You ever have one of those moments when you’re all alone — driving in your car, perhaps — and your mind is buzzing around in an aimless way and you suddenly remember something really stupid that you once did and you make a face and an embarrassed noise even though there’s no one there.
Had one of those today. I was thinking about some of the dumber things I’ve written in my career.
There was the time up in Seattle when I was covering a food fair and encountered seared ‘ahi for the first time. I had been eating ‘ahi sashimi and ‘ahi poke all my life and my first reaction was, “Ho! These dumb Mainlanders! They’re so afraid of eating raw fish, they go try half-cook ’em to make ’em safe.” I wrote a commentary that said, basically, either cook it or eat it raw, no scared. Well my editor was a great fan of seared ‘ahi which was just then bursting onto the contemporary food scene as The Next Big Thing and he decided then and there that I was a blithering idiot and never changed his mind. I mean, you can see where I was coming from given my food background but, boy! was I off the mark! (This was, by the way, before Sam Choy invented seared ‘ahi poke and blew everyone’s mind.)
Then there was the time I was sent one of the first energy bars to hit the market; it was a brand new category then. I tasted it (can’t remember the brand for some reason, but it’s still around). I just didn’t get it. What is this thing supposed to be? It’s not a candy bar. It’s not a cracker. It’s not a bowl of cereal. It’s weird and it’s expensive. These things will never catch on, I thought. I didn’t write about it because I thought it was so silly. I now pretty much live on Kashi Tasty Little Chewies. Guess I was born without the crystal ball gene.
And here’s one that I ought to be too embarrassed to tell. When I moved home in 1989, one of the first places I was eager to try was Roy’s Restaurant, which was new and white hot then. A friend from Seattle, a restaurant consultant who had worked with some of the most successful chains up there, was in town joined me for dinner. We loved the food and enjoyed watching the chefs careening around the open plan kitchen. But we agreed the place would never last: There were just too many chefs, too much staff for the size of the room, they couldn’t possibly make a financial go of it after the initial blush wore off. Roy, if you’re out there and by some dreadful chance read this, I’m hanging my head right now.
I could go on but I think I’ve had enough guilt and shame for the moment.