I am participating in the Scintilla Project, a fortnight of storytelling. There will be writing prompts every day for the next two weeks. You can follow along on Twitter @ScintillaHQ and by searching the #scintilla13 hashtag for other participants and their stories.
Prompt: Many of our fondest memories are associated with food. Describe a memorable experience that took place while preparing or eating food.
We had only known each other for a couple of weeks, I believe. Food quickly became one of our common interests. We loved having long, drawn-out conversations over dinner. He seemed very sophisticated and grown up (also: European!) to me, seeing that he was able to sit and talk for hours and not get the itch to get up right after finishing his meal. He introduced me to Thai food, Sushi and In’N’Out. I cooked him German dishes and taught him the significance of real German bread in my life. He loved the fact that I was a girl who did not just pick at her meal, but actually liked to indulge. I loved that he was willing to try new things and experience culinary diversity. To this day, we frequently try new restaurants, new ethnic foods and still love long conversations over dinner.
The memorable experience in food-eating was a little less fancy than you would expect after this intro though. Having been raised in a different country, I felt quite overwhelmed by the food choices at the giant supermarkets here in the US. A shopping trip for groceries more often than not turned into an hour-long wander through the aisles that were packed to the ceiling with packages larger than I had ever seen and food items that were simply unfamiliar to me.
One night, I agreed to meet him at his dorm. We hung out and talked. I think he also had some homework to do. I just enjoyed being with him. We went for a walk later that evening and then over to the little shopping area right off campus. I steered him towards the little independent coffee shop (or it might have been a Starbucks, I don’t recall) and ordered two coffees.
We set down on a bench, next to a drive-through ATM, in the middle of the parking lot. I know. The setting couldn’t have been more romantic.
He got up and ran over to the AM/PM gas station right at the corner of the intersection and came back holding a giant bag of chips. (As I said, things are HUGE here compared to what I was used to.) He ripped open the bag and dared me to try one.
I looked at him like he wasn’t really serious while glancing and hinting sideways at the coffee cup in my hand.
“I don’t think coffee and chips really go together.”
He pulled me down on his lap, took a big gulp of his coffee followed by a handful of chips, then held the bag daringly underneath my nose. I took a peek inside.
Most obviously against my better judgment, I witnessed my hand reach into the bag and pick out one of the triangle-shaped, seasoning-covered chips. I held it up right in front of my eyes and turned it back and forth. I’ve never had these before. I put the chip in my mouth, sucked on the flavor that quickly spread as a spicy tingling sensation through my mouth and thought to myself: damn, those are good.
A sip of the hot coffee intensified the spiciness x 100, but surprisingly, I liked it. No, I loved it. It was actually a really good combination of flavors, too. Who would have thought?
I starred at him. In disbelief.
“THIS is amazing.”
“Told you” is all he said. Followed by a big smile as I reached for the bag once again.
Salsa Verde Doritos and coffee is where it’s at, guys. It is, to this day, one of our favorite snacks that never fails to bring back memories of the early days.