Saturday, January 8, 2011

in the company of food


last week, when i was having lunch and coffee at blue bottle with the heart sister and playing catch up......





i was thinking about how there are those that i can be utterly comfortable around and not really think about how much time has passed or is passing as we hang out. also, in those situations, the food does not become the focus of the time together....but rather underscores and highlights the time we spend together.

sometimes, i'll be more into the conversation with the person and i remember the food as being "good" but there is more of a fuzziness to it....rather than a recollection of specific tastes. the meal itself is memorable for the company spent around the meal rather than the food included in the meal.

yet, there have also been instances when i've been at a meal when the food was been supremely delicious and i'll look up and realize that i really don't want to be at that table....because of who is across from it...and dread having to continue the conversation. in those circumstances, i have decided that it just isn't worth it. i'd rather go have delicious food by myself ...than have to sit through a conversation with someone that i don't like. it doesn't matter how good the food is.....because it seems almost disrespectful...to taint that food experience with the veneer of hidden contempt i may have for the other person. i recall just how many times i've had to do this over the years and just shake my head.

once upon a time, in a previous life, taking folks out for dinner was a pretty integral part of the job. many a business deals and alliances are fostered over meals. while this provided me an opportunity to eat at restaurants that i would have never been able to afford to visit on my own on a regular basis, oftentimes, the company i had to keep with those meals tempered the enjoyment of the experience.

when i think back on some of the best meals i have had throughout my life, there is a single constant. it is because of whom i shared the meal with....rather than the food alone.....that made the meals the most memorable and enjoyable. oftentimes, those meals were not ones that i had in restaurants either....but rather meals i shared with loved ones over some home cooking. admittedly, while i know that i am fortunate to know and love those who view food as an integral part of life and many are excellent cooks, there is something about being able to share food with those that you love .....something that is intangible, unquantifiable, and priceless.

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