Isn’t it amazing the way the taste of food can transport us?
Recently, I was rushing around grocery shopping and mailing packages alongside many other errands and my stomach had started growling at me mercilessly. As a last minute thing, I threw a package of seaweed salad into my basket and headed for the check out line.
Back home, groceries put away, I sat down at my desk, thumbed through my email and dove into the salad… and was transported through space and time, right back to the first time I ever tried it.
My memories are powerful – it was 2007 and I had only recently come to discover how incredible sushi was. It was a work day, one of my first few at my first “real job” post College, and a group of us were out for lunch at a sushi bar just down the road from our office. It was pretty legit in terms of sushi restaurants: we knelt on long cushions on the floor and were given no cutlery. Their salmon nigiri was to die for and their saki remains to this day the only saki I’ve ever liked.
Someone suggested I try the seaweed salad, which naturally, sounded disgusting, but I remember at that moment, feeling as though ordering the mysteriously unnatural green, slimy salad would somehow make up for all the other times I’ve erred on the side of caution. Read: all the times I was plain chicken-shit to try anything new.
And so I ordered the seaweed salad, and it was glorious.
I was so young back then, though of course I didn’t feel that way then, and I thought I was happy. I had just moved in with my then-boyfriend into a two-bedroom apartment that nearly overlooked the park and was taking pride in my new life of caring for a household and someone other than myself.
It’s like this for many of my food memories, a single ingredient – or even the smell of one – that has me imagining a scene from my past.
I no longer work for that company, no longer live in the same town or even Country, and no longer speak with any of the people that I ate lunch with that day, but every time I pop a mouthful of that salad into my mouth, I’m right back there, as if the last eight years never existed. And that’s a powerful thing.