Tastes change throughout our lives based on many factors, memories, impressions, and so on. In my twenties, I ate lots of pork and beef, and as I got older, the quantities stayed big until recently. Along the way, I lost interest in meat.
My freezer has a couple of steaks in it from about six months ago.
Pork here comes in the form of a sausage pizza about once a month, bacon when it snows, and about a 1/2 pound of cured meats from Batali’s father’s salumeria in Seattle per month during the cold months.
Lamb is about two meals a year with the good Icelandic product available only in October.
And portions are smaller and smaller. It’s one reason, among many, that I stopped eating in all but two Boston restaurant: Pabu and Night Market. These two places offer small plates with many vegetable choices. At Pabu, some fish is flown in from Japan.
It just doesn’t taste good, all that meat, and the portions kept small means there is a chance of coaxing deep flavors. And it’s possible, too, to concentrate on what I’m eating. Each bite has what’s needed, I don’t need a lot of bites of the same thing.
I’ll stick to pasta, fish, vegetables, and poultry.
I mean, seriously? Who am I to ask? What I know? Where do I go?
But then again maybe my personal ways are part of a broader trend, maybe others are kind of doing things similarly.
I’m getting all my fruits and vegetables from Tropical Foods in Roxbury and H+H in Cambridge and Shaw’s supermarkets around town. Tropical is just about the best fruits and vegetables store in the city, and the vibe is so pleasant. H+H has a number of products as good as what you find in Japan.
I’m going to EATALY, which opened in late November, weekly. The pasta section is a great deal. For $12, I get enough pasta for three dinners for two or three adults. Their fish section, manned by Vinny, has stellar fish and shellfish and if you buy thoughtfully, it’s doable. The vegetable section sports baby this and baby that and it’s all crazy fresh. Wonderful breads, better than any bakery in the city. Then, too, cheeses and cured meats! The whole experience is like being in Italy.
Where I’ve stopped going is Whole Foods and the best known food stores in town: Overpriced, products that are so-so. Time for a change.
It was the fluffiest bed I’ve ever slept in, pillows plump and eiderdown feathery, air temperature ideal, not too cold and not too hot, the carpet thick beneath my bare feet.
The maid brings in a small, round gold tray, starts to bow, and then decides to curtsy. I wonder: Was that calculated? Did she plan to bow and then curtsy? Or was she improvising?
I know enough not to ask.
There’s a tall glass of watermelon juice, sweeter than honey, and a solid gold cover that, when she lifts it, reveals a porcelain dish of poached eggs and crispy bacon. Baked beans on the side, a basket of rye toast.
A pot of delicious, hot coffee.
Being a guest of The Leader is a boon.
Well, that was a good one, wasn’t it? 2016, The Fun House in which you couldn’t find the exit.
We left the year with plate after plate of small bites: Castelfranco radicchio with red walnuts and Stone House olive oil and balsamic. Baerii caviar from Russ & Daughters with crackers and one scrambled egg. Black truffle agnolotti from EATALY and chives; a small Florida grouper filet with tiny, purple Brussels sprouts; and, linguine with a white Alba truffle (Urbani). 2000 Ormes du Pez, Roederer.
I mean, let’s kiss 2016 goodbye. Bye! Bye, bye!
Mind you, just to be clear, at this time next year?
We’ll be looking back at 2016 with longing and nostalgia. 2017 is going to be a truly unbelievable.