This is an essay for my Writing Beyond the Boundaries class. It’s supposed to focus on food and/or drink.
January 2nd, 2017
When a French, American, and Mexican walk into a bar… they will undoubtedly leave drunk and hungry.
And so half past three in the morning we followed our stomachs through all the small winding, cobbled streets of Prague, Christmas lights illuminating our way. Soft snowflakes fell upon us, but it would not deter us. In fact, the confetti like icicles only enhanced the gut wrenching desire, or perhaps that was the alcohol overriding our sense of cold. I followed my companions, and let them lead the way.
What would we finally decide on? Kulajda? Goulash? Trdelník? The possibilities were wide and endless, even at this time at night. Prague seemed to suit my insomniatic nature. I know, I know… insomniatic isn’t a definitive word. But for a moment imagine it means having problems with sleeping due to unimaginable euphoric feelings of happiness.
Lost in my own thoughts of textbook definitions and the meaning of life, quite literally, I accidentally stumbled into the back of Daniel, who stood next to Ethel in front of a bright neon lime green sign, his deep intoxicated voice faltering with excitement, “I’ve found what we’re eating.” Ethel’s slight chuckle in the background made me curious.
I regained my composure and squeezed in between them, my eyes searching for what made them stop so abruptly. A small inaudible “ah” escaped through my dry cracked lips, and an uncontrollable grin spread across my face.
Initially, I found it hilarious. Earlier in the day we had spoken of finding a nice sit down restaurant to enjoy dinner and savor the many flavors of Czech cuisine, so I hesitated on Daniel’s choice.
Someone walked out of the place with a small plastic to go bag, the zesty aroma of fresh guacamole following and overtaking my sense of smell — I found myself enthusiastically leading us inside.
We placed our orders and waited patiently off on the side, or at least I did. “Good food takes love and time,” my mom has always told me.
I thought of her earnestly and fondly in this moment. Somewhere across the world, in her differing time zone; it was dinner.
She would have just gotten off of work. Her hour commute from the hospital to home would be filled with thoughts of what to cook for the evening. She would be indescribably exhausted, but would be too stubborn to abandon the opportunity for a home cooked meal shared with family.
I admired this about my mom, her sense of family. After years of bountiful disagreement and hard arguments, she was still my most loved person. Despite the distance, or perhaps even because of it, our relationship had becoming increasingly vital to my own personal happiness. Time does that, I suppose. It really makes you appreciate people and experiences —
My overly large, aluminum wrapped burrito was thrust into my hands by Ethel, bringing my transatlantic thoughts back to the present moment, back to gothic structured Prague, back to the random small restaurant serving a Mexican dish I missed, back to my friends I was creating this experience with.
I took my first bite, and chewed slowly… thoughtfully. The texture of the tortilla wasn’t as soft as I’m used to, but the chicken had a delightful smoky hint, accentuated by the burst of lime and onions.
It wasn’t at all close to my mom’s cooking, but I enjoyed it anyway, recalling another one of her kitchen wisdoms:
Food, like happiness, is best when shared.