Gluten-Filled Nostalgia

Last week I experienced a day that I truly craved a food from the past that I can no longer eat on my gluten-free diet. A pita sandwich.

I was walking around downtown Portland past lunchtime and I was hungry. I had just bought chicken and rice from one of my favorite food carts downtown, Nong’s Khao Man Gai, and was headed to the park to sit down and enjoy my lunch. I looked over one street and there it was…The Pita Pit. I used to love The Pita Pit. My favorite combo: chicken, lettuce, spinach, cucumber, tzatziki sauce, all wrapped up in pita bread. It was tasty handheld eating perfection in my book. I was filled with an instant wave of nostalgia and longing for one of my favorite foods from the past. I could taste it. I could imagine holding it. I could feel its familiar weight in my hands and its texture with each bite.

Here’s my history with The Pita Pit. I used to get it for lunch a few times a week many years ago when it was located near my workplace at that time. It tasted great, the location was convenient, and it was a welcomed getaway from a stressful work environment. I used to take a walk to de-stress while eating my pita wrap, and it was an enjoyable part of my otherwise chaotic work day. I eventually left that job, so The Pita Pit was no longer nearby and I didn’t go back for a very long time. A few years later I was on a business trip, where I happened to drive past a Pita Pit location. I was ecstatic; I had no idea they were located where I happened to be. I ate there 3 times over the 3-day time period I was there. Anytime I went back to that town, I made at least one trip to The Pita Pit. Lunch, dinner, didn’t matter.

So here it is back in my life again, The Pita Pit. A piece of my past, resurfacing right near my current location. I felt sad for a moment thinking about it. I mean, here was my old favorite lunch place right nearby, and I can never enjoy it again.

But why do I really love The Pita Pit? Is it the actual food itself? Is it the taste? The convenience of a handheld meal? Or is it the memories of a welcome getaway or of a favorite town to visit? Maybe it’s a bit of everything. We know that we feel good mentally when we satisfy our food cravings, and our sensory memories of the food intensifies those cravings even further. There are so many great food options that are still open to me, and more options that keep surfacing all the time. I have plenty of tasty substitutes that are readily available. It all leads me to believe that it’s more the emotional attachment that draws me to that pita sandwich and all the pleasant memories that came with it years ago.

The Pita Pit sighting took me temporarily away from the lunch I was originally looking forward to that was right in my hands. I got to the park, sat down and started eating my chicken with rice. It tasted amazing, just as I had imagined when I first bought it. On top of it all, it was a beautiful warm day in a pleasant location. I enjoyed my current lunch and all the feelings of sadness and nostalgia from seeing The Pita Pit were washed away. I didn’t even give it a second thought after that. It was a day for creating some new positive memories to crave in the future.

Nong's Khao Man Gai


About Carla

My name is Carla Bray, and I'm a website designer and developer. I provide website design, content management, copywriting, and SEO. My goal is to create simple websites that look clean, are easy to navigate, and quick to find the information you want. I'm also a social media other words, I spend way too much time on the web. Just to give you an example, I implemented and maintain a Facebook page for The Path Bike Shop, a local bike shop in Tustin, CA. This page has grown to almost 2500 "likes", an accomplishment I am very proud of. I live gluten-free since I have been allergic to wheat ever since childhood. My website "Gluten Free Fever" can tell you all about living gluten-free in Portland, OR...and I can tell you for certain, there's tons of great stuff in this town. I'm an avid bicyclist. I love all sorts of riding: mountain biking, commuting, cyclocross, and BMX. I enjoyed playing outside in the dirt since I was a kid, and I guess that's something I will never outgrow. My other interests include music, swimming, TRX training, yoga, reading, fiction (I'm a sucker for debut novels), libraries, cooking (and eating) gluten-free, blogging, and knitting. I currently live in Portland, Oregon, where I covet and cherish any sunny day that happens to come along.

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