I like to travel. Visiting new places, taking in new sights, learning the local history — I love every single aspect. It combines to form an experience, and experiences are what make life worth living.
They’re also an important tool in the writer arsenal. Experience adds flavor, nuance, and depth to the written word. And isn’t that what we strive to achieve as storytellers?
I also love to eat. Eating familiar home-cooked meals, checking out new restaurants, and trying new recipes — I love doing these things.
Now that I have a day job again, accomplishing these food goals has become more difficult. I only freelanced for two years, but it amazes me how easily I slipped into that lifestyle and adjusted to its erratic, often unpredictable rhythm. Almost three months in, and I’m only just beginning to grow accustomed to the limits imposed by workday prep and a lengthy commute. Maybe by the time my birthday rolls around next month, I’ll be at ease with this schedule and making it work for me. I remember doing so the last time I had a day job.
Or maybe my memory is flawed.
These days, it appears that my best chances for trying new foods and dishes will be during trips and vacations. Case in point: I attended a small science fiction and fantasy convention in North Carolina last weekend. While the con featured a lovely con suite that served such delicious meals as chicken and dumplings and chorizo and turkey chili, being away from home means being able to try local restaurants I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Enter the fried green tomato BLT.
See, I have this thing for fried green tomatoes. I rarely get the chance to eat them. Why would I? I’m an Asian woman who lives in Metro DC. It doesn’t feature on many menus, and the places that do have it aren’t restaurants I frequent on a regular basis. Let’s be real. Southern comfort food isn’t one of my go-tos.
So when I do find myself at an establishment that serves fried green tomatoes, I make a point to order it. A fried green tomato BLT sounded like an interesting spin on something I normally eat as an appetizer.
Enter the flawed memory.
Because I eat fried green tomatoes so rarely, did I build up its deliciousness in my mind? Did I set my expectations too high? Or did my excitement overwhelm my tastebuds.
As you can probably guess, the BLT wasn’t so good. The jalapeno corn hushpuppies and broiled brussel sprouts were delicious, though. You win some. You lose some.
That is part of the experience.