In a Seinfeld episode entitled “The Doodle,” Kramer described the taste and sensation of biting into a Mackinaw peach in the following way, “It’s like having a circus in my mouth.”
I think we’ve all experienced this. If it was a food we were acquainted with, then we had the anticipation of that first taste that was forthcoming. If it was a food we hadn’t experienced before, then the element of surprise was the essence. In either case, if the sensation was “over the top,” then we probably have experienced something like Kramer was talking about.
There really is nothing like that first taste of an exciting dish. It can be absolutely staggering. The second taste is the confirmation taste in that, yes, it really is that good. Beyond that point the powerful sensation of that first taste becomes fleeting. The rest of the dish may be pleasurable, but the excitement of the first couple of bites is quickly supplanted by familiarity.
This is why, when we take those first two bites, we need to be “in the moment.” We need total concentration on the experience so we can distinguish the elements that make it great and to register the nuances that make it unique. To truly capture the moment we also need to commit to memory all of the details of the dish, the ambience of the environment, our dinner companions, and our appreciation to those responsible. If we don’t do this completely, then, in a sense, we’ve missed it.
When it comes to being in the moment, perhaps the jazz novelist and critic, Albert Murray, said it best when he wrote the following:
“I think it’s terribly important that jazz is primarily dance music; so you move when you hear it, and it always moves in the direction of elegance, which is the most civilized thing that a human being can do. It is the ultimate extension, elaboration, and refinement of effort – this elegance where just doing it gives pleasure of itself.
That’s equivalent to what Ernest Hemingway calls “the sweat on a wine bottle.” If you don’t enjoy how those beads of sweat look, you know, when you pour the wine out, and you taste it, and how your partner looks, and how the sunlight comes through, then you’ve missed it.”