The Best Thing I Ever Tasted

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In The Best Thing I Ever Tasted Sallie Tisdale asks us to think about what we eat and why, whether it is our at-home meals or restaurant dining. Choices can be based on time available, calories, price, cholesterol, fat, protein, other people’s suggestions, what is available at the local grocery or market, moods, upbringing, or many other reasons.

Tisdale, at age sixteen, entered an alternative school program. Here new foods were introduced to her, and she faced many management choices of her life and in the process became aware of other people’s theories and actions about food. Later she moved to Eugene, Oregon, and joined a counterculture community. Food choices available, whether through large corporations or food co-ops, and experimental cooking of foods fascinated her. She read a lot of cookbooks and lists many of them in this work. Concern about her body weight lead her to try the diets by Dr. Atkins, Dr. Stillman, Weight Watchers, Diet Center, Jenny Craig, and The Zone. She came to feel that dieting is about being “good or bad.”

The author makes negative comments concerning food corporations; their positive contributions are not discussed. Her generalizations of the way Americans think might not reflect the thinking of every reader.

With the mobility of different ethnic cultures and their food gifts to the United States, new combinations of food are being tried, such as jicama and dandelion salad, wok charred Norwegian salmon, or barbecued chicken pizza. To have the resources to try new foods or yearn for old recipes is a privilege.