Saturday, August 13, 2011

Food in Context

GruntDoc relates a sad story about how he loved In-N-Out Burger, cherishing it as a crucial part of every vacation trip to southern California, and thus eagerly awaited the opening of a franchise in his hometown, only to find that it just wasn't the same.

It seems that In-N-Out Burger was only that special, wonderful, perfect burger experience when it was enjoyed in the larger context of a vacation in a specific place.

I wonder if that's what happened to Krispy Kreme when it opened here in Massachusetts? Because people rave about Krispy Kreme, there were excited news stories when it came to a few locations in the Boston area, crowds gathered to enjoy the first heavenly donuts...and then a few years later it closed.

First of all, you're fighting a hard battle here against Dunkin Donuts, which owns large amounts of pastry-and-coffee-related real estate and brand loyalty in this area, but also, was it that Krispy Kreme in Boston, away from whatever connotations it had for people who loved it back home or on much-anticipated vacations, just wasn't the same?

I dunno. I had never had Krispy Kreme before, and we went once after it opened just to see what the fuss was about, and I found it to be a perfectly fine but not mind-blowing donut, plus the location was not particularly convenient to us, so we never bothered to go back.

I don't care that much about donuts anyway, so I'm probably the wrong person to be speculating. I'm trying to think if there's some other food I enjoy in a specific context that just wouldn't be the same elsewhere, but maybe I don't take enough vacations. I'm going to get right on that.

Holiday meals, I guess, are probably like that for a lot of people. You make specific traditional dishes that you always have at that holiday meal, but that you don't really make, and might not even particularly enjoy, at other times.

Context is important.


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