I had my monthly visit to the Farber today and thankfully, all is still well. I'm very grateful as I enter my third year of maintenance therapy on this clinical trial. Except for continued improvement of my hematocrit from the iron pills I'm taking, there is not much new to report, so instead of dwelling on that, I want to talk about tomatoes.
The other day, I read an article on CNN about "the best sandwich in the universe". The author was touting a tomato and mayonnaise sandwich on white bread as being the perfect sandwich. Here is a link to the article: tomato-mayo-sandwich-eatocracy. Now I love both tomatoes and mayonnaise, and fresh tomatoes have just come into season in this area. I decided to take the plunge. I bought a loaf of regular white bread (ugh!) and bought some fresh tomatoes from the local farm stand. I slavered up the Hellman's mayo and sliced tomatoes on the bread, let it soak in for a minute, and took a bite. I have to say it was pretty good. However, Nirvana it wasn't.
That made me think about when a tomato was Nirvana for me. I was probably 12 or 13 years old, standing in the vegetable garden of my grandmother's farm in upstate New York. I distinctly remember plucking a large ripe tomato off the vine and standing there devouring it, with the succulent juice and seeds running down my face and dripping on the ground. That was the best tomato I have ever eaten! Some of that has to do with the fact that my taste buds have deteriorated over the years. Some of it may also have to do with the glorification of that memory as the years have past. In any event, my mind still recalls exactly how delicious that one tomato was. I have never tasted another one as good since.
The same goes for corn on the cob. I love fresh corn on the cob. They are in season now. Yesterday, I devoured 3 ears, and yes, they were very good. However nothing will compare to my memory of the corn from the farm. Again, I was young, but I clearly remember that just before dinner was served, we would go out and strip ears of corn from the stalks, rush them back to the house, shuck them quickly, and throw them into the pot of boiling water that was awaiting. Minutes later, I recall sitting at the dinner table, voraciously stripping the cob with the sweet kernels bursting in my mouth. In my mind, that particular flavor has yet to be replicated, no matter how delicious today's corn might be.
I think everyone probably has memories of tastes and times that are memorable and can't be repeated. I have several other unforgettable taste memories: My grandmother's soft raisin cookies hot out of the oven, my mother's apple pie, and the strawberries from my childhood in Pennsylvania. The strawberry man would come down our street in season and you could hear him from half a block away shouting, "Berries! Berries! Straww-berries!" It was so exciting! When I could convince my mom to buy them, they were so delicious, especially with some whipped cream. Strawberries have never tasted as good since.
I'm not complaining, mind you. I still enjoy a good meal, even if I can't enjoy the subtleties of flavors that I used to. I can still let my memory fill in the blanks. Tomorrow, I might try another tomato and mayonnaise sandwich. Maybe I can coax my memory of the perfect tomato into making it taste even better.