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A Perfect Meal

I have been fortunate to eat in a few truly excellent restaurants.

I have had amazing dishes, some flawless service, beautiful locations and loving company. But, I can think of only one perfect meal where it all came together.

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So many of the restaurants and foods and wines meld together. You remember parts of one, bits of another, but the details tend to blend and fade as you do what you have to eat, again, each day. But there is that one, however, a perfect I had while in a small town called San Juan, in Uruguay.

There we're three of us there, more brothers than friends. Patrick, who now lives in Columbia, Missouri; and Nicolas, who lives in Montevideo. We had not been together for several years, and had been planning this trip for months. To celebrate, we had come to a farm very near the coast that belonged to Nicolas' uncle.

Before the meal, which Nicolas' aunt was going to prepare, we went down to the beach. We wandered around on the rocky shores, reaching down into the water and pulling mussels from under rocks. We collected a bag of these, none very large, and when the sun finished setting we went back to the farm.The "kitchen" was the same as the dining room a small, very old chapel that had been converted into a family area. It was big enough for a long wooden table and a stone oven, and all night long more wood was shoved into the flames.

The room itself was dim, no electricity, using the oven and candles for light. The walls we're rough stone. Dogs waited outside the door for scraps, we all sat close around the table, the food cooked slowly. Very slowly.

There was plenty of wine, of course.Local sausages and spicy cheeses. Grilled pizzas from the stone oven, with crispy burnt edges, oddly shaped with steam rising off. And then the paella, which we could smell almost an hour before it was finished. The mussels we're small, but tasted perfect because we had collected them ourselves.

 

Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 04/24/2018


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