A Bite to Eat
Our favorite foods and more
Hi Zan, Hi Pa
October 25, 2023
In addition to our twice-monthly conversations, starting in November we’re going to periodically offer a small extra feature around the middle of the month, just to give you a little more food for thought. We’ll call it “Stars in Our Sky” and it will be a brief showcase of the fascinations of people we know: photographers, writers, singers, actors, maybe a Zen priest and a baker or two. We’ll ask them to answer one question and give them space to display their talents and passions. We think you’ll enjoy meeting our friends.
HI, ZAN: Our family members are famous for sending photos of meals to each other back and forth across the airwaves. So let’s talk about food. What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
HI, PA: Oof, that’s tough—you know all too well that I’ve been spoiled when it comes to high-quality meals! I feel like I should say one of the many breakfasts you made me when I had to get up early for school. Bulgur with onions, poached egg on toast, home fries…
PA: Nice of you to remember those, but cooking and swimming are two of the things I’m worst at.
ZAN: In all seriousness, it’s hard to choose one in particular because I’ve had high-end meals that were excellently prepared on a technical level and meals that weren’t fancy at all but had a huge sentimental value to them. The one that sticks out to me is the celebratory meal we ate when you visited us in Telluride right after Philipp and I had gotten engaged. Remember that? We took the gondola halfway up the mountain to Allreds Restaurant and sat overlooking the town tucked in the canyon. The chef, with whom I’d worked at a different restaurant, sent out some appetizers and then I had a perfectly cooked elk steak with that smoky Sicilian red wine. I don’t remember all the components to the dishes or even what we had for dessert (crème brûlée?), but I remember it was delicious and we were all deliriously happy.
What would you say? Any particular meals come to mind?
PA: That dinner was truly unforgettable, the food, the view, the people at the table Unforgettable.
As for other memorable meals: When Mom and I finished the longest of our three tours with USIA exhibits in the former USSR–thirteen months—we took the train from Moscow to Berlin and had a dinner on board that I recall with great fondness. I think the cook was German, not Russian. If I remember right, the meal was simple—some kind of breaded chicken or pork with potatoes–but delicious. Probably it tasted so good, in part, because the food options in the USSR had been so meager.
For a couple of years after I came home from that long tour I’d say a prayer of thanks every time I sat down to eat. Not a full grace, just an expression of gratitude for all we have, all the variety, the easy availability, the relative cheapness.
You were an adventurous eater even in your high chair. I’m pretty sure you had some exotic meals in Cambodia, no?
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