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50 Latitudes (USA) Feature

The 50 Latitudes Feature will showcase Latitudes from a resident of each US state in their own words to illustrate that despite age, sex, location, or occupation, every living being on the planet has a favorite Latitude.  A person's favorite Latitude is not restricted to their home state.

Entries in Minnesota (1)

Wednesday
May112011

Minnesota

There is no place on Earth I’d rather be than Minnesota… at least the one week of the year we like to call “summer”.   Right around January, now that’s when I find I am frequently dreaming of my Latitude.   Most of the time my Latitude is anywhere warm, but not always.   Sometimes it’s far away, other times it’s somewhere in my own home.  Sometimes it’s in the isolated outdoors, sometimes it’s the middle of a bustling city.   But there is a common theme to my Latitude – it’s anywhere with fantastic food.

Now I don’t want to sound like a food snob, but I am one.  In my opinion, food is simply one of life’s best pleasures.  Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to be expensive, or rare, or served on a bed of caviar.   I just have an appreciation for memorable food – a dish that for some reason rises above the other 100,000 meals some of us are lucky enough to enjoy in a lifetime.

When I think of that particular morsel that makes me forget everything else in the world for a few seconds, a rush of associated memories comes boiling back.   The sights and sounds of Mexico City can be overwhelming, but a quick recall of a particular plate of chicken mole and juicy carnitas wrapped in a warm tortilla with fresh avocado and tomatillo make me consider surfing over to Orbitz and finding the first flight out. 

Food is after all, the great enhancer – I may vaguely remember the sun coming up in Siem Reap, but the rippling red sphere crossing the forest canopy may as well have happened yesterday as I recall the big bowl of ka tieu I slurped right down to the yellowing china dish.  I’m sure someone has already done a scientific study to show the effect of food on memory retention, but you’ll have to be the one to look it up, because I’ve got short ribs going in the oven.

I waited outside for an hour once in subzero temperatures in Tokyo because I was promised good food in broken English.  The wait was worth it, because despite having no clue to the name or offerings of the small restaurant with a counter for ten people, I sampled sushi that couldn’t have been fresher if I were a shark.  But the thing that amazed me the most is the dedication with which the sushi chef crafts his work, a single piece of food laid out without excessive fanfare or decoration, but instead prepared with the pride of knowing that his customer is about to try the best of something he or she will likely try in their entire lives.

I don’t even have to know what I’m eating – take the little stand in the Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona.  That dish with the white beans and little octopi and some kind of sauce… my Spanish is weak, but I didn’t need to speak the language to know that someone had put seriously deep thought behind those few simple ingredients, the sum of which made up unspeakable flavors.

And finally, I’d be remiss to fail to mention the phenomenal tastes of our own country, a stir-fry of eclectic people and climates that rivals the offerings of any other country on earth.  That salty San Diego beach air makes your sandwich from Board and Brew a little tastier, the northeastern accent served with your street kebab in Boston a little more flavorful, and a house-cured pastrami and egg sandwich across the street from me at Be’Wiched Deli… well that just makes the Minnesota winters a little more bearable.

See Greg Schulte living his Latitude HERE in the Gallery