I spent a lot of my time as a child driving my family to the brink of insanity with my terribly picky eating. I’ll never forget a day at my grandparents in New Hope when my grandmother, Oma, made the terrible mistake of cooking us turkey burgers. I would have eaten turkey off the breast without batting an eye, but for some reason, I just wouldn’t budge when it came in patty form. Oma was so sweet that she probably relented by the end of the night and fed me something else, but I know for a fact that I didn’t touch that turkey burger. Little jerk I was.

But nowadays, I’m a philosopher at heart – not that I have any published material out there. But I believe in a community of voices. It’s in our best interest to open our ears and our minds to any and all who wish to make their voice heard, regardless of any preconditions; if we do otherwise, we’re depriving ourselves of a perspective other than ours, which is inherently valuable in and of itself. If I choose to dismiss an idea before hearing it out fully, I’m either missing out on understanding some degree of merit that it might bear, or losing a chance to logically reaffirm my own contrasting views as the better perspective between the two. In both cases, an opportunity is lost. And believe you me, there’s nothing I hate more than a missed opportunity.

With that in mind, the last few years have seen me slowly emerge from my happy little shell of cheeseburgers and fries, and start eating foods that I would never have entertained in the past. And our trip is a golden opportunity to embrace exactly that philosophy, by eating whatever passes over my plate and deciding if it’s something I could allow as a part of my diet. Thanks to a comfortably speedy metabolism, I don’t give much thought to any long-term consequences of what I’m eating – which I’ll certainly regret in about 20 years. But for now, if it tastes good, it’s in. And already I’ve used this trip as a means for some spectacular culinary adventures, like indulging in a half-smoke in D.C., a crabcake in Maryland and New York pizza in Brooklyn.

Introduction aside, the next chapter in my palate development program lay right here in Provincetown, Mass. At the very tip of Cape Cod, where the roads are minimal and the accents are thick, lies this beach community with a colonial history dating back to even before Plymouth Rock. When the day’s activities had sapped us of our energy, we needed to replenish ourselves at a local seafood spot. At the advice of our friend Rob at Art’s, we walked about three blocks away to the cozy Mayflower Café.

New England, and especially the Cape, are renowned for their sensationally fresh seafood. It’s a necessary part of the menu at even McDonald’s around this neck of the woods. So as soon as we opened the menu, I was looking for seafood in any one of its many derivations. The atmosphere in the restaurant was very comfortable, not too busy, with numerous groups of satisfied patrons occupying the booths around us.

Between the three of us, we’ve gotten very good at picking out a handful of desirable items in these situations, to be shared somewhat evenly. Today, we went for a bowl of New England Clam Chowder to start, and believe it or not, this was the first time I’d ever allowed any concoction bearing that name to cross my lips. My god, I don’t know what I was waiting for. The soup was thick, hearty and piping hot, with large chunks of clam hidden beneath the surface. I swooned with every spoonful.
We followed with a fish burger, which wasn’t too unique – more of a fried fish sandwich than a burger – but certainly tasty in its own right. Along with this, we ordered a lobster roll; and until this day, I’d expected a lobster roll to look something like a pepperoni roll, which is just a ball of dough with cheese and pepperoni riddled throughout.

Dead wrong. It was a roll similar to a hot dog bun but with white sides, golden-browned on the outside and folded in half to accommodate a heavenly concoction of lobster meat and mayonnaise. It seemed small at first, but after a bite I realized that this was not the kind of food you shovel into your mouth simply to beat down an appetite. I chewed that bite until there was nothing left of it, savoring every fleeting tingle across my taste buds. By the end we were all full, and the sweat on my cheeks was the proof – this was one phenomenal lunch.

As we strolled through the streets of P-town, I snapped photos and reflected upon these new experiences, knowing full well that every clam chowder and lobster roll I eat in the future will be measured in the shadows of today’s trip to the Mayflower. And I let my mind wander ahead of us, to what might await my ever-growing appetite in the weeks and months to come. I’m sure it won’t be long before my next lesson in Culinary Curiosity 101.

P.S. Thanks to Dr. Coleen Zoller for the title of this post.


Joey's Sister
6/15/2009 04:32:35 am

this whole blog makes me very hungry...joey you can call me whenever you're not being awesome


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