I’m a sucker for sentimentality. I form an emotional attachment to everything. It’s a talent, really. I can look in my closet and tell you when and why I bought most of my clothes – how they made me feel, how I was hoping they would make me look, and what alter ego I was hoping would magically come out while wearing them.
The same for music. The soundtrack for my life is at least a ten-disk compilation. I really miss the days when you actually collected CDs – when you could proudly display your collection and let others get to know you through snooping while you were in the bathroom.
“Why, yes, I did embrace grunge.”
“Oh, that? Yes, Metallica was instrumental through most of my sophomore year of college.”
“Smashing Pumpkins? No – I’d frame their lyrics, but his voice makes me want to wrap my head in styrofoam and bang it against the wall.”
“Uh huh. I have exposed my two-year-old to the political agenda of the Fleet Foxes, the sweet soulfulnes of Ray LaMontagne, & the incredible happiness that is Vampire Weekend.”
“Ah. The Ace of Base. I can explain that……..”
And – of course – the same is for food. Andrew and I have done some traveling in our time together, and it never fails that I leave a trip with formative food memories. Our camping trip to Florida – the first trip we ever took together – is marked beginning (beer at the Irish pub), middle (our margarita fiesta at the only Mexican restaurant in town), and end (the first time I successfully grilled a foil pack – garlic & herb potatoes). Whenever I see, smell, or hear about paella, I go instantly back to the first time I had it – in a tiny Basque restaurant in Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. I will never again look at a mussel without thinking of Mussel Fest in Coupeville, even though I was already well-acquainted with them. Unfortunately, there was a serious lack of this at Mussel Fest….but the food made up for it 🙂
We have spent our fair share of time in the Pacific Northwest, and with it has come a familiarity with some of the flavors & cuisine there. I love seafood and always go over my fish-limit while there. I never regret it, either. But when I want to make something to take me back, I reach for my granola recipe.
Seriously. The first trip Andrew and I took to the area, we spent one leg of our journey on San Juan Island. It is a beautiful place – lavender fields, rolling farms, rocky bluffs, and the ever-amazing pod of orcas swimming off the coast. At the same time, it’s much like any other island in the PacNW. Quaint. Kitschy. And at times, the tourist-y-ness is completely off-putting, with the loads of shops selling golf shirts & wine charms. But the negatives are all things I saw on my second visit to the island – the first time was magical, as it was my first week in the PacNW and I was on a much needed vacation with the love of my life. Despite going back and seeing a little more of ‘reality’ in San Juan, it remains high on my Favorite Places list because of my rosy memories there.
Anyway, we stayed at a B&B that I still highly recommend to anyone thinking of going to the islands. Now I am not a B&B person. I don’t like forced conversation with strangers at breakfast, and often I’m not even interested in eating breakfast at all! We stayed at a B&B a few years back where the owners actually waited up for us at night – we were definitely out drinking and it smelled strangely of sneaking my drunken self past my parents in high school (not that I ever did that). But. The Tucker House isn’t like that – it’s large enough that you don’t have to see anyone, and the owners let you be as you wish. They’re helpful and knowledgable – they’re very happy to talk to you – but they don’t seek you out. And, Anna Maria makes the most amazing breakfasts – I actually WANTED to get out of bed to eat them….but I didn’t have to because they had an “early breakfast” and a “Angela’s Schedule Breakfast.” Can I get a Hallelujah?! And every morning, no matter what else she was serving, her granola was sitting on the table for those who wanted it. I ate it every day. I asked for her recipe. I bought her cookbook JUST for the recipe.
And this evening, just to get a little bit of that vacation-y feeling in my bones, I made it.
As usual, I burned the first batch. As usual, I bought enough to feed an army. And, as usual, Andrew just about jumped out of his skin with excitement when he realized what he was smelling.
I love food. More than that, I love it when food helps me time travel. My house smells like cinnamon, cloves, and local honey, and I feel like a newlywed again….for the moment.