Intrepid Optimist is the place where I can share my stories; fact, fiction and thoughts from the past and present. It’s Written by myself for people who believe adventure knows no age
No doubt, you all have your best meal stories to share, so I should feel no reluctance in passing on, possibly repeating, because best meal stories bear repetition.
The unsurpassed plate of Lobster I have ever eaten was not in an elegant, Michelin starred restaurant, but at Ayangi, in a sun-bleached, caned roofed, wooden lean-to on a beach by the Pacific Ocean. An aged, native woman ran the small place and did the cooking herself, with a skinny, fair-skinned girl, no more than a child, to help her. Her kitchen, a six ring, dilapidated and rusting cooker was in the half-open rear of the shack.
The live lobsters, their claws tied together with string, were stored in two yellow, plastic buckets filled with brackish water. She killed them by dropping them into a cauldron of boiling water. Seemingly unaware of the heat, with her knarred mahogany fingers she hooked crustaceans out by the string, split them in half with a treacherous looking machete and threw the halves, flesh down, into a large, blackened frying pan. That ancient woman had no idea that the heavenly langosta dishes she was serving was considered at the time of being one of the classics of gourmet cooking.
Earlier, over nothing, my friend and I had quarrelled. We had been in disagreement all afternoon about some triviality and now in silence, we sat opposite each other at one of the five small, primitive bamboo tables. In a rare show of annoyance, she ridiculed the Spanish in which I had ordered two cold beers and the lobster; that shrimp ceviche and a goat stew being the only dishes on offer.
The blood-red sun was disappearing and the daylight vanished with that tropical swiftness. Two naked yellow lights, hanging on long cords, swayed a little, casting bizarre shadows over the table. Further along the beach, and hardly visible in the approaching darkness, a trio, two guitarists, and a singer were entertaining the customers at a neighbouring restaurant.
We savoured those simply prepared but delectable lobsters, set before us on enamel plates, with a sensual slowness. A wind was blowing from the sea and neither of us spoke but when our meal came to its inevitable end, we sighed with satisfaction and automatically raised our glasses of beer to salud each other. We both smiled – our squabble instantly vanished, forgotten. That sweet friend, whose name I no longer recall has long gone; vanished into the swirling mists of time. But the memory of that lobster, never.
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