WHAT’S THE BEST MEAL YOU’VE EVER HAD?
BY JACQUELYN DUGGAN
I am a firm believer that food not only nourishes your body, but also – your heart and soul.
Why? Well, I’ll get to that soon.
But first, I encourage you to consider: what’s the best meal you ever had?
Where was it? Who was there? What did it taste and smell like? What do you remember most about it?
The best meal I’ve ever had was delivered to my husband and I in the form of several plates on a rainy, early-fall afternoon this past September at Rye Street Tavern in Baltimore, Maryland.
After almost a full-year without dining in restaurants due to the pandemic, we were thrilled to not only dine out – but dine somewhere new.
Our dinner that evening was unbelievably wonderful. (Think: green tomato & burrata salad, jalapeno cornbread, famous fried chicken, corn polenta, a “campfire sundae,” and the best whiskey of our lives to top it off! Not to mention the outdoor seating overlooking Baltimore Harbor. We literally didn’t want to leave!)
Each dish we were served was simple, yet elevated. The flavors, aromas, ingredients, the atmosphere of the restaurant – all combined together has left a lasting impression in my memory.
What resonated with me most about our experience at Rye Street Tavern was the way it allowed us to simply be present in our meal, and in our conversations together.
We were able to really taste the food – wondering, was it the salt, acid or heat elements that were standing out to us most as each plate came out? What was that one spice on the fried chicken that really nailed the dish? How is it that a slice of cornbread will quite literally warm your heart?
And most importantly, we were able to have honest conversation, asking each other gently: how are you really doing?
Since reflecting on that night, I’ve come to realize: food has the ability to give us the gift of presence.
To slow down, and savor.
That evening in particular, we were allowed the time to simply be and enjoy ourselves, as
if the only thing that really mattered was deciding who would get the last bite.
I still have a lot to learn about the art of savoring each moment.
And I believe this process of learning to savor is the simple reason why food not only nourishes our bodies, but also our hearts and souls.
So, back to my original question: what’s the best meal you ever had?
What comes to mind for you as you reflect?
I encourage you to consider the ways the best meal you ever had allowed you to be present and savor the moment.
Here’s to good food, and the moments of pure joy they create for us. May we learn to honor the presence and lasting memories it brings us.