Hey… remember when I used to post food memories? Here’s another one! And it doesn’t involve my father in any way, shape, or form.
While I’ve always enjoyed food and explored it with my family, obviously, if my family didn’t explore it together, I didn’t experience it until I was a little older – teens (raw fish sushi, Thai) or even beyond (certain European cuisines, Michelin stars, etc.).
To that end, when I was about 19, a boy asked me on a first date. Sadly, I don’t remember his name, or any details about him, really. When he asked if I’d ever had Thai food, and I responded in the negative, he got excited and said he was going to introduce me to Thai food, with my caveat that I don’t eat particularly spicy food. Excitement is infectious. I was excited to explore a new cuisine. He was excited to share it with me. Great!
This boy took me to a Thai restaurant in Queens – I vaguely recall that it was along Queens Boulevard where the 7 train runs along it, though he drove – and proceeded to order for me. (While I am very particular and have my preferences, it’s no secret that I actually find a guy ordering for me extremely sexy – if he gets it right.) If I had to guess what we ate, we probably had satay, pad thai, maybe a papaya salad, a rice dish. There was a lot of food on the table that was fairly new to me, and I enjoyed it.
When it came time for dessert, I was quite full – having always preferred savory items to sweet – but he insisted that we get dessert. I got the impression that he frequented this restaurant quite a bit; he didn’t even look at the menu, just ordered something and said that I would definitely like it, and I had to try even if just a bite.
I agreed, because he seemed so excited and what harm could a bite of dessert do? Really. When it arrived, I asked him what was in it. It looked like slices of banana floating in milk. He said “just try it!” like he was afraid I wouldn’t, after he told me what was in it.
Now, readers who are very familiar with Thai cuisine already know what was in the bowl. And readers who are very familiar with me and my specifics already know what happened next.
For those that don’t, however…
I took a bite. It tasted like sliced bananas in a fragrant milk. I wondered why it smelled vaguely familiar, and tasted a bit… strange… wait…
Ah, there it was.
I lisped, “Ith thith coconut milk?” as my tongue swelled up double size.
This boy smiled at me and said happily, “Yes!”
“I’m allergic to coconut.”
His face fell.
“Pleath take me to the hothpital.”
This is where things got really ugly. Yes, uglier than my already round face starting to swell, my mouth slightly open to ease how big my tongue felt in there.
His face turned angry.
“No! You’re not allergic to coconut! You’re lying! You’re making this up because you don’t want to go on another date with me!”
I was speechless – not least of all because of my tongue – but just flabbergasted that I was being accused of lying, when I was having a visible reaction to the coconut. We had been having a perfectly satisfactory time up until then – I mean, I don’t remember the details, but it wasn’t horribly awkward as some first dates are, and I know that had this not happened, I probably would have gone on a second date with him. His accusations were rather bizarre, given that context.
After a bit of heated arguing and back and forth, he agreed to take me home immediately. The car ride back was extremely quiet, and though I’m sure I thanked him for dinner, I had nothing else to say to him.
I never spoke to him again. I am pretty sure my aversion to spicy food actually saved my life that night – perhaps I shouldn’t be so melodramatic, as my coconut allergy is not deathly, but still!
Thankfully, I’m still able to enjoy Thai food to this day – and simply don’t eat the curries nor the coconut desserts.
However, this goes down in history as easily the worst date I’ve ever been on – but the other stories are for a different kind of site.
Do you remember the first time you had Thai food?