Do you ever have those moments that catapult you back to into your memories from abroad? I had one of those last night – what I would call a “pecorino moment”.
Hubby and I went for some great Italian in La Jolla at a little place called Barbella. It was a lovely restaurant with an open covered porch and all kind of character. The menu was small but looked scrumptious. Trying to implement portion controll, we shared the cheese plate, a bibb salad, and fettuccine alla bolognese. When the cheese plate arrived, I was immediately thrilled to find one of my favorite combinations: pecorino e miele (sheep’s cheese and honey). As soon as the sweet and salty concoction touched my tongue, memories of a meal in Montalcino sprung to my mind as if I was reliving it again from 9 years ago.
In general, I would say I am not a lover of food. I more eat to live, than live to eat. I could eat a turkey sandwich for every lunch for the rest of my life and be fine. But there are a few meals that I have partaken in during my 30 years that are truly memorable (for good or bad):
Age 7: My Aunt Ethel made cabbage rolls and my mother told me I had to try them. I told her that green was not my color.
Age 15: I went to the homecoming dance with a group of people and at dinner all the girls ordered salad. Trying to not be the odd duck who really wanted steak, I had my first salad ever and discovered that maybe green was my color – at least if it had enough bleu cheese dressing on it.
Age: 18: I was in South Africa volunteering at local high schools and staying at a Christian camp that provided three meals a day. We were told we had to eat everything so as not to offend. This included the neon pink hot dogs; I’m still not sure what they were made of.
Age 20: Sitting in a tiny restaurant in Montalcino, Italy, I had the very best meal of my life consisting of risotto di Brunello di Montalcino (risotto made with red wine) and pecorino e miele.
Age 27: Dining with a group of students in Cusco, Peru, they decided to order cuy (guinea pig) for the table. I just couldn’t get myself to try it…with teeth and all staring at me, I contemplated becoming a vegetarian.
Ha! Your pecorino moments are aka Proustian moments, I think 🙂 If you tend away from pig (as I do), then when you come and visit me in Ubud, you’ll likely want to stay away from a true institution in this city: Ibu Oka’s, where people descend from around the world for her world-famous babi guling (roasted pig). I cannot describe how massive the pig is that graces the front of her restaurant every day..but suffice it to say that it’s made it to the list of legendary chef Anthony Bourdain.
As for my own pecorinos… I’d say my birthday meal in Florence 2 years ago was right up there… though I can’t recall details as you do! Otherwise..way too many to count!
Loved your story, thanks for sharing.
I will definitely be staying away from the big pigs should I ever get to visit Ubud! I’m just not sure I can handle it. I just don’t like my food to look like its original self!
I’m glad we share fond memories in Italy though! Thanks, Amit!