We all have a food or ingredient that transports us back to a moment or place in time. It's often not the fancy, fine-dining restaurant meal, but rather something simple and unexpected that sticks with us - it's about emotion, and how we can connect back to those moments with a single dish. I’m gathering a collection to capture and share the joy of food memories, this one's from my old housemate, and very dear friend, Chris.
If anyone were to ask me about the best sandwich I'd ever eaten (which sadly nobody ever has), I know my wife, Mel, and I would immediately go for the same one:
A couple of years back, we were pottering around the city of Ronda in Andalusia. It was a beautiful day and we were just doing the touristy thing of wandering around and taking pictures. Little did Mel know that I was also eyeing up the location to see if it was suitable for proposing, but that's another story.
Lunchtime approached and we called into the nearest cafe - an unassuming spot complete with polystyrene cups and empty plastic tables - we weren't expecting much at all, but it was too sunny to be fussy and the rumbles of hunger made the decision for us. We asked for some sandwiches to take away, which seemed to confuse the chap a little, but he disappeared into the kitchen anyway. He came out a few minutes later with some baguettes simply wrapped in tinfoil and we left to find a spot to eat them in the sun.
The sandwiches were just a cheap baguette, but with the most delicious jamon iberico, manchego, and a good drizzle of proper mediterranean olive oil, which just seemed to lift everything to another level. We both sat in silence, amazed at how something so simple and unassuming could turn out to be such a beautiful lunch.
I did propose later on that holiday, and even now as a married couple (with a few more holiday lunches under our belt), we still fondly remember those sandwiches as the best either of us has eaten - before or since. It’s the beauty in the simplicity of ingredients, and the lack of expectation. Nothing has ever come close.
- Chris (and Mel)