A few nights ago, for the first time in a long time, I opened up our extra vecchio aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena D.O.P., aka extra old balsamic vinegar, aka some mind-blowing sh**. We purchased a botted aged for well over 25 years, the family that created it said well over 125 years. Anything more than 25 we just have to take their word for as there is no way to know for sure. We share it with very close foodie friends, and only pull it out for our indulgences on select cuisine occasions. Layers of complexity tasting of figs, cherries, and chocolate just to name a few. The tartness hits you in the right spot on your tongue. There is not the same acid that you experience with supermarket balsamic vinegar which is mostly “cooked” with additives like caramel. Just layers and layers of tradition.
The first touch of the syrupy goodness on my tongue causes my eyes to close and my lips to quiver. One drop of balsamic vinegar and food is passion again.
I have had the joyless experience of spending the entire year up until now on a massive sugar restricted diet. Yeah for my waistline. Boo for my taste buds. For six months while traveling, I obsessively ate truffles. Could this have been the cause of my lovely bout of thrush? Who knows. But as a result, I have had to eat an anti-candida diet. If you have never had this pleasure, be thankful. If you have, I feel your pain. Therefore, this stripped much joy from my life. Yes, non-foodie people right now are saying “quit your complaining, it’s not that big of a deal.” Maybe not, except everything you put in your mouth causes pain and discomfort. Bless you, my food allergic friends. I never understood quite how difficult life was for you. I feel unwavering compassion for you now.
For me, food is the key that unlocks memories of living in a particular time, place, and culture. Food is passion.
I was forced to drive across country with a salad spinner in the back seat. Our stop in New Orleans was spent with me depressingly walking by one restaurant after another that has always been on my food “must do” list. To put the anti-candida diet into some perspective for those that have never experienced it–it is so restrictive I lost 50 lbs in the first seven weeks. Swallow that for a second. It is a lot of weight in a short period. Finally, I leveled off after that. Once the outbreaks stopped, I developed a new assault on my taste buds. Geographic tongue. Google that. Not fun for a foodie either.
This past week I noticed my taste buds started enjoying life again, so I started eating a variety of foods. Mostly my favorites found here on the Big Island of Hawaii that I have been looking past since arriving. Some of this week’s indulgences include malasadas, passion orange guava juice, and a bottle of Chablis. And tonight I will crack open our final remaining gourmet mustard from Fallot–a pinot noir mutard.
Suffice to say I am already 5 pounds heavier… and food is passion once again for me.