Everyone has their personal to-do checklist for when they go home. Usually assembled in order of importance, with seeing friends and family right below hugging our dog and just above returning that overdue library book we accidentally took to school with us, the list rarely wavers in its content. At the very top of the list, above all other possible hometown happenings, lies the most important task of all. To eat. That’s right, we at the Clog are here to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Food comes first.
For some of us it’s a sandwich, for others it’s ice cream. While the food itself may vary, the meaning behind it remains the same. You aren’t really home until you’ve had that one special dish that you can’t get anywhere else. Whatever your delicacy may be, you know that it’s something that you can get only one place in this whole world. At home. Be it home-cooked or restaurant-bought, it’s the first taste of your favorite tacos that lets you know that you’re back in your safe space. There’s something so satisfying about sinking your teeth into those crispy chicken tacos that only the local joint can get just right. As the familiar feeling of oil drips down to your elbow, you revel in the mess you’ve made and in knowing that you’re finally where you will always belong.
Sure you can get tacos in Berkeley, and there are a couple of decent burger joints around town, but they aren’t the same. This food from home has a special place in your heart. It’s the food you grew up on and the restaurants that have become part of your life. That ice cream spot that we love is more than just a dessert. It’s how we celebrated our first youth soccer win with teammates and how we consoled the first heartbreak of our best friend. The little sandwich shop on the corner is the highlight of our senior year of high school. It’s where we know the staff by name and used to load up on lunch for those sunny afternoons we spent ditching classes to lounge on the beach. This food is more than just food, it’s a part of who we are and the place we’ve come from.
Similarly, our dad’s soup that we’ve eaten since kindergarten fills both our bellies and our hearts. We’ve seen him make it more times than we could possibly count. One would think that because it’s been in our kitchen for as long as we can remember, we’d be able to cook it ourselves. But, alas, we’ve never been able to pull off such a feat. He’s explained the recipe at least a dozen times, yet somehow only our dad can get the recipe just right. We can follow his handwritten instructions and notes to a T, but it’s just not the same. So yes, the food from home comes above all. But it’s safe to say that it only tastes so good because of the family and friends we get to share it with.
Contact Amanda Chung at [email protected].