This week Indispire wants to discuss the memory of the best meal taken so far. What is considered to be the best meal may depend on many factors. Definitely the quality of the meal and how it is prepared and presented consists a very important part of the exercise. Our hospitality industry is set up around creating unique and exquisite meals and presenting it beautifully. Another factor we often do not consider is the state of mind of the person eating the food. Is he hungry enough, is he in good mood to appreciate the effort etc.
Today, I am going to share my experience of a meal that I had when I was in my early twenties. It was a frugal meal. But it was meal that I would remember for the rest of my life. It was not a meal prepared in a five star hotel, served by beautiful and well groomed waiters, it was not a delicacy that would cost us an arm and leg. Infact, the cook did not even want to take any money for the effort that had gone into making the food.
Four of us friends went on a trekking trip in the Himalayas. We were unprepared about everything. Be it gears or be it food. Our salty food like instant noodles got over almost halfway into the journey. We had some canned food like sardines and baked beans that many of us did not want to eat. For some reason, I don’t remember, our guide got us food, from local village and/or caretaker of resthouse, that was often sweet in taste. Our body was hankering to eat salty food.
On our way back looking at our plight, our guide stopped at a road side village. A woman prepared fresh chapatti, hot off the wood fired chulha, and leafy vegetable fried in oil. There was no fancy cutlery in which the food was served, we at the food from a common vessel. The simple food, at the state of body and mind we were in, tasted like a divine blessing. We consumed the meal ravenously sitting on the mountain trail, with high mountain on one side, a fast moving river below, a meadow on another side flanked by another mountain peak. In later part of my life, I had the opportunity to eat gourmet meal served with much elegance, yet nothing could erase the taste of humble chapatti and saag that I ate on a mountain trail.
Note : The present post is written in response to Indispire prompt. More posts in response to the prompt may be found here.