I was talking with Don yesterday, over breakfast at Hamilton's, about how food keeps some memories very alive. I remember back in 1971 traveling with a girlfriend from Phoenix to Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon and back to Phoenix with me eventually ending up back home in San Diego. Leaving Monument Valley behind us, we made a short stop in Jerome, AZ.
Neither Linda nor I knew anything about Jerome but it didn't take more than an instant to decide to stop and take a look around. Remember this is back in 1971 and at that time Jerome was more ghostly than gilded. Yes, there were the requisite antique shops and art galleries but for the most part there was not much development. You drove in from the north. You parked. Your walked the entire Jerome experience in a matter of a few blocks. And you left heading straight down (literally) the mountain into the Arizona desert. But . . .
. . . before we left we stopped in at a little old fashion soda fountain (and I do mean old fashion) and I had one of the taste experiences of my life. I had my first Peanut butter/Chocolate milkshake. Not only had I never had one, I had never heard of the combination. It was, in a word, SUBLIME. To this day, I remember the flavor and since then, all other PB/C shakes have striven to meet the Jerome standard . . . and failed.
I perused the chamber of commerce link for Jerome and I really can't tell if the little shop is there anymore. I have a vague memory of the appearance of the building and from what I saw, I suspect it has been replaced by another food shop.
Somewhere in my stash of pre-digital photos I have pictures from our visit there. Eventually they'll surface and get scanned. When that happens, I post those memories too.
And speaking of food memories, is it just me or does anyone else remember how GOOD Jack in the Box onion rings used to be? I was living in San Diego (where JITB started) when these delectable treats first hit the scene and they look pretty much like this.
I was 15 years old at the time and I can count that age as the age that I learned that some food things are just plain sacred and should not Never, Never, Never be changed. And of course many years later, sometime in the 80's, they did the unthinkable. They changed the recipe. Now they look like this and they don't even taste the same anymore. In fact, they are pretty much like most every other onion ring - commercial, flat tasting, and with a dusty of that corn meal like stuff. I rarely ever get their onion rings anymore but . . .
. . . to this day, I love, love, love their tacos. Crunchy on the top, soft on the bottom, greasy and flavorful - they are the best.
So JITB, be warned, if you ever change up your taco recipe, we WILL have words!!