Today I bring you a new twist on an old philosophical question
If you could eat a meal prepared by ANY person, living or dead, who would it be? Just as important as the “who” in this question, is what would the meal be?
I could spout off two very easy answers that would be so obvious and predictable to anyone who knows me. Two contemporaries; Anthony Bourdain or Thomas Keller. Bourdain is a – well, I hate to use the term “hero” – perhaps inspiration may be a better word. (Sorry Tony, but you need to spend more time on a motorcycle to be elevated to hero.) Thomas Keller is my other choice. You either know who he is and groaned at how obvious a choice he is or you may be living under a culinary rock. Google up “French Laundry” and ye shall be enlightened.
So, if I could only pick one person and put more thought into it, who would it be? Who could provide just the right balance of once-in-a-lifetime-dinner-date with a side order of good chow? Hmmm…Steve McQueen comes to mind; epic rider, interesting life, generally cool dude, an interesting dinner date for sure. But when you ask the “What’s for dinner?” question, nothing leaps to mind. I don’t even know if the man could cook a hot dog.
What about Hemingway? Someone I personally find interesting; well-traveled, a man of great experience, a hunter and outdoorsman. From ambulance driver in WWI to big game hunter in Africa, the man would have tales to share. This is a man I can imagine laying out an awesome table, probably a very carnivorous table of wild game. I have to admit a dark secret though; I don’t like his writing. It’s actually quite frustrating, because when I read what his books are about, they seem very appealing to me. Then I try to read it, and I just don’t care for his style. So, I worry that dinner with “Da’ Man” would have a similar result.
Now, let me tell you at this point in writing this, I am actually sitting here racking my brain for an answer. I am stuck – for real. Oddly, I have noticed not a single woman has crossed my mind. Am I ‘chef sexist’? I don’t think so, but Julia Child, as important to the world of cooking as she may be, just doesn’t leap off the plate. With few exceptions, most of today’s female celebrity chefs don’t excite me. I swear, if you, the reader, suggest Rachael Ray, I will reach through your screen and hit you with a very, very big spoon!
Maybe it’s time to think outside the refrigerator box on this one. I’ve been focusing on obvious choices…famous people. So, if the goal is an interesting meal and good conversation, maybe I should start with the meal…something I’ve had before, or something I’ve never eaten? Sometimes great food is found when and where you least expect it with someone actually having prepared it. Where have I had something that was a total surprise to find….? Dinner with the line cooks at that Ethiopian restaurant in DC maybe? Perhaps finally learn some Spanish and sit down with the family that runs my favorite taco stand?
Eh, the heck with it, this is getting too “deep.” I’m going for wing night. At least I can talk to the bar tender. If you have any choice ideas, let me know.