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Thread: In Search of the Perfect Meal

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    Premium Member DesertRose's Avatar
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    In Search of the Perfect Meal

    I was reading one of Anthony Bourdain's book: A Cooks Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal, where he goes hoping around in different countries to...well search for the perfect meal.

    Bourdain says in his book:

    Of course, I knew already that the best meal in the world, the perfect meal, is very rarely the most sophisticated or expensive one. I knew how important factors other than technique or rare ingredients can be in the real business of making magin happen at a dinner table. Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.
    The book got me thinking about my perfect meal...and yours.

    Mine was on my honeymoon in Mexico, Riviera Maya in 2002. My husband and I had booked an excursion where we would snorkel in a lagoon and swim in a cave. At lunch time, our fantastic guide stopped by some rundown stores to buy what he needed. Then he made us walk to this deserted gorgeous small piece of beach. On a wooden plank, he layed the ingredients for our meal: tortillas, chicken, avocados, rice, etc. Basically, all the fixings for tortillas. Let me tell you: those were the best, the freshest tortillas I have ever had. And the scenery was stunning. Dessert was homemade rhum and some mexican tequila, of which the name escapes me. Yowza!

    I know there are some great foodies out there (lambi, I'm looking at you!). What was your perfect meal?

  2. #2
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertRose View Post
    I know there are some great foodies out there (lambi, I'm looking at you!). What was your perfect meal?
    I am so-o-o busted! While I was reading your wonderfully descriptive AND delicious post, DesertRose, I was already plotting my answer to you...and then...I saw you 'outing' me!

    Okay, you know those old TV ads from LoReal, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful?", and you wanted to BitcaSlap the chick into tomorrow?! Well, pleaz-z-z-e don't "make me a new one", but the most PERFECT meal that I ever had is one that I've cooked, at least 12 times, and gotten paid to create at least 4 times!

    Over 20 years ago, there was a magazine called The Chocolatier, and it featured--duh!--chocolate recipes, but then they'd also feature 5 restaurants and their menus.

    Around September or October, the issue that came out had the most stunningly amazing-sounding recipes in it, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I decided to give it a whirl. Five hundred dollars later...I had created...by myself, the most stunning meal I've ever eaten ANYWHERE, and that includes all the places I've eaten in the States and abroad.

    I doubt, very seriously, that it's ME; it's more the unusual combinations of familiar foods that the head chef of this famous San Francisco restaurant published. And yes!, all of the ingredients for the 6 course meal total close to $500, but it feeds 6, so that's a pretty common dollar amount to pay in a top restaurant. I know that when Sally and I "do the town", I'm paying $150-$180 for dinner for two.

    The preparation takes an entire week and the grocery list and preparation time sheet are all laid out for you, so it's eazy-peazy to follow. The course is as follows:

    Marinated Wild Turkey Breast with Thyme Mustard Glaze-this marinates for 3 days in 3 different alcohols.

    Cream of Chestnut Soup.

    Mixed Greens Salad with Truffles

    Cranberry-Lavender-Orange Relish.

    Butternut Squash au Gratin.

    Wild Rice with Cranberries and Pine Nuts.

    Green Beans with Onion Glaze and Thyme Mustard Reduction.

    Poached Pears in wine and glazed with Bittersweet Chocolate, served with White Chocolate-Raspberry Sorbet

    I know that there's a couple of other things in there, like the appetizers, but the magazine, which I guard with my life, is at Sally's, left over from my making several of the dishes for Thanksgiving.

    My second husband's mom, when we made this for her and her husband one year, flew us down to Dallas and begged to pay for all of the ingredients, and our time, if my husband and I made it again. This went on for another 4 years, until we all got divorced, his mom and us.

    So, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it! DesertRose: I will be on that beach, with you, in my dreams tonight! You painted the most beautiful and mouth-watering post.
    Still crazy, after all these shears

    "lambikins, put the crack pipe down and back away from the keyboard." Unklescott

    "lambikins... I have come to the conclusion that you are the Jedi Master of the Kitchen on FORT!" SuperBrat

  3. #3
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Mine is nowhere near as elaborate as lambi's. It was from The Palm in NYC in 1977. Sirloin steak, salad, baked potato and a few Heinekens. Best damn steak I have ever had with a hunk of prime rib and chocolate chip cheesecake from Eli's in Chicago a close second.

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    Who Dat lildago's Avatar
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    I'd have to go back several years to any given Sunday at my grandmother's house. Every single Sunday, she'd make some type of pasta and homemade sauce and EVERYBODY would be there. If we were lucky, she'd make meatballs or braciole with it! Throw in fresh bread and a glass of wine...that's my perfect meal.
    Getting lost will help you find yourself.

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    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    When I was growing up, it was every Sunday. Like lildago's grandmother, my own grandmother made Sunday dinner (which was really lunch, but we called it dinner round those parts. ) every week. All the family would be there. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and even the ones that had divorced the "blood" relatives. There would be between 30-40 people there every week.

    Granny would make any number of things and it was all fantastic and all made from scratch. My favorite part was always dessert, though. Most weeks, she'd make three kinds of meringue pie. Chocolate, lemon, and coconut. Occasionally, she'd make a hot cobbler with vanilla ice cream melting in it faster than you could eat it. Sometimes she'd just cut up a watermelon in the summertime. The big ones that would make a loud Crrrack! as you split it apart. Summer also sometimes brought homemade ice cream. That was the best but was pure torment to wait on. My dad and uncles would stand around the ice cream maker-talking, laughing, or smoking- while they kept pouring ice and/or salt into the machine.

    So...yeah. Any one of those meals were a perfect meal for me. Most of that group has scattered around the country or passed away. It all seems almost idyllic now. I know I'd give almost anything to have another.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

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  6. #6
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer View Post
    When I was growing up, it was every Sunday. Like lildago's grandmother, my own grandmother made Sunday dinner (which was really lunch, but we called it dinner round those parts. ) every week. All the family would be there. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and even the ones that had divorced the "blood" relatives. There would be between 30-40 people there every week.

    Granny would make any number of things and it was all fantastic and all made from scratch. My favorite part was always dessert, though. Most weeks, she'd make three kinds of meringue pie. Chocolate, lemon, and coconut. Occasionally, she'd make a hot cobbler with vanilla ice cream melting in it faster than you could eat it. Sometimes she'd just cut up a watermelon in the summertime. The big ones that would make a loud Crrrack! as you split it apart. Summer also sometimes brought homemade ice cream. That was the best but was pure torment to wait on. My dad and uncles would stand around the ice cream maker-talking, laughing, or smoking- while they kept pouring ice and/or salt into the machine.

    So...yeah. Any one of those meals were a perfect meal for me. Most of that group has scattered around the country or passed away. It all seems almost idyllic now. I know I'd give almost anything to have another.
    See, like lildago and Stargazer, it was my Grandmother who developed my palette and prejudiced me for life towards "ordinary" food. With her fresh supply of herbs, home-made vinegars and the combination of Scandinavian culture married with Native American, our dinner table was an always changing feast! Stewed rhubarb with orange zest spread on home-made bread. Pot roast with fennel, whipped parsnips with Summer Savory blended into the butter, and Rose Geranium Sponge Cake with fresh whipped cream from the cow. I didn't know fried food until I moved away to college and I didn't taste fast food until I was 16 and we ate at White Castle, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    So, when I began to cook, and taste the plainess of normal recipes, it was being raised at my Gran's knee that led to my Mad Scientist ways with food.

    I've got a lot of favorite restaurants that specialize in a specific food: like who has the best sushi, tempera, raclette, or tapas, but a BEST meal....it has to be home-made and at my Gran's or my table.
    Still crazy, after all these shears

    "lambikins, put the crack pipe down and back away from the keyboard." Unklescott

    "lambikins... I have come to the conclusion that you are the Jedi Master of the Kitchen on FORT!" SuperBrat

  7. #7
    Mixing Old Fashioneds PhoneGrrrl's Avatar
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    Commander's Palace, Christmas 2002, me, my parents and my sister. It was the best meal, and dining experience, I've ever had. It was wonderful...great table, wondrous shrimp and andouille grits (for me), cocktails, wine, bread pudding souffle, a tour of the kitchen and meeting the owner and head chef. And it was all paid for by someone else, due to some luck Dad had.

    Other than that, I'm just glad when I don't have to cook or do the dishes.

  8. #8
    Miz Smarty Britches queenb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lambikins View Post

    Marinated Wild Turkey Breast with Thyme Mustard Glaze-this marinates for 3 days in 3 different alcohols.
    Where did you get the wild turkey? Did you have to go hunting in addition to planning that huge meal, or were you lucky enough that someone killed one for you?

    All the women on my Mom's side of the family are fabulous cooks as well; I can't even begin to think of the best meal I've ever had, but it would probably be one co-produced by my Mom, my older sister and I. Younger sister finally began learning to cook some things in her late 20's, but still has a world of catching up to do.

    Other than home cooked meals, I'll have to devote a little more time before I answer!
    I have found the Truth and it doesn't make sense.

  9. #9
    Staying Afloat speedbump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertRose View Post
    What was your perfect meal?
    July 1995- Domino's pizza
    You got to cry without weeping. Talk without speaking. Scream without raising your voice.- U2

  10. #10
    Premium Member DesertRose's Avatar
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    I take it it wasn't the food that made the meal perfect...

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