It's easy to predict what kind of food a child will choose: the more sugar the better. Adults move on to other foods that are more interesting in a non-teeth-sticking sort of way, which means that they have to apply quite a bit of imagination and discipline to develop a good diet. Naturally the adult looks down on the child's food preferences, but not in a mean sort of way.
How many times has restaurant food really knocked your socks off? I can't remember a dessert doing so, at least during my adulthood. But recently I was having breakfast with a friend (a professional caterer from Patagonia AZ), when we both commented on the hash browns as being the best we had ever had in our lives. Their mighty secret: they made the hash browns out of potatoes -- fresh. They barely needed any tabasco sauce to make them interesting. Most restaurants presumably thaw out ready-made hash browns from the Sysco truck.
I also had some natural scenery knock my socks off recently, and that is saying something, considering that I've been a full time RVer for 15 years. It happened in the sagebrush hills around Gunnison CO. Some of the hills were only a couple hundred feet high -- puny by Colorado standards. There were no trees. The sagebrush didn't have the blue-green tint that it has in "greater Nevada" in May, after the snow melt. Wikipedia says that sagebrush drops some of its leaves in late summer. Here and now it looked so funereal.
Because of the pathetic appearance of the sagebrush, some people would call these hills "ugly." But "austere" is a better word. How fine austere land can be! The shape of the hills has that marvelous "woman reclining on her side" look; they would have been gorgeous if green. My mind kept moving these hills off to the Great Basin in May when the color would have been rich.
Speaking of Patagonia (Argentina, this time), I wonder if it too has a lonely and austere beauty like the area I was dispersed camping in. My mind drifted off to Hudson's "Idle Days in Patagonia," recommended by William James in his classic "Varieties of Religious Experience."
"I spent the greater part of one winter at a point on the Rio Negro, seventy or eighty miles from the sea, where the valley on my side of the water was about five miles wide. The valley alone was habitable, where there was water for man and beast, and a thin soil producing grass and grain; it is perfectly level, and ends abruptly at the foot of the bank or terrace-like formation of the higher barren plateau. It was my custom to go out every morning on horseback with my gun, and, followed by one dog, to ride away from the valley; and no sooner would I climb the terrace and plunge into the gray universal thicket, than I would find myself completely alone and cut off from all sight and sound of human occupancy as if five hundred instead of only five miles separated me from the hidden green valley and river. So wild and solitary and remote seemed that gray waste, stretching away into infinitude, a waste untrodden by man, and where the wild animals are so few that they have made no discoverable path in the wilderness of thorns. There I might have dropped down and died, and my flesh been devoured by birds, and my bones bleached white in sun and wind, and no person would have found them, and it would have been forgotten that one had ridden forth in the morning and had not returned...
...day after day I returned to this solitude, going to it in the morning as if to attend a festival, and leaving it only when hunger and thirst and the westering sun compelled me. And yet I had no object in going--no motive which could be put into words; for although I carried a gun, there was nothing to shoot...
...the weather at that time was cheerless, generally with a gray film of cloud spread over the sky, and a bleak wind, often cold enough to make my bridle hand feel quite numb...
...in the scene itself there was nothing to delight the eye.
...But during those solitary days it was a rare thing for any thought to cross my mind...in that novel state of mind I was in, thought had become impossible...I had become incapable of reflection: my mind had suddenly transformed itself from a thinking machine into a machine for some other unknown purpose. To think was like setting in motion a noisy engine in my brain; and there was something there which bade me be still, and I was forced to obey. My state was one of suspense and watchfulness: yet I had no expectation of meeting with an adventure...The change in me was just as great and wonderful as if I had changed my identity for that of another man or animal;...something had come between me and my intellect..."
But back to Gunnison CO again: still overwhelmed by the austerity of my sagebrush-covered hills I found a single track mountain bike trail right next to my dispersed campsite. It was smooth, hard dirt. It was fun. I hardly ever have fun on single tracks because of their technical difficulty. This was the best luxury I could have asked for; how ironic I found it here. Then again, maybe the willingness to appreciate austerity created or intensified this luxury. This wasn't the effortless fun of an eight-year-old at the Dairy Queen, which is how enjoying beautiful scenery is usually presented in travel blogs.