Silly me. When Saveur magazine‘s October 2010 issue touted “25 Greatest Meals Ever” on its cover, I envisioned a well-written introduction into impossible recipes for haute cuisine. Instead, I discovered a wide-ranging recollection of the most memorable meals from foodies and authors alike. (And, if you’re wondering, 21 recipes are included.)
From an exquisite French feast to the simple pleasure of a sandwich prepared by loving hands, these memories jogged mine. It made me wonder whether we remember a meal for its taste or for the circumstances and the company in which it’s enjoyed. Perhaps it’s both.
For example, I remember the first time I ate alone in a sit-down restaurant. Not necessarily for the food I ate, but because doing so was way out of my comfort zone. I savor the memories of breakfast for dinner with my mom, as much because of her as her cooking.
Speaking of, there’s nothing like sitting down to a home-cooked meal (my mom’s or any of my relatives who know their way around the kitchen) after being hundreds of miles away more days during the year than not. And I enjoy returning the favor by making a special treat for breakfast or dessert when I’m home.
There are so many more. An impromptu grilled cheese, two spoons and a bowl of ice cream on the couch, a well-deserved indulgence at the end of the day, a cake (of nearly any kind) made from scratch, re-creating a family recipe to near-perfection.
Or a standing lunch date with a co-worker (who becomes one of your best friends), meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time (and being too nervous to eat), a surprise date to a local spot in a beautiful setting, sharing a great new restaurant with friends.
Sure, I could list numerous restaurants by name that I love, the foods there that I can’t wait to eat again, but I, like many of the stories recounted in Saveur magazine, agree that there are few things that can make a meal like the time spent with family and friends.