Roger Ebert on the Role of Memory in Food
What if you could never eat again, but could remember, bite by bite, slurp by slurp, meals of the past? Roger Ebert writes a beautiful piece in the Chicago Sun-Times about his inability to eat and drink after multiple surgeries. He stopped feeling hungry or thirsty, but instead of focusing on his loss, started remembering vivid eating memories:
Yet I could if I wanted to right now close my eyes and re-experience an entire meal at Steak 'n Shake, bite by bite in proper sequence, because I always ordered the same items and ate them according to the same ritual. It is there for me...Another surprising area for sharp memory is the taste and texture of cheap candy. Not imported chocolates, but Red Hots, Good and Plenty, Milk Duds, Paydays, Chuckles.
Ebert is impressively not bitter or sad about his loss of taste. He's more upset about the loss of dining—the sitting down to share jokes, gossip, laughs, and even arguments. (Unfortunately the surgeries also left him without the ability to speak.) What foods can you "taste" without actually eating them?