It's a question I frequently ask myself and others, what would be your last meal ? I secretly ponder the idea on a daily basis and the answer always changes. You might ask why such an inquisition? Is it because I'm preparing myself for the 2012 doomsday prediction or is just that I worry about these sort of things. The reason is simple, it's a great conversation starter or commonly known as the "ice breaker".
I trace the questions roots back to my summers at the C'est Si Bon Cooking School in Chapel Hill,NC. My mentor and friend Dorette Snover and I ask this question at the first meal we eat together with the teen chefs, who come from all over for a one week southern cooking extravaganza. It starts a waterfall of answers, more questions and controversies. Some have said they want 100 courses, some only 3 . Though some have said that there last meal wouldn't really be all that enjoyable, so it doesn't matter what they would consume in their final moments. To me it matters because food is the first and foremost thing on my brain and I sure hope it would be the last (is that troubling?). In all seriousness though I wouldn't have 100 courses or 3, I would have one thing, just one. All I ask is that I enjoy it in good company with friends and family. It would be like a potluck of final meals. So as of today, at this moment my final "dish" would be mussels meunière, a perfect way to make an exit.
Mussels were the first "exotic" thing I ever ate. I had fallen madly in love with the steaming bowl of wine drenched mollusks when my dad had offered me one when I was 8 years old. I mopped the bottom of the bowl with large torn chunks of grilled bread. When I finished, it was as if there was no mussels to begin with. The mussels had comforted me in a strange way. It was then that I had realized that food is just more then something we feed ourselves with. I had come from eating to live to living to eat. So I hope my final meal inspires you to look at food in a new light and to embark on a new culinary journey.
Now its your turn! Let's get this conversation rolling and tell me what your final meal would be. Plus if you send in a recipe with a picture and an explanation your final meal might just end up right here on Heirloom!
Eat in good company,
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 lb mussels
1/2 cup white wine
8 fl oz. clam juice
5 sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon, halved
Fresh parsley, chopped
Use just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large sauté pan. On medium high heat brown the garlic and shallots, be careful not to burn. Add the mussels and deglaze the pan with white wine followed by the clam juice. Nestle the sprigs of thyme on top of the mussels, give the pan a good shake, bring to a simmer and cover. Cook until all the mussels have opened, about 2-3 minutes. Uncover and add the butter giving the pan another good shake. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately with torn chunks of good bread.