When I was 12, on New Year’s Eve, my mother made a very creamy shrimp curry. I was allowed a small glass of red wine to go with the meal. The shrimp was spicy and rich; in combination with alternating sips of wine, I almost cried, it was so good. Despite countless promptings, she says she still doesn’t remember that meal.
That same year, my mother made fettucine with a tomato sauce that was fine enough to haunt my palate ever since. She had baked semolina bread to accompany the pasta and sauce. I remember dipping the bread into the sauce, and after tasting it, my entire body starting to sing. Again, we’ve tried breaking it down, but she can’t figure out how she made it.
I remember these dishes, though. And to rip off a line from Denis Johnson: I’ve gone looking for that feeling everywhere.