13 Marvelous Meals
I can die happy, knowing that I’ve savored some truly wonderful meals in my life. They were memorable because of the food, the places, the occasions, and the company. Here are some meals I’ll always fondly remember:
1. On vacation in Denver as a child, we ate many times at a restaurant called The Blue Parrot. The name delighted me. I would always begin with an appetizer–scoops of ORANGE SHERBET IN GRAPE JUICE, served in a parfait glass. RAINBOW TROUT followed, and we always laughed because the trouts were “as big as we were.”
2. Captain Morgan took me and my daughter to The Trellis, THE nicest, most glamorous restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia. I wore my “little black dress,” and we dined on COSMOPOLITANS, steak, wine, and desserts. He must have spent a fortune on us. Afterward, the three of us walked up the street and drank “shots” on the steps of one of the stately old buildings on the College of William and Mary campus.
3. At a romance writer’s conference, a group of us ate at The Prairie Restaurant in downtown Chicago. It was decorated very Frank Lloyd Wright-ish, and I had BUFFALO. Later at the same conference, we had PRIME RIB in a mirrored ballroom at the Awards Banquet. One of my girlfriends poured sour cream all over her food, only to find out it was horseradish! She was so mad, she flounced from the table in a huff. Ha!
4. In college, I dated a man named Sam Rachid. He was from Egypt, and his specialty was COW’S TONGUE. First he would cook it in a pressure cooker (he’s the only person I’ve ever known to use this particular appliance). Then he would slice it into nice flat ovals and arrange them in a 9×13″ pan, cover them with a brown sauce, and bake them. Served over flavored rice, they were so tender and flavorful, you forgot you were eating tongue! The man is long gone–wish I’d thought to write down the recipe.
5. My girlfriend, Mary, and I regularly eat lunch at Carlos O’Kelly’s for nice long heart-to-hearts. We start by inhaling chips and salsa with margaritas. I always order a #2 Combination–taco, enchilada, burrito, rice, and beans. We love our MEXICAN FOOD, and we’ve been known to alternately laugh and cry over it.
6. I make a mean Thanksgiving TURKEY AND STUFFING with all the trimmings. The first time I made it for Dh was before we were married, and he invited all his relatives over to our apartment. I got everything on the table. He took one look at it and was so impressed that he swept me back to the bedroom where he slavered kisses and hugs all over me. Then we calmly returned to the group and sat down to eat. Was that one of the reasons he married me?
7. When I visit my sister in Winnipeg, Canada, her husband is something of a gourmet cook. They were missionaries in Malaysia, so one of his specialties is CURRY. I beg for it every time I go up there. I remember gathering on their patio with the whole family (14 of us!), filling up on raita, rice, and the whole bit. Once, he made CHICKEN MARSALA. We passed around the fragrant wine sauce in a little pitcher and kept pouring it over our chicken again and again.
8. I’ve been to Epcot at Walt Disney World many times, and I have a ritual–I go through the worlds and somehow always end up in Norway at lunchtime. They make the best SCANDINAVIAN OPEN-FACED SANDWICHES. I especially like the beef and cucumber ones, eaten outside while watching the birds. By the time I get to France in the afternoon, it’s time for a snack of the most exquisite CHOCOLATE-FILLED CROISSANTS from the French bakery. Funny how that happens every time!
9. I remember eating lunch at Chowning’s Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia, with my friends and fellow tour guides. We were all in costume, having BRUNSWICK STEW, a historic colonial dish. Comfort food, par excellence. My best girlfriend, Carolyn, shared her BUBBLE AND SQUEAK with me–a fried potato dish with gravy. Delicious and heart-warming.
10. As a child on another vacation, we had LOBSTER and KEY LIME PIE in Florida. I’ll never forget the sweet lobster dipped in melted butter, and the sweet/tart taste of the lime. It was all so fresh, with the smell of the sea, and the seagulls wheeling overhead. Ahhh…
11. I was in heaven just being at Blenheim Palace near Oxford, England, one of my favorite places in the world. At the cafe, I had to sit down and ponder that I was really actually there, enjoying TEA and SUMMER PUDDING filled with berries.
12. Living in Nebraska, you gotta love corn-fed beef. The best PRIME RIB in Lincoln is served at Misty’s Restaurant–it’s almost an institution here. The beef is so tender and juicy, you can cut it with a fork, dip it in aus ju, and close your eyes.
13. My mother made many memorable meals, and some not so memorable. But her best dessert was RHUBARB CUSTARD PIE, which she made every spring. The creamy sweet egg custard sets off the tangy rhubarb. I still make it every spring, using her recipe.
Ahh, what lovely memories. Food, places, loved ones. Please excuse me now–after all this, I have to go find a snack.
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