Tastes and Memories

“Tastes and Memories”

I’ve missed the taste of Coca-Cola.  I’m talking about the Coke that came in a small green bottle out of a vending machine.  When they changed the formula over to corn syrup in 1980 in the USA – I knew in an instant that the taste wasn’t the same.  I’ve missed that taste…  Until….  I went to San Diego last week. 

My daughter who lives in San Diego had said that she just had a “MEXICAN COKE” and that it was pretty good.  Mexican Coke???  She said that it came in a small green bottle.   Now I was intrigued.  Could it be?  Could it still exist?  Would it taste like I had remembered? 

We went to a market a couple of blocks away from their place.  There they were.  Mexican Cokes – chilled.  Ice cold.  I bought a bottle (and thankfully the cashier at the market had a bottle opener – because this was no screw-top).

As soon as it touched my lips I was teleported back to my home town of Goshen CT.  I remembered going to Mickey’s Gas Station and putting my dime in the machine.  The bottles were lined up vertically with the top 6 or so being Coke, then came the Fanta Grape, Fanta Orange – and who cared after that!  Pulling that bottle out of the machine and popping off the cap (using the bottle opener in the machine that then caught the caps) was our only hope for cooling down on a hot and humid summer day.  That memory RUSHED back when I took that first swallow. 

Then I thought about going back to taste things again.  What are the top tastes and memories that I’d pay to relive? 

Pancakes at Ski’s Diner – Every once in a while on a Saturday morning, my dad would take me to “Ski’s”.  There never has been – nor will there be – a better pancake made on planet Earth.  I’ve tried to recreate it.  It’s impossible.  My guess is that the cooktop with 50 years of cooking everything on it was seasoned in a way that no other pan could ever be. 

Jumbo Cheeseburger and Fries at Scarpelli’s – Nothing like them – anywhere.  Mr. Scarpelli got to know us kids so well – he even gave us a tour of the back of the restaurant one day.  He showed us the machine that peeled the potatoes.  He told us about the two years supply of white paper bags he had just bought with his logo on them.

Lasagna at Sunnyside Restaurant – Nonna in the back kitchen fussing over every plate.  She barely spoke English – but that woman could cook…. 

Pizza at Casa Loma – a big “date night” with my wife was going to Hartford Jai-Alai and then saving enough money to buy a pizza at Casa Loma.  By Far – the best pizza in the world.  Guaranteed to burn the roof of your mouth every time you ate it because you couldn’t wait for it to cool.  And worth every burnt roof. 

So what’s on your list of tastes and memories?  Where would you like to be teleported back to - by having that food or drink again?  I hope this email takes you back to at least one place and time that brought you joy. 

Till next time,