10 May Memorable Meals: Savoury City Reminisces
Who can forget the hilariously iconic lobster scene in Annie Hall? The ever-neurotic Alvy (Woody Allen) and Annie (Diane Keaton) attempting to boil live lobsters, as one crustacean seeks refuge behind the fridge, causing faux panic and Alvy’s regret over not buying steaks.
A young Julia Roberts negotiating how to eat escargot for the first time in Pretty Woman is another unforgettable dinner scene that flickers in our minds long after the credits rolled.
Fresh Bagels and Ella Fitzgerald
Indeed, many of life’s most memorable moments seem to center around food (dead or alive). This is most likely because so many of our memories are triggered by our senses. The smell of fresh bagels may remind us of a trip we took to Manhattan one Spring; an Ella Fitzgerald tune may bring to mind a long ago unrequited love.
Our senses are so interconnected and interwoven with our past, concretizing certain events in our minds forever. Perhaps this is why some of our most powerful and atemporal memories center around meals. So, it begs the question…
What makes a truly memorable meal?
Donna Wadsworth, head honcho at Savoury City, has some ideas on the subject. Having spent over 20 years in the custom catering industry, she certainly knows a thing or two about creating magical and lasting memories:
“When I think of my most memorable meals, they are not the most expensive ones. The food has to take you somewhere; it has to be transcendent.”
She echoes the words of the famed chef, Heston Blumenthal, who once said, “you think about some of the most memorable meals you’ve ever had; the food will be good but it will often be about locating a mental memory and taste is inexorably linked to all the other senses and memory, so ultimately it is all about taste.”
Day Dreaming of the Darjeeling
One of Wadsworth’s most enduring culinary experiences was on a trip to Darjeeling, an Indian town at the foothills of the Himalayas:
“We were invited to a dinner by the Tibetan family who owned the hotel we were staying at. The mother of the family made the most amazing momo’s, those little dumplings of every variation. They would go into the hills and get wild watercress and leeks and use that in the momos. She served us those along with buckets of tea!
“I just fell in love with the food and the flavours. Eating something I’ve never tasted before brings so much joy to my mouth. The tastes were so incredible!”
Memories of Mascarpone
Donna reminded me of my most memorable meal–a picnic in Manhattan’s Central Park. My then girlfriend, Jen, and I went to the iconic Zabar’s Deli and bought fresh bagels, prosciutto, mascarpone spread and smoked salmon. We sat on the grass on one of those sun-alive New York days and watched a young family play baseball. It was memorable because of who I was with, the atmosphere and the wonderful tastes of fresh deli. I’ve long forgotten about the girlfriend, but those incredible tastes remain in my mind!
Donna and her staff at Savoury City understand these experiences, as they create them on a daily basis. They know that creating the perfect moment is all about the right atmosphere, the right people and, perhaps more important of all, the rights tastes. Organic, fresh, locally sourced, and above all, genuine.
The Extraordinary in the Ordinary
What seems clear is that our most memorable dining experiences are often not based on expensive and exclusive restaurants. It’s usually the seemingly insignificant moments in life that seem to be the most meaningful. An enlightening conversation with a stranger on a park bench or baking cookies with your mom are sometimes the moments that are indelibly etched in our memory. The extraordinary in the ordinary, the magical in the mundane, the infinite in the infinitesimal.