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A Simple Mind

Let me share what was, to me, a CH moment.

So, I'm at my favorite St. Louis seafood shop (Bob's Seafood) and I pick up some big (13-15) pre-cooked P&D shrimp. I look through my fridge and pantry, check out threads here on CH and do searches at FN and Epi, and have some good ideas.

I'm tired, so I just get the shrimp out - and eat half of them. No sauce, no marinade, no accompanying anything. They didn't need it - not that I have *any*objections to any of that. (Heck, I used to be a chef...) I closed my eyes and just ate, taking little bites and savoring the flavor. I didn't even get a plate -- just a bowl for the bits of tail shell...

I'm sure many of you have similar stories. Care to share?

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  1. Good food prepared simply! When I started to get into gourmet cooking I gravitated towards challenging recipes with a high difficulty level. While I still sometimes like to make something difficult, over the years I've grown to like better ingredients, with simpler preparations. For me, nothing beats a great homegrown heirloom tomato sliced, drizzled with good olive oil and bit of fresh basil, salt and pepper.

    1. A ripe avocado, a spoon, and maybe a touch of bleu cheese dressing (not required though!) Heaven in a peel!

      12 Replies
      1. re: danhole

        Years ago I worked in a medical office. We had a patient who owned a seafood business on the eastern shore. Every time he came in he'd bring us each a pound of lump crab. My favorite way to eat it was right out of the container. I'd get a fork and dig in, and usually I came close to finishing the entire pound. Sometimes I'd pile the crab meat on top of a Ritz cracker that I had put some sweet n' sour mustard on - yummy!!

        1. re: danhole

          In many places in Mexico, you buy corn tortillas fresh from the tortilleria in a stack, wrapped in paper. They are warm, soft and smell delicious. Usually half of them are gone by the time you get home, eaten bit by torn off bit - no butter, salsa or anything - as you walk home.

          1. re: ekammin

            Ooo... sounds great...

            In 1972 I was on a kibbutz. I worked in the dining room for a while and they'd bring in warm pita fresh from a bakery; a much thicker kind than the style usually found here.

            Man oh Maneshevitz,,,

          2. re: danhole

            Wholeheartedly agree with all of the above! Good shrimp don't need anything.

            And I hear ya about the tomato, even though it's been forEVER since I've had a really good one. The best one I ever had (and largest, it was a *meal*) I bought one summer in the 80s at the market in Dubrovnik. I had it on the ferry to some island, so: no olive oil, basil, or salt. Just the tomato. I'll never forget :-P

            Avocado, danhole -- I eat it with some lemon juice, s&p, straight outta the peel.

            1. re: linguafood

              linguafood - when my grandson lived with us and I ate the avocado straight out of the peel, he would wrestle me for it. The 2 of us could go through an avocado in no time flat. Sadly, now that he has a new daddy and doesn't live here anymore, he won't touch them. His daddy says they are "martian poop" and that sounds pretty disgusting to a 5 yr. old. But last time he was here for dinner, I offered it, he refused, and I told him that eventually he WOULD like them again. He said "okay."

              1. re: linguafood

                The best tomato is one picked on a warm day, brushed off on your shirt, and eaten directly. The warmth of the sun on a good tomato is, indeed, magic. I had some great heirloom tomatoes, which I saved seeds from, and am already longing to plant them and see how they turn out.

                I always say about tomatoes, "there's nothing worse than a bad tomato, and nothing better than a good one".

                1. re: scuzzo

                  I like to rinse and eat the first tomato while it's still on the vine.

                  1. re: scuzzo

                    when my father had the tomatoes in the garden, i used to bring the salt shaker out to the yard and eat the tomatoes right there. nothing compares...

                2. re: danhole

                  There was a time when I wouldn't eat a ripe avocado without a crushed toasted sesame seed/sea salt mix sprinkled on each bite. There is a proper name for this sesame seed /salt preparation, but it escapes me momentarily.

                  1. re: chilipalmer

                    Hadn't heard of this, but sounds great...

                      1. re: chilipalmer

                        Interesting - when I lived in Montreal, I spread ripe avocado on toasted sesame bagels, then sprinkled with salt. So good!

                    1. Chop a zuchinni and fry it in olive oil with onion and some kind of seasoning. It's a meal.

                      1. I think many Japanese cooks are happy with hot rice plus cold Japanese or Chinese pickles, kim chee, or ume (salted "plums") as a meal.

                        1. Happens when I get a crab steamed at the pier and have big plans for it at home. It rarely gets past the stage of me standing at the kitchen island and picking away at it. I may wash my hands and grab some spiced up mayo of the the fridge, but usually just me and the dog and the sweet crab.

                          As a kid when we would go to pick up fresh bread from the bakery there was always half of one loaf missing by the time we arrived home. We blamed it on the white mouse in our car (us kids were blond so I think that was the derivation)

                          1. For me it's got to be a sensory as well as a gastronomic pleasure. Warm, freshly made pudding is one of those foods. It barely gets cool enough to handle and my index finger is swirling around to obtain creamy scoops. No spoons allowed

                            1. Once in a great while a tomato with a bit of sprinkled salt will send me over the edge. Hard to find non-mealy tomatoes this time of year.....

                              1. Oyster and sea urchin. No condiment or fancy sauce needed. Not even salt and pepper. I just like them straight up, and I am in heaven.

                                As for shrimp, I love maine sweet shrimp or amaebi raw without condiments. Sweet.

                                Peaches, Figs, and a lot of the fruits. I almost think that it is a waste to use them for desserts. They are soooo sweet and juicy when in prime season. Every bite is a treat!

                                1. Growing up, we had five apricot trees (among other fruits) in our back yard, but one of them was much larger than the others and produced the sweetest apricots in the history of the whole wide world! Every year, it would be a contest between me and the birds to see who could get the first apricot of the season at its peak of perfection.

                                  Those apricots have kept me eating other apricots for lo, these many years, but I have yet to find their match. The quest goes on!

                                  1. When I was a kid growing up in SC, we frequently rented a beach cottage for a week in the summer. My mother loved to crab (catch them that is). We would spend a half day catching a bushel or so of blue crabs, and the afternoon cooking & eating them. Like peanuts - shell 'em & eat 'em. No sauce - nothing. Just pure, fresh crab. Pure bliss.

                                    1. When my mom was a kid, every Sunday they'd head from San Jose to Santa Cruz over the old San Jose Road and wound their way through Santa Cruz north up the coast to the Scaroni Ranch. There, they'd spend the day on the beach, playing and swimming (yes! in those monster breakers). At the north end of the beach is a rock formation called Table Rock. Mom's Uncle Steve used to fish from it, and the kids would gather mussels from it when the tide was low enough. They'd find an old tin can, or cadge one from Katie Scaroni, and build a little driftwood fire, fill the can with seawater and boil the mussels. That, as Mr Brown says, is "Good Eats".

                                      1. I get to experience one of my favorite CH moments on a regular basis - just being in the kitchen when onions and garlic hit a hot saute pan. The comforting sizzle and heavenly smell let me know that whatever I am making that night is going to be delicious.

                                        1. When I was much younger I stayed with a Ukrainan guy and his mother. She used to have these yellow and red sweet banana peppers in the fridge and have fresh, flaky crust bread delivered daily. A couple of those bannana peppers between slices of that succulent, soft white bread.................. My mouth is watering.!

                                          1. in the summer it's sliced jersey tomatoes on white bread w/salt (preferably while sitting in my beach chair, feet in the surf)

                                            the rest of the year it's torn pieces of french or italian bread w/sweet cream butter

                                            my husband cannot understand why I consider the bread & butter such an extravagance - I continue to warn him that one day he'll be counting calories, too

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: chef4hire

                                              Charles Dickens wrote about bread and butter as a meal. I believe it was in "Oliver Twist".