A Feast to Remember
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a Lebanese feast with a group of dear friends. The feast was a true culinary delight, with an array of delectable dishes that seemed endless. Somewhere around the sixth course, I lost count, and it became evident to everyone, even the restaurant staff, that we couldn’t possibly consume more. They kindly informed us that there would be no additional dishes.
Reflecting on this feast, it struck me how, in the past, I’ve often prepared feasts or mini feasts for myself. While I’m confident in my cooking skills, there was something uniquely special about the flavours of this particular meal that stood out. After some contemplation, I realised that the missing ingredient in my solo culinary adventures was a secret one.
A Taste of Nostalgia
As I savoured each bite at the feast table, memories of my childhood flooded back to me. I remembered my father manning the barbecue, the mouthwatering aroma of the meat, and my mother working her magic in the kitchen. My father used to take a piece of freshly grilled meat, place it in a piece of Lebanese bread, and hand it to me to savour. I can still vividly recall the taste – it was the best food I’d ever had.
Growing up, I began assisting my father with the barbecue. Sometime with my mother I would prepare the salads and other dishes together. We chatted, tasted the food we were making. The separate components tasted divine. It was when we gathered at the feast table, where my father broke the bread and passed it on to us after giving thanks for the food, that the magic truly happened. It was a taste that stayed with me through the years, a taste I had been longing for until last week. I knew that the secret ingredient lay in there because it made everything taste so much better. But it eluded me.
In my late teens, my family began entrusting me with the barbecue duties. I recall one memorable day at my uncle’s farm, where I manned the barbecue while my uncle sat beside me, chatting away. I did all the cooking, and we both enjoyed tasting the meat as it sizzled. Those moments of tasting the meat always gave me a glimpse of the feast to come, where all the dishes would unite to create something whole. It taught me to look forward to the culmination of our efforts at the feast.
The Secret Ingredient Unveiled
Through all these experiences the secret ingredient lay in the sharing of the food. It made everything taste so much better. I don’t know how I had missed it when I started preparing the food for myself after moving to Australia.
The Recipe for Joy
As the Advent season approaches, this story serves as a reminder to anticipate what lies ahead. What we have now is just a fragment of the whole, a mere foretaste of what is to come. It’s not unlike the Bread and Wine of Communion, offering us a glimpse of the heavenly feast.
The secret ingredient, I’ve come to realize, is sharing it with family and friends. It’s the love, the laughter, and the togetherness that make every meal a feast worth savoring.