Good eats, great memories
Food. It keeps the body going and keeps you from dying. Most of the time anyway.
For most of us, food is more than that. We all have favorite foods (lobster, good steaks, mac & cheese, anything chocolate), foods we can't stand (liver, large chunks of bell peppers, eggplant) and can associate meals with quiet time or time with friends, or intimate times with a loved one.
I think my most memorable meal has to be one I had back in the Spring of 1998 (Oh my gosh it's been that long?!). I went on a missions trip with my church to Hungary for a week. We figured, since we're in Europe, let's add on a week on our own dime and see some of Europe. Much eating, drinking, touring, walking and picture taking ensued. At some point we ended up high in the Alps in Murren. Being summer, the place was pretty much deserted since it's mostly a winter resort for the ski set in Europe. While visiting town, we ran across a man who owned a restaurant. He told us he just bought it and was having his four star chef try recipes for himself and some friends and would we like to come try some new food for a heavily discounted price. We could, of course, not refuse. We ended up there at sunset and was served by a 20 something year old waiter who could speak English, Spanish, French, German and Italian. The fun part was asking him a question in some language and he'd answer in the language you asked. We went rapid fire and he never tripped up. In fact, he knew Portuguese too but none of us could speak it.
When the food came, it was as varied and delicious as could be. I don't remember what I ordered anymore, but I do remember that we all passed plates and we applauded the chef when he came up from the kitchen to say hello. Afterwards, still high on the wine and rich desserts, we sat on benches in a meadow that, at once, looked to the peaks of the Alps and down to the lights in the valley far below. As the moon rose, it grew large in and among the peaks before finally vaulting its way into the heavens. We sang worship songs and the sound of the harmonies drifted into the night air.
Top meal ever.
No topping that one, but I had another real fun night recently. There is something indescribable about making dinner for good friends. I had Kyle and Karen over the other night and made one of my better meals. We opened with a salad I really like… mixed greens, candied walnuts, pears, Gorgonzola cheese and balsamic vinegar. Just the right combo of sweet, tart, crunchy, and leafy. For dinner we had lasagna rolls (ricotta, prosciutto, parmiggiano, spinach and other stuff spread onto lasagna pasta and rolled up, set in a bechamel sauce and topped with marinara and mozzarella) with fried zucchini. For dessert, flourless chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream topped with a raspberry sauce. I was particularly proud of the presentation on this one… everything sat on a chocolate and raspberry ribbon that circled the plate.
Writing all this makes me realize it's not just the food. Sure, without good food, you don't have a memorable meal. But it's also the setting, the conversation, the ambiance, the music, and most importantly the people.
You have a great meal memory?