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At the end of Pixar's Ratatouille (this is a spoiler if you haven't seen it for some reason) Anton Ego, the notorious critic, has a moment. When Ego tastes Remy's (the rat chef's) ratatouille, it transports him to his childhood when his mother made ratatouille for him as a treat after a bad day.
I had one of those moments as well. Before I tell you what the food was, let me tell you the memory.
I believe it was first grade at Countryside Montessori School. I distinctly remember sitting in the basement (where we used to play Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?) in a circle with the other children. For some reason, one of my teachers was sharing some special food with us, perhaps it was after a summer break trip or something. I remember her serving it out of an odd container that appeared to be woven, almost like rattan.
The food was passed around or handed out and while I don't remember the act of eating it or what it looked like, I distinctly remember the taste. Whatever it was, I really liked it, but being a little kid, I have no memory of what it was (I'm not sure I had been listening to the teacher explain it anyway).
I don't know when I first recalled the memory, but during high school and college, I distinctly remembered the taste and wondered what it was. Despite my growing cultural experiences, maturing palate and new interest in food, I still had no idea what the mysterious item had been. For the most part I just passed it off as an old curiosity and didn't think about it. But the memory always seemed to be there in the back of my mind.
After graduating from college, I drove 8 hours from Chicago to Nashville to visit my friend Hewson at Vanderbilt. He took me to a few interesting places to eat including my first visit to Krispy Kreme. Then one day, he took me to a restaurant to try a cuisine I didn't know much about. We sat down and I let him order since I knew nothing about it. When the food came, it looked interesting so I dove in and tried it.
That's when I had my Ratatouille Moment. Suddenly, vivid memories from that day in kindergarten flooded my mind. That's when I remembered the basement and the teacher and the container she was holding. But most of all, I remembered the taste.
My eyes bulged as realization set in. The rest of the world stopped and melted away. It was a moment of unfettered clarity and revelation. I stopped chewing and gawked at the food in my hand, with my mouth full but open. I was having an epiphany.
"This... is... it..." I said, "I've been looking for this for my entire life!" It's not often that someone can say that and mean it literally, though it was technically just my entire conscious/self-aware life, but either way it was a pretty profound moment.
So what was it, you ask? It was Ethiopian Doro Wot and Injera. I'm not certain if I like it so much because of the memory, or if the memory is so vivid because I liked it so much, but either way, I still love the stuff today. There's just something about the spiciness of the wot (stew) and tanginess of the injera (like a sourdough flat bread) that just seems perfect to me. And I'm sure I'll remember it for the rest of my (sane) life.
Posted 10/21/2010 10:05 PM in Food, Ramblings | Total Comments: (4)
Link To This Blargh
Strange, I really enjoyed Ratatouille as a movie, but didn't think it worthwhile to pick up when it arrived on video. 'Course, I don't buy too many DVDs/Blu-rays, but I suppose there are Pixar movies I love more (and still don't own). At any rate, the end of that movie does stand out to me, and I want all my meals to be that standout.
Submitted by Dan on 10/21/2010 10:33 PM
I enjoyed this story.
Submitted by Lawrence on 02/01/2011 00:17 AM
Some very interesting potins. Using downloadable demos to placate the gaming desires of young children isn't something that I've ever considered doing, despite the fact that I've spent quite a bit of money buying games for children. It'd be interesting to see just how many parents would be willing and able to do this though, given the growing stigma surrounding gaming and the average experience of older people with current generation consoles. Still, it's a very good way for parents to avoid wasting piles and piles of cash at Christmas!PS Very cool pic! You definitely need to add a caption! :D
Submitted by rPCUVYYPzcDXlD on 05/15/2012 11:05 PM
n1VbbI Very informative blog article.Really thank you! Much obliged.
Submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org on 06/18/2014 02:30 AM