Ambrosia: (n) something very pleasing to taste or smell: e.g. the tea was ambrosia.
It was about 750 square feet from kitchen to front door and located directly across from the State Capitol in Columbus, Ohio.
It was a Chinese restaurant–the first of its kind in our area, and I was quite uncertain whether to go in and eat, because being raised provincially, I had some sensation that it might be un-American.
But it smelled good and I was a teenager–adventurous and rebellious to the notion that I should forbid my taste buds an opportunity, based upon politics.
I didn’t know what to order, so the dear young girl who waited on me suggested sweet and sour pork. I didn’t ask her to explain what it was, because I didn’t want to come across as if this was the first Chinese restaurant I had ever been in–but when it arrived it was beautiful: fried, golden-brown chunks of juicy pork, covered with a red sauce that was sticky like cake, sweet like candy and just a little bit sour, like lemon. On the side was fried rice, which still contained some of the grease left over from the pork tanned over the flames.
I put a bite in my mouth and I was transported to every religious expression of heaven known to the human thinking.
It was delicious: sweet, sour, some salty from the fried rice, juicy fat from the pork.
There is not and never will be any flavor to surpass it.
I have eaten other foods which I enjoy immensely and which do flirt with competing and jockey for position, but sweet and sour pork at that little store-front across from the Capitol in Columbus, Ohio, is still the ambrosia to my palate.
Of course, over the years I have learned that it’s also an overnight delivery system for death. There isn’t anything in it that’s good for you and everything is a greasy slide to Valhalla (I used the Viking heaven in respect to the pork).
So the truth of the matter is, when we actually find our ambrosia, we must be willing, as mature and healthy adults, to walk away from it and pretend that other foods which are not nearly as lethal are actually as flavorful.
Even though I’m convinced that neither Meryl Streep nor Tom Hanks could pull off such a performance, I will learn my lines and deliver them on cue in the great play … acting the part of a more balanced eater.