A sense of the exotic: how to recreate holiday dishes at home
‘My other half and I have such beautiful meals when we’re away on holiday, but we can never make it taste as good once we return home. What can you suggest?’ – Sarah, Wandsworth
It’s pretty tough for a microwave lasagna to live up to an al fresco feast in the wonderful surrounds of Sardinia, but I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve.
The American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou once said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. The same can be said for that perfect holiday meal.
The food itself might actually be quite forgettable, but the feeling you had from the overall experience is what triggers the misty-eyed nostalgia. So let’s pretend we’re not serious adults for one evening and play a bit of make-believe.
What were you wearing that night? Were you wearing aftersun with a particular fragrance? What wine were you drinking? What music was playing? What did the plates look like?
By re-creating as many of these sensory cues as possible, and switching away from your usual routine (no more eating from the packet!), you’ll fire up those same holiday neurons again and completely change the context (and perceived flavour) of your dinner.
And the last trick in my repertoire? Food always tastes better when someone else cooks it, so cut out this week’s recipe, leave it (not so subtly) where your other half will see it, and go put
your feet up…
PATRICK TAKES YOU BACK
Smell is the strongest memory trigger, so try to recreate holiday fragrances at home
CUE THE MUSIC
When you’re on holiday, use Shazam to identify and save the music you loved in the restaurant
Ask waiters for the recipe and buy speciality ingredients locally to take home