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the sweet taste of memories

(post, Maggie Restivo)

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Today I realized just how fortunate I am to have performed with a Drum and Bugle Corps. After three summers of traveling and performing around the continental United States I have lots of memories to look back on and enjoy. I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised that my most fond memories involve what I ate along the way. Most of the time we were fed in mass quantities. I mean we had a cook crew of about 4 to prepare three meals a day for 175 people in a mobile kitchen. On top of that it all had to be filling and nutritious because we were rehearsing upwards of 8 hours a day, outside, in a different town at least every other day. By the end of the summer all the meals seamed a little repetitive. I mean there is only so much you can do to feed 175 people on a drum corps budget. So as the summer went on the search for great food on free days became the focus. We didn't know it then, but we were gastronomic blood hounds constantly searching for an aroma or flavor. Sometimes we were hunting for the flavors of home. Mostly, we were looking for anything that wasn't a chicken patty. 

The more I think about the places I have eaten during that time, the more I want to revisit them. I'm curious to know if the food is really as good as I remember it, or if I was just super excited about a meal that didn't come off of the cook truck. I have made a list of all of the places I can remember:

The Ham Fam Diner- Allentown, PA
The Old Fashioned- Madison, WI
Mike Anderson's Seafood Cafe- New Orleans, LA
Lou Malnati's- Chicago, IL
Carmine's- New York, NY
the 4th of July celebration in Ceaderburg, WI
Some bar I cannot remember the name of- Ceaderburg, WI

Also we spent a few days in Denver, CO but I cannot remember anywhere specific, the same is true for San Antonio, TX. I am sure that the list will grow as this simmers in my mind.

My favorite place to remember is The Old Fashioned in downtown Madison Wisconsin. (que the wavy lines, here comes a flashback!...) It was early August and Drum Corps International finals were in Madison. It is a beautiful city especially, that time of year. It was sunny but not hot, breezy but not chilly and the streets are lined with painted cows. My corps did not make semifinals that year so we had two whole days of nothing to do but exploring the city and watching other drum corps. We were dropped off in front of the capitol building in downtown Madison. It was early afternoon and we were left to our own devices. I don't remember exactly what happened next. I know it involved a lot of walking around Madison and ending up back at the capitol building. Everyone in my small exploration party was hungry. Like a beacon of light shining across the street, there was The Old Fashioned. We darted across the street, planted ourselves at a round table and began drooling over our menus. I ordered the house burger and could have died happy after licking my plate clean. After our hunger pangs were no more, we filed out of the restaurant and back across the street. Then, with our bellies full and our eye lids heavy we stretched out underneath the shade of the trees and took a nap on the lawn of the capitol building.