Food Memories….Make Your Own!

by admin on April 16, 2009

Food memories…..if nothing else we are creating an entire library of food memories.   Our world has made a dramatic shift…we have gone to Madrid for Kaelin’s spring break….to a land of tapas vs. pastas.  So far we have had 8 meals and I have yet to understand what I order.  It is clear when it comes to the table but before its arrival, it’s a crap shoot.  The good part is that I’ve had 8 delicious and flavorful meals.  So, I’m enjoying the “not knowing” and have decided that I will not attempt to understand the culture of eating in Madrid while we are here for 7 days…my brain is on overload and there is no room for anymore…so I will just order with no expectation and enjoy the flavors along the way…..not a bad philosophy to carry through my days.

Madrid is beautiful.  I actually bought a guide book this time and read it on the plane trip over.  I had a game plan which has been executed beautifully until today.  Today we took a left instead of a right and after we enjoyed a peaceful stroll through El Parque Del Retiro….and the kids jumped on a boat ride in the pond….we continued left…instead of right.  I was surprised that I was not reaching the street that I was looking for and we were going further outside of the City….the screams of hunger pains became louder and louder until there was no option but to duck into the nearest restaurant…so we did…and it was full….and so we continued…to the left…..the teen moaning became louder and louder until we spotted another restaurant…and ducked in….it was full too….but no…there was a downstairs….and they had a table.  The man spoke very quick Spanish to me and I was able to understand….the kids were amazed….you understood him mom?!  I had to admit that I didn’t understand a word but have become an expert on reading a situation and what he is probably saying and going with that….and sure enough….I was right….a table downstairs.  As we ventured down the small staircase, the noise became louder….of people talking….and the smells became more potent….of flavorful food….and ah….cigar smoke.  The girls (Kaelin has a friend visiting now so I have 4), were shocked and sickened.   I had to smile….feeling old as I talked to them about “when I was a kid”…and smoking on planes, etc….they were amazed as if I had told them that my refrigeration was in the ground…..and I had no electricity…..but their hunger pains won out…we would stay.

The man then told us where to sit, which I didn’t understand…and there were 3 tables open….two for 4 people and one for 6…..so I assumed it was the one for 6….ah….still going strong without having to say, hablas inglés?…I was proud.  As we sat at our table in the corner, I was able to watch all the various tables…through the smoke….a family at one….business people at others….and a few couples….all very local in appearance and language…all enjoying each other and their meals.  Their was laughter and chatter…the energy permeated the smoke so it soon disappeared.

We stumbled through the menu as usual and ended up with a plethora of dishes…it was fun to share…family style…..makes a difference….it inspires food conversations and brings a sense of unity that you don’t have when ordering on your own.  I haven’t really thought about that difference until our meal today….interesting…..might be one of the attractions of tapas…..an underlying psychology that we are not totally aware of…..sharing food….very cool.

As we finished, we continued to pour our water and talk…..four teenage girls and myself…..hanging out for yet another 2 hour meal.  I had to smile to myself as we sat there because these girls don’t even realize what has transpired….sharing a meal is a 2-3 hour experience now…without even noticing.  Their conversations are intense and continuous…they talk about the food….about life…..about the food….there is no computer….no ipod…iphone…..just a meal with loved ones…..and it is satisfying….to the body, mind and soul.

Oh dear, I rambled again as I really wanted to tell you about an amazing bakery that we stumbled across in our left that should have been a right.  The kids spotted the sign…pan cake….it was adorable.  I told them we could stop after lunch…and they didn’t forget….headed straight to it and in….what a find!  It was very French in style of dessert offerings….and it was all organic.   They didn’t speak english and I was spent so they brought out a young very cool dude who was the “baker” and may have been the owner….he came out and with flour on his hands explained the pastries.   We placed our order, sat down and talked….not about the weather….or life……or Madrid…..but about the desserts that we were about to eat….and how amazing they looked…yes folks it was the beginning…..of yet another…….drum roll please……FOOD MEMORY.

I could reach deep into my library of descriptors and reveal each each dessert one by one….but there are not enough books in the library to do this justice….besides….I’m obsessed with my “flip camera” (thanks Kel!) and thought I’d show you instead.


I hope you are enjoying your day and creating your own food memories!

Ciao….or should I say…Adios!

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