Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Food Moment

I remember the first time I ate peanut sauce. Well, not really the moment, but the taste. I have no idea what restaurant it was at or with whom I shared the meal, but what I do remember is how much I loved the taste of that sweet spicy peanut-infused sauce.

It was a food moment. I’ve had a few in my life. The first time I ate pesto. Biting into my first stuffed grape leaf. Eating a garlic blue cheese burger. Something that tastes so good and different, it changes the way I look at food.

I had always been a fan of sauces, but this one blew my mind. Sauce, with nuts in it? I was really getting exotic now! I remember that not long after my meal I came upon jarred peanut sauce and couldn’t believe my luck. I plucked it off the shelf and took it home where I scooped it out of the jar and smeared it over noodles with sautéed vegetables until I had scraped the last bit out off the bottom of the glass. It seemed a little thick and I knew it was probably not very good for me, but I was willing to suffer a few extra pounds for something so tasty.

Luckily, when I went back to the same store to find a second jar, I found that the supply had disappeared. After several more trips and the shelf not being replenished I gave up. Over time, I forgot about peanut sauce and treated myself only occasionally when I saw it on a Thai menu.

It wasn’t until I came across a recipe for Peanutty Noodles in Cooking Light that I realized I could make this dish at home. The bonus was that the sauce had to be lighter than that served in a restaurant and I’m sure much better for me than the goop I found in that jar.

Tonight I had a crookneck squash and carrots on hand but wasn’t sure what to make with them. As I paged through my recipe binder I came upon the recipe and knew I had my meal. When I looked a little closer at the dateline below the clipped out recipe I was surprised to see that it said May 2000.

As I mixed up the sauce, sautéed the squash, peeled the carrots, and boiled the soba noodles I tried to remember the circumstances of that first dish, but I couldn’t recall. As I mixed all my ingredients together and the sweet, spicy scent rose up to my nose I thought a memory might return, but I couldn’t think of anything except how good it tasted.

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