THE BEST MEAL I EVER HAD

(Originally published on Man Repeller June 2015)

The best meal I ever had
wasn’t a meal
it was a Bloody Mary
every morning the summer of 2013, to be exact.
A mason jar full of vodka and heart-friendly polyphenols
with my best friend in the heart of our college town;
High July in Alabama and as at home as anyone can ever be.
I had a crush on every bartender in the restaurant.

The best meal I ever had
was spaghetti
sprinkled with inexplicable bits of bone
under a metal awning on a hillside in Greece.
(It was the best meal ever
because my grandfather,
with crinkly, mischievous eyes,
told my brother he ordered him beef
and later revealed it to be lamb genitalia.)

The best meal I ever had
was a bowl of ramen in Paris
with a new friend, in a city I had run to
to soothe the wound of being a post-grad.
The broth was mainly butter, bad for your heart but good for your soul.
We both woke at 4 a.m. with a stranded-in-the-desert thirst,
and yet, every Sunday, a text: “Ramen?”

The best meal I ever had
was the morning after New Year’s Eve
back in our hometown during our first year of college
at our favorite high school restaurant.
We began 2011 in giddy, morning-drunk laughter
because under my bootcut gray sweatpants I was wearing the only shoes I had:
glittering, black, pointy-toed stilettos.

The best meal I ever had
has happened many times.
It happens whenever my dad lowers his crab cages
into the murky Severn river
and we drink cheap beer and get Old Bay in our eyes
and I marvel at his picking skills, and feel grateful that he taught me.

You see, I could rhapsodize for days
about burrata, mille-feuille and tender medallions of ostrich,
crunchy golden beets, smoked bacon with caramelized bourbon sauce
and really anything in the sandwich family.
But ambience is nothing without conversation
and appetizers fall flat without affection
and after 23 years of loving food,
there’s one thing I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt:
It ain’t what you’re eating,
it’s who you’re eating it with.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s