Thursday, May 27, 2010
Meals That Define a Life
Really, when you get down to it, what is life? To me the main rub has always been; gather nourishment for yourself, have wee uns', nourish the wee uns'. Everything else, (culture, self enlightenment, blah, blah...) is all ancillary, a "side dish" if you will (I have been making bad puns all morning, you will have to excuse me). Food and eating is about as basic to life as you can get. So it seems to me that there will be meals in your life that obtain, through their placement during your stumbling journey down life's path, a certain significance.
Many, when asked, "what meal will you really always (and truly) remember?" will spout gobshite at you about some precious dish at The French Laundry in 2007, or maybe even a delicious papusa that they had to battle Salvadoran drug lords to obtain. They are probably lying, I bet you down in their hearts there is some remembered PB&J served just right my their mammies that means way more. Below I will list a couple of my own special meals in order.
3. The "Jimmy Dean" meal I was served as a scared and young (oh how young) Army private upon arriving at reception battalion in the middle of the night in a strange Southern state (Halloween eve no less!). If you don't know, a "Jimmy Dean" is a particular meal served by the Army in those times that don't quite require an MRE, but hot chow is not practical. Weirdly enough, they don't involve any sort of sausage product. I haven't reviewed one on this blog but you can go look at my MRE and Heater Meal reviews to get kind of an idea. I had no idea at the time how truly life changing that decision (joining the Army, not eating the Jimmy Dean) would be, I am still trying to sort out in my mind how deeply it has affected me...
2. A simple salad of herbs, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella that was served at my wedding after the absolutely ridiculous couple of hours of food preceding it. I remember thinking about how on this day of extreme emotions, chaos, and joy how comforting it was to have such a simple and delicious dish in front of me. As I am prone to assigning metaphors to almost anything I decided that this salad kind of represented my life's philosophy. My only real goal in life is to be a simple, and good man. I want no one to say, around the campfire, that Mr. Dave would not have ventured out to into the darkness to do battle with those things that go bump in the night to protect his kith and kin. This meal also makes me remember how lovely my wife looked in her dress.
1. The undisputed, most memorable food event in my life is pictured above. I must have known it was going to me forever etched in my brain, as I had the presence of mind to snap a photo. That right there is the first meal served to my wife after giving birth to my daughter. This was the first true family meal of our lives together. A simple affair of chicken, sweet potatoes, green beans, tea, soup, and milk, my still weak wife could not bear a bite. Always game for a meal, I happily munched through it whilst gazing at my wife and the wriggling munchkin who would become the mighty Giblet (now 16 months!).
Ahhhh, memories... What are yours? Tell me about your Madelines.