Monday, March 7, 2011

The Persistence of Memory of Food

....or what not to get at Arby's.

My family will say that whenever I talk about a vacation I've been on or a place I visited, I will link that memory with food I ate while I'm there. They're quite correct, as there is no other combination of smell, taste, and texture, that will bring up memory responses as quickly as food. If you ask me if I've ever been in an Earthquake, I will happily tell you about the 7.0 Earthquake that hit Bear Lake on the other side of Los Angeles, where we were visiting for the month. Aside from going to Disneyland (which was much more hype and not enough substance, but that's another blog altogether) and seeing the sites of LA and falling asleep on the traffic-clogged interstates (I think it was Jet Lag), I will tell you about the hotel that we stayed in, near the airport, and how, when the Earthquake hit, I saw the pool water move from one side of the pool to the other in unison, as if a teeter-totter were underneath it. And I will tell you about reading C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, and how much I enjoyed it. But mostly, I will tell you about the exquisite Danishes they had in the Hotel Lobby for breakfast. Cheese, Cherry...I have had no better Danishes before or since, and no that I Think on it, the sleepiness probably had something to do with blood sugar.

And I can tell you about the Nachoes I had at Mustang Valley Elementary school, of which I have never found their equal, or the homemade salad dressing I put on the Fiestadas when we had them. Fiestadas...mmmmmm.... there were times I sat in the middle of my college classes craving a Fiestada with the veracity of a pregnant woman.

I've talked about other foods in blogs in the past, such as the Hot Ham & Cheese sandwich from Hardees', or the Tripledecker Pizza from Pizza Hut. I will leave these to my other writings.

Why I'm writing this... I went to Arby's to try out their Angus Beef, Bacon and Cheese sandwich, as it is similar to the three cheese sandwich they promoted back in the 1990's. I remember the last time I had that sandwich was in Milledgeville, around 1999, and the flavor was exquisite. This time, however, while the beef was good, I had to hunt to find any cheese, I got two bites of bacon, and the sandwich was much smaller than I remembered. Perhaps this is the lesson to be learned from food, that the memory of the sensual aspects of an object is often times inflated and will only cause an anticlimactic feeling afterward. Very rarely is something as good the tenth time as it is the first. We must continuously be looking for new variety, and savor those memories so that when a certain spark of synapse travels through the brain, igniting a smell or taste or other memory, it will be all the more pleasurable. We cannot recreate the past, only create new memories for what is to come.

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