There’s nothing like your favourite indulgence food

Nothing quite like it

Movie popcorn. It’s a one-of-a-kind thing.

As I sat in the theatre last week, munching happily away at my buttered morsels, I thought about the unique taste and aroma. There is something special about it. I like making popcorn at home, but it never tastes the same as the stuff at the theatre.

I didn’t think there was a secret ingredient in movie popcorn to make me like it more. Apparently, according to the folks at Mash.com and a listing on Amazon, I am mistaken. A fine flaked salt with “just the right amount of artificial flavour and colour” to give the kernels an appealing character is what gets us hooked, or so they say.

Ah well, so much for that. Since this is my one big junk food indulgence, I don’t care what they say. I’m not giving up my popcorn at the movies.

Why is it that some foods can have a unique effect on us? The food you have on vacation always tastes better than the same thing had at home. Your mom’s iconic classic – hash brown casserole or mac n’ cheese or peach chicken – is hard to duplicate exactly even if you have the recipe. Turkey at Christmas tastes especially good. (Or insert whatever your favourite special-occasion meal happens to be, of course.)

I don’t believe there is one reason that covers all these situations, but I do believe that our faith in the experience does work for all of them. Our memories build upon each other, strengthening the power of the flavours.

Each year you have that turkey it becomes a more solid icon - unless the experience went sideways, in which case the attachment flips and becomes negative. This is what happens to those of us who now swear off a certain spirit or sweet or other indulgence. (I can have one margarita to be polite, but tequila shots are something I would really rather not partake in. Thankfully that was before social media was a thing.)

Sometimes, the iconic food and drink experiences are a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Then the memory may lock them into our psyche as special. I remember my hubbie once got a request to host a cooking class for a couple who wanted to learn how to make paella, “just like the one they had in Spain.”

He politely declined to take the job, saying, “I don’t want to be the chef who ruins paella for you. It is not my specialty, but even if it was, I wouldn’t want to teach you this dish. There is no way I can duplicate the experience you had in Spain, and that’s part of the taste you remember.”

Maybe I’m just getting old and wistful, but I am completely fine with not being able to repeat everything. I know in today’s world we can recreate all kinds of things with technology, and ship things or have them delivered in ways like never before. But Skip the Dishes isn’t the solution for every situation.

I have the special pan my dad used, but I have stopped trying to recreate the kind of fried egg he would make me as breakfast before basketball practice.

My movie popcorn may be a bit of chemical wizardry, but some things deserve to be elusively special. It helps to seal in the flavours of the memory.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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