Monday, December 04, 2006

perfect meals

Today I was looking through some old family photos searching for little snapshots of times gone by. Sunday afternoons have always been a time of introspection and nostalgia (sometimes a bit of depression as well depending on the coming week, but that´s another story.) Either way, as I´ve always known, food was a common theme throughout the pictures: there was me smiling in front of my birthday cake, me eating dessert with a huge grin on my face, big family reunions around a steaming bowl of pasta...


Being of Italian and Spanish descent (a bit of Dutch too, but I wouldn´t know what the Dutch attitude towards food is), that is not very surprising. Food was always something with which you comunicated your love and made people rejoice. I will never be able to understand people who have an I-eat-just-because-I-have-to attitude towards food, what is that all about?
For me, food is about enjoyment, not just a cold science which achieves perfection through a simple equation. There are just so many variables: ingredients, combination, texture, temperature, context, company, mood... Anthony Bourdain got me thinking about perfect food experiences the other day. I´ll let him do the talking for a while because he can express it way better than me:

"... I knew already that the best meal in the world, the perfect meal, is very rarely the most sophisticated or expensive one. (...) Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one´s life. I mean, let´s face it: when you are eating simple barbecue under a palm tree, and you feel sand between your toes, samba music is playing softly in the background, waves are lapping at the shore a few yards off, a gentle breeze is cooling the sweat on the back of your neck at the hairline, and looking across the table (...) at the dreamy expression on your companion´s face, you realize that in half an hour you are probably going to be having sex on clean white hotel sheets, that grilled chicken suddenly tastes a whole of a lot better."
(...) "Think about the last time food transported you. You were a kid, had been feeling under the weather all week, and when you were finally getting your appetite back, after a long, wet walk from school in the rain, mom had a big steaming bowl of homemade minestrone waiting for you. Maybe it was just a bowl of Cambell´s cream of tomato with Oysterettes, and a grilled cheese sandwich. You know what I mean".

I do know what he means. For me, a perfect meal is usually of the simple variety -though it does need good ingredients and careful preparation- and, for some reason, it generally has to be shared with someone I care about (or someone I´d like to care about in the future, if you know what I mean lol). That is not to say I don´t enjoy the meals I prepare for myself, in fact, I usually love them (there is something inherently enjoyable in preparing a meal respecting just your own taste and cravings), but oftentimes I feel like something´s missing if I don´t have someone around to enjoy that meal with.
Come to think of it, maybe that´s why I started this blog to begin with... kind of as a way to share some meals and experiences with other freaks, ahem, I mean, foodies, like myself.

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