So I started the Business English class this week. It’s going OK; I found some good textbooks from which I can use photocopies. We’re in the meeting room of a company on the 10th floor, with a beautiful viw over the Chengdu Amusement Park, the Telecom Tower, and the flashing lights of the night-time city.
Yesterday I had an out-of-body experience. The dog and I went for a walk, and the minute we were outside I smelled food cooking. I swear that I smelled Polish sausage simmered with sauerkraut, and served with boiled potatoes with great quantities of hot Dijon mustard. Was I hallucinating? Smells often trigger memories for me – diesel exhaust fumes from trucks always take me back mentally to Marseille, France. Certain musty smells bring back a storeroom on the second floor of my grandparents’ farmhouse, where many family secrets were contained in boxes and trunks.
The food thing, though, threw me for a loop (how would I explain that idiom to English learners?). I seldom have cravings for “foreign” things – Maybe the occasional roasted Zankou chicken from L.A., or the spicy mint leaf chicken from Torung Thai restaurant on Hollywood Blvd. The Polish sausage fantasy, though, took me back to a time further back, in St. Joseph MO, when my life was rather dismal and I needed vast quantities of comfort food. Oh, the cooking I did! Polish sausage (mentioned above) baked with sauerkraut, bacon, onions, and dry vermouth, served with potatoes and hot mustard. Pots of white beans cooked with ham hocks, more pots of boiled potatoes with garlic, pepper, parsley, and a ton of melted cheese. And my favorite comfort food, a pair of super-size flour tortillas slathered with canned refried beans, and topped with chopped onion and garlic, Pace X-tra hot picante sauce, and mozzarella cheese, then baked until the tortilla edges got crispy and brown.
Needless to say, I don’t eat this way any more. Goodness knows how I burned off all those calories back then.
Speaking of places out of time, here are some recently-doctored photos from the vicinity of Hollywood and Western in Los Angeles. It’s not nostalgia, more like, well, selections from the memory files.