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May 14, 2008 10:31 AM

My 10yr old's "Aha!" moment: rootbeer floats

Somehow, my son heard about rootbeer floats and asked me if we could go get one. I told him it's more fun to make them so we bought some Virgil's root beer and french vanilla ice cream and had fun layering the root beer/ice cream until the foamy top started spilling over the glass. Dear son had a blast trying to slurp up the foam before it spilled over and we stuck in straws, got long spoons and dug in.

He almost swooned off his chair. I got such pleasure watching his "discover"y of this treat.

Do you remember one of these "aha!" or discovery moments? One of mine was a hot, cucumber dill soup from a Polish restaurant in Detroit. I can still remember what that first spoonful tasted like. I've tired to duplicate the recipe but have never captured the combination of cream, dill, and pickle-juice.

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  1. This was an Aha moment about both fish, and food in general:
    I grew up a block away from the beach in Massachusetts, but somehow my parents' idea of fish was those breaded square things in the freezer case. Which I didn't like, but ate, on Fridays. And tunafish sandwiches. Which I hated, and threw away when they appeared in my lunchbox. I really had no idea that "fish" was, well, FISH.
    Until the day that our across-the-street neighbor went deep-sea fishing and caught a swordfish and brought us over a big piece. My mother (must have been divine intervention) broiled it with butter and lemon, and I will never forget the first taste I had of it. Tender-firm, sweet and slightly salty-- I realized I had never really eaten fish. Had never really thought about what I WAS eating.
    This was the first of many, many discoveries of foods I had thought I didn't like, but only realized through growing up that I had never really even HAD. Asparagus, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, pork... the list goes on and on. I became an extremely adventurous eater because I truly felt, "You never know!" even about foods I thought I'd been exposed to.

    1. I had an Aha moment years ago while dating my husband. We were at an italian restaurant and he ordered some bottle of white wine. I don't remember what. What I do remember was he had me take a bite of my food, chew it a little, add a slug of the wine and continue finishing the bite. I got it!! The right wine with the right food! Aha!!!

      1. Might not be the same kind of 'ah-ha' but during my freshman year in Boston, some friends took us to Chinatown. The place we went had to be one of the fanciest Chinese food restaurants I'd ever seen. I was astounded, as where I'm from my only previous experiences were Chinese food restaurants in the run-down scary part of town. Anyway, after everyone had ordered their meals, one gal piped up and ordered a SCORPION BOWL. It's a huge drink with foot-long straws and a volcano-shaped indentation in the middle containing rum set on FIRE! HOLY COW! I'd never seen anything like that. Needless to say, we stumbled home that night, and I'll never forget it.

        4 Replies
        1. re: maddogg280

          LOL. That restaurant wouldn't be the Kong in Harvard Sq., would it, maddogg?

          1. re: rockycat

            I don't think it was in Cambridge, I thought it was in downtown somewhere. Given how few times I went to Chinatown area of Boston, and each time I had a SCORPION BOWL, I'm not surprised that I cannot remember where it was. I wonder if there are any Chinese restos in Baltimore (where I live now) that have those fabulous concoctions?

          2. re: maddogg280

            Hee hee-- those "communal" drinks always seem to get everyone plowed; maybe because they get sucked down quickly as everyone wants to get their "share".

            On a related note, the (not very good) Chinese restaurant my family went to when I was a kid had placemats that featured little drawings of the fancy cocktails you could order-- the fog cutter, the mai tai, the sailors' grog... I always wanted to get the head hunter, which came, according to the picture, in a cup shaped like a shrunken head. This was way before I could or did drink, and I haven't really thought about it since!

            1. re: maddogg280

              Ah, the Scorpion Bowl. Motto: don't worry, the ethanol will sanitize the backwash. When I was a freshman in the Boston area, Chinatown was (or at least was immediately adjacent to) the run-down scary part of town (the Combat Zone, may it rest in peace).

              The Kong was a safer place to overindulge. Or to get an order or six of steamed dumplings to go after having done so. Memories...

            2. That description just took me back to my childhood, when my dad would sometimes make Coke Floats for us as a treat. They were the best. He didn't often cook for us, so when he did, it was extra special. I was convinced his pancakes were even fluffier than my mom's, for example. Thanks...............

              1. I would say shrimp and lobster were my big "A-has." My Jewish family didn't keep kosher but shellfish was too alien to our experience to ever even consider it as a food option. When I was in college I went on a date with some guy who couldn't believe I had been deprived. I can't even remember where we went (somewhere near Rutgers U. in any case), but we had shrimp scampi and lobster tail. I doubt it was even very good shrimp or lobster, but I've been swooning for both of them ever since. The guy? Can't even remember his name, bless his heart!