The Power of Food

Dylana - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on October 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in food. Five years ago, I visited China. When I returned there this summer, so many things were changed. Everything from the streets to the buildings to the park to the pools were different. Everything, except the food. The delicious taste, smell, and texture of China’s cuisine was exactly as I remembered.

Food has the power to bring back wonderful memories of the past. When I went to a restaurant in China last summer, my eyes widened with nostalgia as I saw the waiters bring over a bucket pot of hot oil wrapped in aluminum foil and a plate of raw red meat. For a few moments I reminisced of the exact same experience that occurred five summers ago. My parents and their friends ordered a bucket of oil and meat. I watched with curiosity as the waiter carefully dropped the raw meat into the bucket of boiling, hot, and sputtering oil. The meat immediately sizzled, rose to the top, cooked, and turned brown. I took my chopsticks and put the foreign meat into my mouth for the first time. Immediately, I became addicted. I would never have thought that five summers later, I would be enjoying the same meat at the same restaurant again.

Food has become my medium to paradise. It allows me to escape the troubles of the world and hide in my own secret haven for a while. I flee from the stress and pressure of life and homework every day after school and dive strait into my imaginary fantasy. I go to the rice cooker and scoop out bowl full of steamy rice. As I eat the hot steamy rice from the rice cooker, the stress that has built up throughout the school day disintegrates. The wonderful sweetness of the plump fresh rice travels down my throat and spreads warmth throughout my body. I am engulfed in my own dream where all troubles are good and all worry is lost.

I savor everything that I eat now. I chew slowly and try to extract the full flavor from my food. I have learned to not question my food before I eat it. It is more fun for me to not know what I am eating. It is more fun if my food surprises me. When I was six years old, my mother brought out this plate of jiggly brown meat with criss-crosses across the surface. Assuming it was a mushroom, I tried it. The strange taste puzzled me for a moment, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Several years later, certain the dish was not made of mushroom, I asked my mom what it was. She said liver. Surprised and appalled, I asked her why she did not tell me before I ate it. She replied, “Well you assumed it was a mushroom, so I let you think that. Otherwise, you would never have even tried it.”