The last morning of my parents 55th anniversary weekend at Tahoe I was sitting at the table having some breakfast with my mom. In the air was the sense of packing up for home. My brother was finishing up feeding my niece, dad was ambling around packing things; made his way into the kitchen and said the inevitable, “What are we going to do with all this leftover food?”
I pondered that question as I peered out the window, across the lake, and bit into a fresh raspberry. Now, I don’t normally eat raspberries, not because I don’t like them, but because for some reason the only fruits I eat on a regular basis are bananas and apples. Not an adventurous consumer of fruit I suppose. The flavor of the raspberry caught me a little off guard; my mouth must’ve recognized it was fruit, but neither a banana nor an apple. This recognition caught my brains attention and I began to have a conversation in my head….
“I think I like these better in pies….or maybe it’s scones….maybe some fruits are just better in baked goods…meh, we’ll divvy up the food in a minute….why is this raspberry making me think so much?…Where have I had this flavor before…….”
At that moment I was transported, figuratively of course, to a restaurant somewhere in Oregon, or on the way to Oregon. At any rate, I remember the place had lots of blue; blue walls, blue tables, blue chairs; pleasing blue, nothing obnoxious or neon and not too much blue. And I believe the tables were covered in a clear resin with postcards or some kind of artifacts underneath for patrons to converse over. Oh, and the best white cheddar polenta I have ever had. (Tried to make it myself once with minor success.) Whether or not this was the same place I had the raspberry whatever baked goods, I don’t know, but that’s where taste took me.
I was a bit taken aback by the whole experience because I have never had such a powerful association from eating food before. I mean it was cool and all, but I couldn’t help wondering why my responses were so strong. A short while later I realized that the taste of the raspberry triggering the memory of that restaurant was connected to the person I was there with. My college girlfriend. We’d been on again off again after college, with a final ‘off’ about 10 years ago. We had reconnected and caught each other up on our lives a couple of years ago over a few hours, then dropped out of touch again, as these things go.
How wonderful it was though to remember that restaurant, that time, that person all from the taste of a raspberry.