Luxury foods have a special feel about them. They make you feel fancy when you eat them. What I realised though, during my trip to Tasmania, was that it is not some essential feature of the food itself. Luxury is not intrinsic. Rather, luxury is a state of mind. It’s knowing that what you’re eating is special (maybe expensive) and out of the ordinary. It’s the exciting and the unusual. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that if you didn’t know a luxury food was in fact a luxury it would taste like poo. But the feeling that comes with eating something you consider a delicacy shouldn’t be understated.
This stood out to me particularly down in Tassie because of the price difference in one item: scallops.
I would certainly consider scallops a luxury food here in NSW, but since luxury is a thing that depends on perception, something magical happens. It changes from place to place. While you’d get five scallops sitting on a bed of something drizzled with something else for top dollar in a Sydney restaurant, crumbed scallops were the cheapest thing on the menu in several pubs we visited on the Apple Isle! Cheaper than flathead fillets! That kind of discrepancy gives you a wonderful appreciation for what you eat. Growing up in Tasmania I doubt you would feel that same sense of wonder when you saw scallops so cheap on the menu of your local.
We had two notable feeds of scallops. First, J bought a curried scallop pie from a bakery while we visited a little historical town. While $6 is a bit more than you’d usually pay for a pie, considering that there were at least six scallops in it, and at the fish markets in Sydney scallops went for between 70c and $1 last I heard, it still felt very special. Where else would you get a curried scallop pie? Next, I had a satay scallop hotpot from a Chinese restaurant we went to. It was $22, and apart from about ten million scallops there were also three slices of carrot and two little pieces of cauliflower in the pot. There were so many scallops I got full and couldn’t finish them all!
It felt so decadent to gorge myself of scallops. I had a huge smile and a bit of a mischievous naughty feeling for the rest of the day: a perfect way to feel on holidays.