8.10.2007

A Swim Down Memory Lane


When I was a child I can recall adults often asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. “A doctor” I would often reply, knowing this to be a politically correct response that would more often than not cause adults to smile and turn to one another in conversation, and most importantly, leave me alone. I never knew what I wanted to be when I was an adult, and I found this question difficult, because no matter what my response was, I often felt as though it was I lie. Sometimes I would reply that I hoped to be a fire fighter, or an astronaut, or a cartoonist (Simpson’s creator and Life is Hell author Matt Groening no doubt the inspiration behind this response). In my wildest dreams, I don’t believe that I ever saw my adult self as a restaurateur, though at the current moment in time this seems the most likely outcome for my “career path,” which by the way contains previous jobs such as painter, landscaper, bead store clerk, camp counselor, delivery driver, deli service clerk, barista, and most popular of all with my future wife, Dum Dum sucker and Jelly Belly Jelly Bean promoter, which found me fully costumed and standing outside of various grocery stores waving to passer-byes and fending off young would-be attackers.
It seems ironic to me now, when I think back to my youth, that I never saw myself pursuing a career in the culinary arts. I was a sucker for many different foods as a child, and in addition to my interest in eating I also was fascinated by the science of food preparation. When cookies went into the oven my eyes stayed fixed on them from the moment the baking sheet went in, until the moment it was pulled from the oven. And whenever we went to my grandmother’s house for dinner, it did not take long for me to discover that the most exciting action was taking place in the kitchen, and if I couldn’t wait for dinner to be served I knew grandma would offer me some sort of hors d'oeuvres not available to other diners, comprised from the ingredients of the main course that was yet to come.
If there is one dish that reminds me of my early relationship with food more so than any other, without question it is Fish & Chips. The pairing of the battered and fried fish fillet with sliced and fried potato seems so perfect that it must have been ordained by a higher power. Now I’m not going to delve into the whole Cod vs. Halibut debate, which can become so contentious that it has the potential to pit one family member against another, and I am certainly not going to argue the health implications and the environmental impact of the fish & chip, but getting back to my original point, there is no other food which causes memories of my youth to come rushing back to me, than fish & chips.
Yesterday we had the great fortune to visit an establishment that was recently voted Best Fish & Chips by the town’s local newspaper.
John’s Fish Market and Sandy’s Fish & Chips, is a local family-run fish market on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. In addition to selling a wide variety of fresh caught fish, they also cook up some of the finest fish & chips New England has to offer. Between Tara, Dan, Ali and myself we made short work of their basket in a matter of minutes. Despite the greasy/stinky fingers we all obtained as a result of our dining, I think it’s safe to say we’ll make it back to John and Sandy’s before we head home. In addition to wanting to taste their food again, I simply get excited seeing this family in action behind the counter. Watching them talk to the locals, sending orders down the line, and quickly cooking up such amazing fare, I get excited thinking about my own future in the food industry. Looking back on my youth now, I feel as though it was meant to be.

5 comments:

Metolius Mark * Computer God said...

Help me, Evan, 'cause I don't remember a lot of fish 'n chips in th family past. Just one note, please...where did those memories come from for you?

By the way...Halibut...hands down! And I want Tartar sauce AND Malt Vinegar on mine...how about you?

Metolius Mark * Computer God said...

And is that Styrafoam I see? Tsk, Tsk.

Tim said...

I guess you better just enjoy your fish and chips while there are still fish, assuming the dire predictions of our oceans being fished out 50 years from now are true.

Malt vinegar, tartar sauce and lemon for me.

Evan said...

Burgerville in Vancouver, WA. I can remember getting fish 'n chips there after puppeteering classes at Tears of Joy Children's Theatre. Also, there was a spot in a strip mall out by the Cohen's old house on the outskirts of Hillsboro.

Ali & Evan said...

I second Tim! Malt vinegar, tartar, lemon, and extra tartar...