Picnics and Science


It’s one of the mysteries of the culinary world. It’s mentioned in hush breaths at cafes throughout the world and has baffled scientists who have eaten their fried chicken at the park. Even the lowly hot dog takes on a certain glamour at the baseball park. So answer me this: Why is it that food tastes so much better out doors?

Tara and I ate out of doors last night. We purchased some fish and chips (or in my case, clam strips and chips) at Anthony’s Fish Bar on the pier here in Seattle, and walked down to the closest park to enjoy the view of the Elliot Bay. It was there that we indulged in our deep fried foodstuffs. A little malt vinegar, a little tartar sauce, and some Heinz Ketchup and we were in a world of battered goodness.

Upon reflection, it’s not as if these were the “BEST FISH AND CHIPS EVER!!!”. In fact, as we had to walk some ways from the Fish bar to the park, that had cooled down a bit. And although warmed chips are good, they are still not as good as piping hot chips. But we both finished our meals, not wasting one bit of the crispy critters.

My thinking is that it’s the aerated atmosphere. Indoors (according to my Sharper Image Catalog that sells the ‘Air Purifiers’), air can become dull and listless. Without the continuous replacing of fresh air, you eventually find your self sitting in a room full of air that is lifeless.

Out of doors, you find yourself with an unlimited supply of fresh air. With all of the new oxygen around, it helps re-invigorate your taste buds and allows you to enjoy meals that, eaten indoors, normally taste like food from TGIFridays.

This sounds right to me. But I should note that I am not, nor have I ever been keen on science. When Tara mentions some scientific theory that she has been reading about, I normally nod knowingly and blurt out the phrase “Chaos Theory”, in hopes that it proves how wichkledly keen I am on science. Lately however, that tact has been proving less and less effective. And the fact that I use a Sharper Image Catalog to prove a half-baked hypothesis also doesn’t help lend to my credibility as a science enthusiast.

But I do have an idea to put this indoor/outdoor theory to the test. I’m goign to take some crappy food (say, any meal from Denny’s or a Holiday Inn restaurant), eat it indoors. The next day I will take , take the same item to the park and eat it outside. Sure I may find myself eating several meals from Chili’s or Subway. But this is a sacrifice I should make for the name of science. And if worse comes to worse, I can always go back to Anthony’s Fish Bar. It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan.

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