Hooks for Cooks™

All American MealsIt’s time for my culinary year in review.

Now that it’s January, I like to go through my mental file cabinet and revisit some of  my taste memories from the prior year. 

It’s also when I like to make mental predictions about the year ahead.  I ask  myself, what was my most special meal for 2009?   What will the relevant trends be for 2010?

While enjoying my coffee this morning, I read The Seattle Times’s Pacific Northwest magazine’s Taste Column. Written by Greg Atkinson and entitled “State of the Art,” the article essentially covers some of Seattle’s top chefs and a dinner they enjoyed last  April at Canlis Restaurant.

The article also quotes Ruth Reichl, the former Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine, and presents her opinion.  Overall, the article tries to predict how Seattle’s high end restaurants will manage in the current economic environment. Of course, any predictions in today’s economy are dicey at best. 

The article, however, did remind me to review a meal I had at Ray’s Boathouse a couple weeks ago. Ray’s has always been one of my favorite restaurants  in town. (See my 1997 NY Times review.) And, yes, our once-a-year meal there was lovely.    However, our  meal  for two with wine, appetizers, main courses, and a dessert, set our personal checkbook back nearly $200.  Our dinner was a very special treat  and, of course, we will try to return again next December to happily support a top notch local business.

This morning, I also started to think about one of my favorite meals for 2009. It’s funny, because this meal didn’t take place in a fine dining room. There was no trendy china. There were no fancy paintings on the walls or elaborate wine lists. There was a picnic table, a fire pit, and our 23-foot travel trailer parked nearby.

The meal took place on the Washington Coast at our favorite Washington State Park. Our children were racing around on bikes, and the weather was sublime. The Pacific Ocean roared behind the dunes. The table was set with a blue and white checked oil cloth, and the plates were paper.  The wine was being stashed in our large Coleman cooler, and locally purchased wild salmon was being wrapped in Reynolds foil.   Pacific oysters, purchased just that day from Brady’s Oyster Farm and covered with barnacles, were gently sizzling and spitting over the wood burning fire. 

Was my most memorable meal fancy or expensive? No.  Was it satisfying, delicious, and eaten communally by adults and children alike? Absolutely. Without a doubt, I think 2010 will see more basic family friendly meals being served in simple all-American locales.

Happy New Year!

2 Responses to “Predicting Down Home All-American Meals”

  1. Beth (Metzner) Miller

    Happy New Year Missy. Good to see you survived the Holidays. Christine and I would both like Grammy’s saurbraten recipe. Cozy dining room and hope person seated with sideboard right behind them didn’t have to get up! Beth

  2. Jarrod Sports

    Very good article. I’ve found your blog via Yahoo and I’m really glad about the information you provide in your posts. Btw your blogs layout is really broken on the Chrome browser. Would be great if you could fix that. Anyhow keep up the good work!

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