Husband, Daughter, and I went out for a nice dinner last night. It was a way to celebrate spring break and probably our last opportunity to go out as a family for quite a while. The food was wonderful and the conversation was easily some of the best we’ve ever had as a family. On the way home, we got to talking about best things we’ve ever eaten.
Daughter shared that hers could be the Dole Whip in Disneyland, which was eaten slowly inside the Tiki Room where we watched and heard “the birds sing words and the flowers croon.” She didn’t once say it was delicious. She never described its creamy sweetness or how it’s so cold and satisfying on a hot California day. She never said that it was somehow even better than eating an incredibly ripe pineapple, the juice running down your elbow. What she said was, “I was so happy.”
Husband told us that he’s had many neat foods. There was the reconstituted bullion cube he had after his bowel surgery. After four days of no food he swore it was the most delicious thing he’d ever tasted. There was the ploughman’s platter in the English pub on our first day in London, a time both of us remember with love for every moment. But the one in first place was a ham and cheese sandwich eaten while he was a child after he, his dad, and a group of his dad’s friends had been hunting in the bitter cold. They dragged a deer back to the cabin and ate sandwiches prepared by his mom earlier. He was even given a drop of Jack in his coke. He felt like a man that day; it was incredibly powerful for him. This dining experience, and that’s what it was, and experience, was the ultimate food in his mind.
I couldn’t necessarily think of mine. There were fantastic foods that stood out to me throughout so many times. The cakes my mom baked for me on my birthdays were somehow magically good. There were nachos in a cheap hotel on the way from New Jersey to Colorado when I knew that I was doing the right thing because I would always love this man in front of me. There was a grilled cheese made by the hospital right after Daughter was born, the first food I had eaten in 40 weeks which tastes good and like I thought it should. I had a Disneyland one, too, and it was that in which made me think.
The food itself wasn’t always the best in these memories. Don’t get me wrong, a Dole Whip is freaking delicious, but it’s so not about the food. The experiences happening around our best of the best, I really believe that’s what makes them so good. It’s also why that Dole Whip will never taste quite the same. Those cakes made with the same mixes won’t ever be right. Because I will never be twelve again, sitting in a damp bathing suit at the table with a few of my best friends, dreaming of a boy with brown hair, and wondering if I could make myself grow up just a little faster. If you get a best of the best, look around. You’re very likely in the middle of a fantastic moment.