Most Memorable Meals

I've enjoyed (and suffered) many memorable meals over the years. You can't live as long as I have and eat as much as I do without a few highs and lows. So I thought I'd take a few moments to reflect on some of the most memorable meals I've had on my travels hither and yon. These do not include the many amazing, wonderful, and memorable meals the lovely Robin has lovingly prepared for me (and one or two of my own concoction, like the burnt hot dog turds I cooked up in Dayton in December 1979). But here are five or so that rank as among the most memorable:

St. Peter's Fish, Magdala, Israel. Fish doesn't get any fresher than this and, while a gourmand might turn up his nose at its ordinariness, it was in 1987 quite an adventure for me and the lovely Robin. I can tell you that I enjoyed it more than she, even after she covered the head with her napkin. We've since supped thrice on such fare during subsequent sojourns in Israel, I think.

Falafel, etc., by the Dead Sea. That's (l to r) David Joyce, my son Aaron, my daughter Aubrey, my niece Elissa Hamon, and Ellen Joyce Hernandez on our 2000 trip to Israel when we ate lunch at this outdoor restaurant by the Dead Sea. And where I and one other of our company got food poisoning. Musta been the gyro.

Maricuya fruit, Arequipa, Peru. The lovely Robin wouldn't touch it, but I was offered a maricuya during our 2009 mission trip to Peru. They also call it passion fruit, and it's basically a bunch of goo-encased seeds in a hard shell, which isn't so much eaten as it is sucked out and swallowed. Once I got past the appearance and consistency of the thing, it wasn't bad. It also possesses considerable healing qualities, for headaches, insomnia, colic, diarrhea, hysteria, neuralgia, menopausal symptoms and hypertension. I must say, I haven't had any menopausal symptoms since I had just the one maricuya. So it worked.

Llama, Cusco, Peru. Another new experience on our trip to Peru was my first taste of llama, which I had at a very nice restaurant on the plaza de armas in Cusco. Robin tried a bite, but I ate the whole thing. Sorta like venison. Very good. In fact, looking back, I'd have to say that all the food we had in Peru was excellent...though neither of us tried guinea pig, a staple of the Peruvian diet. Maybe next time.

Spaetzle, Strasbourg, France. On our 2010 visit to Germany and France, the lovely Robin and I had many memorable dining experiences (including one, a dish of cold herring that, when I ordered it, prompted odd glances from our gracious hosts; I had no idea what I was getting into, and managed to swallow just one bite). Other than that, however, all our meals in Germany and France were quite good, including this spaetzle (noodle) dish, with cabbage and pork mixed in, at a wonderful bistro in the historic Petite France section of Strasbourg, France. And the creme caramel we shared for desert was a lot of oo with some la la thrown in.

There are, of course, many more I could list, from the glass of Radler I had in Mannheim, Germany and a champagne brunch on the Queen Mary in L.A. to the "throwed rolls" at Lambert's in Missouri and the butternut squash ravioli at Paesano's, just up the street in Oxford. But I'm getting hungry, so I'll stop, and go get something to eat.

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