Forming Taste Memories

[Editor’s Note: Chefs often describe their taste memories. We wanted to pin down what a taste memory is, so we asked 10-year old Raffmeister to write about a recent taste memory]

I went to Whole Foods today. I rushed in and went straight to the “Taste” area near the cheese display, where they put out cheeses to try.

It was goat cheese this time. Yuk!

I felt the texture with my fingers…a little squishy… Then I popped it into my mouth.

I was knocked out.

I have never experienced something like that before. Smooth, not flakey like goat cheese I’ve tasted before, with a long-lasting taste that went from slightly goaty to cheddary tang to something else (umami?).

I popped three more into my mouth, creating a wave of taste, a symphony of cheese, overlapping and underlapping, mixing, twirling and spinning.

My mom looked at me with her hand close to her mouth, a piece of cheese in it. She put the piece of cheese in and then I said, “How do you like it?”

She had a surprised look on her face. She said it was pretty good.

I replied, “I bet you thought I wouldn’t like it, but it’s amazing! It’s like umami and something else.” I asked her if we could get some.

“Absolutely.” She put a wedge into her grocery cart.

We went over to the olive stand. I choose my favorite type of green olives. Then we went to the pasta isle and bought some shells for dinner.

In the car, I took out a plastic cheese knife and cut two pieces of the cheese, gave one to my mother and quickly consumed mine. After she had eaten hers, she thanked me for convincing her to buy the cheese.

I said, “You are welcome.”

Since I was still a little hungry, I dug out an olive and ate it.

“You’ve got to try this,” I said. The cheese and the olives together were even better.

She tried one with the cheese. “Right again. Young man, you do have very good taste.”

We rode home, talking about our favorite chefs.

Sometimes a taste can change everything.

(The cheese is called Yodeling Goat Gouda and goes great with most olives.)

(Image from Acheofacts)

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