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Vol. 6, No. 21 | A Proper Meal
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been spending the past few days driving around Florida. I needed this. It’s amazing how refreshing getting back to the simple enjoyment of good food with good people can be. Nothing nourishes the soul and revitalizes the body faster.
Here’s what else I’ve been thinking about:
I really enjoy small-town America. I realized this a few years ago when I went to Cape Charles, Virginia. This idyllic town became one of my favorite places ever. People seem nicer in small-town America. Maybe it’s the water. It feels far removed from everything.
I walked to the beach in Destin, FL just to see the Caribbean-esque blue water for a few seconds. When I got back to the condo, my mom asked me if I wanted some tea. It was 3pm, time indeed for an afternoon cuppa. No scones or biscuits were on hand, but some gluten-free crackers made it feel like a proper meal.
Jamaica is a British colony, and while afternoon tea is common in both places I find that the similarities pretty much end there with food and drink. I think we’re far more passionate about food, drink, and pleasure in a way that’s similar to the French or the Italians.
Starbucks is having some weird type of shortage. There are only a few places that I stop at on the road. Starbucks is one of them. I’ve been to about five already this trip and most of them are out of oat milk. At one of the stores, someone explained that there is a shortage of several things company-wide. I finally found a location with oat milk on the drive to Sanibel Island, the next stop on our tour. They said they picked it up at the store.
I was so excited to get to Sanibel Island to eat some fresh grouper. In my mind, I loved grouper. Turns out I don’t. Or maybe the preparations have been mediocre. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but the excitement has been knocked out of me.
On our first night in Sanibel, our server—who also turned out to be a farmer—remarked that there weren’t many great food options. Apparently, the restaurant we were at is one of the few from scratch places in the area. This might explain my grouper dilemma. He directed us to a place that I’ll try tonight. The chef was a James Beard finalist in 2019 for Best Chef in the South, so I’m expecting good things.
I’ve been reading M.F.K. Fisher’s The Art of Eating. This book was made for me. I had the above thought about good food and good people before I read the most perfect section:
“Dining partners, regardless of gender, social standing, or the years they’ve lived, should be chosen for their ability to eat—and drink!—with the right mixture of abandon and restraint. They should enjoy food, and look upon its preparation and its degustation as one of the human arts. They should relish the accompanying drinks, whether they be ale from a bottle on a hillside or the ripe bouquet of a Chambertin 1919 in a great crystal globe on finest damask. Then, with good friends of such attributes, and good food on the board, and good wine in the pitcher, we may well ask, When shall we live if not now.”
Hope you’re all well!
(Line of Duty…I just had to toss it in somewhere.)