certainly sent me down a different path at the age of 11. Not really a dish as such, I loved it most on toast.

Me too, except MY Grannies. Every family get together we ever have there is always homemade chicken live pate spread thickly on slices of her also famous wheaten(sp) bread. Of course to make it truly the bite from heaven there has to be a thick layer of creamy butter between them.

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I would have to say it was my first taste of sushi. I was 19 when a friend took me to a Japanese restaurant in the city. From the first bite I was hooked. It’s been a 24 year ongoing love affair.

Dave

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