Saturday I tasted a sandwich that puzzled me. It was the best one I’d ever eaten and yet I couldn’t detect anything particularly special about it.
My fingers tugged at cling film as my lips rested on a brown bun. My teeth crumbled cheese as my tongue prodded roast chicken. Everything slid together and yet the spinach crunched. Breathing in, the seasonings intensified as I struggled to identify a mystery ingredient.
Mystery unsolved, I regretted answering “no” when my mom asked, “Do you want an extra sandwich for the cooler?”
Later while we waited for a couple ahead of us to putt, my husband snagged me in a hug. He whispered, “You smell good, like sunscreen.” As we strolled toward the green I answered, “I don’t have any sunscreen on.” And then I stopped. His sunscreen comment had put a piece in place and my puzzlement over the mysteriously good chicken sandwich disappeared.
I didn’t have sunscreen on but it seemed like I did because of my sun-warmed t-shirt, the fresh breezy air and the salty sweat on my skin.
The chicken sandwich wasn’t different from any other but it seemed like it was because the exercise enhanced my hunger, the sunshine enhanced the colors, and the salt in the air (and on my skin) enhanced the flavors.
Both the imagined sunscreen and the seemingly unique sandwich were due to the outdoors and exercise.
Sure enough, when I asked my mom what she’d done differently in making the sandwich, she squinted at me suspiciously, “It was just chicken, cheddar, spinach, mustard and mayo on a bun.”
“Salt? Pepper? Butter? You sure you didn’t add anything else?”
She looked worried, “No, nothing. Why, was there something wrong?”
“Nope. But thanks. It was the best sandwich ever!”
She seemed relieved…and then puzzled: “What made it so good?”
Check out the other posts in the series When Does Food Taste THE BEST?
Oh, and hey, I’m not the only one who thinks food tastes better outside and/or after exercise. Check out these links for info, ideas and inspiration: