John Steele Gordon replies: I do indeed remember some pretty ghastly meals consumed on long automobile trips when I young, and they must have been really ghastly, as I’m sure I was a good deal less particular then. But I also remember a clam chowder at some restaurant on the shore outside Boston that was so delicious that my mother—no gastronomic pushover—told me to sit still and marched into the kitchen for a heart-to-heart with the cook.
And most of all I remember a peach pie and homemade ice cream served in a diner somewhere around Brattleboro, Vermont, in the early 1950s. But it was as yesterday that extraordinarily intense taste of peach, surrounded by a crust that would have brought Julia Child to her knees in homage.
I’d risk a lot of ptomaine for one more slice of that pie.