Melissa at The Traveler’s Lunchbox put this post out to the world, inspired from a list she came across on BBC. The idea is for everyone to submit five ideas of “things you’ve eaten and that everyone should eat at least once before they die.” The posts to her blog are really interesting, ranging from totally vague, to extremely specific meals at specific restaurants.
I started to think about what I would write, after my experiences living in different cities and travelling to different countries, imagining that I must have certain meals emblazoned in my memory as the absolutes. When thinking back to the many flavors I’ve savored it really came down to many of the basics. Of course it is impossible for me to pick 5 (so expect a repeat post shortly), but there are some foods that are possible to be made so perfectly and have such simple flavor combinations that it makes my mouth water to just think of them. And of course dessert and brunch often top my list. Here it goes (at least the first round):
Best and Necessary Foods
1. Fresh, warm chocolate chip cookies, just out of the oven, with a tall, cold glass of milk. Because when they’re baked just right, with the perfect combination of salt and sugar and chocolate, with a tiny crisp to the edges but soft on the inside, that is heaven. And real, cold milk is just goodness.
2. A soft boiled egg with a toasted English muffin and local blackberry jam. Having forayed into the world of the soft boiled egg only in the past year, I have to admit I am a huge fan. It’s not something I would order when I’m out (partly because one doesn’t find it on the menu often) but it is great. I love runny yolks on toast, but never imagined combining that with a fruity jam. It mixes marvelously, in case you’re wondering. I love the delicacy of scooping the egg out with a tiny spoon and the nooks and crannies, as it were, soaking up the egg and the thick jam.
3. Perfect mushroom risotto. I love risotto. I love it pretty much every way it can come. I recently enjoyed a pumpkin risotto at Audrey Claire in Philadelphia that was so rich it was like macaroni and cheese. But risotto is at its best when created with wild, fresh, mushrooms. The earthiness of the mushroom combines with the creaminess of the risotto in such wonderful fashion. This is an awesome dish when done right, and should not be entered into lightly.
4. A medium-rare filet mignon cooked in butter and parsley, and topped with fresh lump crabmeat. Really good meat cooked with really simple flavors is awesome. But when you top it with quality crab meat, you make a girl from Maryland truly happy.
5. A picnic in Europe (or anywhere pretty) with friends and fresh farmers market ingredients— like warm, crusty bread, soft cheeses, fruit, and really salty, creamy butter. When it comes down to it, meals are best enjoyed with those we love. I love big markets, like La Boqueria in Barcelona, or Reading Terminal in Philadelphia— there is such an abundance of fresh ingredients and so many different ways to combine them. There is a simple, quaint pleasure in enjoying those combinations with friends, on a beautiful day, outside. Bread that is well-made topped with butter is one of the simplest meals— one for your historical prisoner— but is truly so incredible. Imagine the warm steaming bread covered in really salty, creamy butter, and it is hard to keep your mouth from watering. What better to wash it down with than ripe strawberries, blueberries, crunchy grapes, and other seasonal fruits?
(Can I get a dessert bonus, even though I’ve had cookies? Vanilla Gelato from somewhere amazing in Florence, with a ton of vanilla bean in it. So good that you have to take every single bite slowly and thoughtfully.)What are the five things on your list?