fruits ‘n memories

at the moment, i am in naples with my mom and her parents; my grandparents. my parents have a beautiful place here, and i decided to accompany them down for the weekend before i start my LAST semester of law school (thank god!). the last couple of nights, i’ve gone virtually without sleep. there is something sad and life-changing going on, and i will talk of it later when i feel that i finally have the right words for it. for this moment, however, i am once again an insomniac and decided to do something with this eerie 3-4 a.m. time slot rather than lie awake, staring at the ceiling and trying my best to numb my thoughts.

today my mom and i stopped over at the grocery store. we just got into town and needed to stock up on the basics (which of course included such staples as jalapeno cheese tofurky dogs, weight watchers carrot cake bites and some delicious looking havarti cheese), when, in the midst of the produce section, a delightful aroma caught our senses. i couldn’t quite place it at first – you know, when you just know something so well that the name actually escapes your mind? my mom was experiencing the same sensation. we sniffed around like a couple of bloodhounds hot on a trail, and ended up nose to fruit with some peaches. the aroma was heavenly – i know it sounds like a huge exaggeration, but sometimes a powerful scent can truly transcend time. after all, scent connects us to our past; the smells of christmas, the smell of pie baking at grandma’s – it really takes you back. that’s when i remembered the best peach i’ve ever had.

it was a hot summer in france – in nice, to be exact. we (my best friend, her younger sister, and i) were staying at an adorable bed and breakfast on the coast of the french riviera. our first morning there, we ventured down to the open market, where we bought fruits and cheese and fresh bread and pastries. we returned back to our room to stash our extra treats before hopping on a bus to antibes, leaving a simple peach on a table basked in sunlight. when we returned home later that day, i picked up the peach, now warm, and took a bite. PERFECTION!!! it was the juciest, most succulent, sweetest taste i’ve ever tased. sort of like hot peach cobbler, but better.

so i relayed this story to my mom, as we snatched up peaches, and i got to thinking…the cherries in istanbul, the waffles and falfafel in amsterdam, the vinegar fries in brugges, the gazpacho in barcelona, the curry in london, the watermelon in naxos, the mashed up thing in budapest…the list goes on, and it continues into my own hometown – our favorite pizza and phad thai and ahi…then i started to wonder whether i have too intimate a relationship with food, or whether it’s normal to remember places by not only architectural and artistic landmarks (and people encountered), but by scent and taste?

well, normal or not, it’s what i do. at least i can always be the person to consult when deciding where to get a bite to eat. and i find that to be some very useful information to carry around!!! time to check out, i have a peach to rate…

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