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Frame: It Doesn’t Have To Be Good To Be Great

October 1, 2010

This month’s Saveur has a section entitled “25 Greatest Meals Ever,” detailing memorable culinary experiences of various food personalities, celebrities, and writers.  The essays are all different, some discussing childhood favorites, some reminiscing about exotic meals during travel or the “perfect” dish eaten at an upscale restaurant.

These types of meals are certainly enjoyable, but when I really reflect on my own favorite meals, I realize that sometimes the most indelible memories come from when the food was actually not good at all – or at least, not gourmet by any standards-  and when circumstances surrounding the meal were anything but perfect or exotic. Sometimes, they were downright ordinary.

For example:

1. Once I ate over 40 shrimp in one sitting, while Brother of SB (BoSB) demurely munched on a gentlemanly portion of crab legs. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but I do remember laughing like a maniac and making up a pretty great song.

it wasn't the best shrimp i've ever eaten, but it was the most, and it was HILARIOUS.

2.  FoSB Esme and I made Chosen Family Christmas Dinner one year. She was really worried that her potato mousseline wasn’t stiff enough. Nobody noticed. It was delicious.

3.  So many breezy Pittsburgh nights with the Purple Hogs. We were broke and the best thing we ever ate was the Kitchen Sink Sundae at King’s.

i was guitar girl.

4. Not pictured: endless pie eating contests, Little Debbie in the boat before or after crew practice, North Beach pizza ordered in the cab on the way home followed by the 8 millionth viewing of Dazed and Confused, macaroni and cheese and monopoly, Boone’s Farm and wings, tuna and avocado salad at Osushi.

5.  Well, ok. This meal was perfect.

My favorite piece in Savuer’s collection, “The Angry Chef” by comic Marc Maron, also reminds us that things don’t have to be perfect- in taste or circumstance- to be memorable, or lasting.

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