Is answering such a question ever going to be possible ?
It all originated as Melissa’s idea, on her wonderful Traveler’s Lunchbox blog. And it was passed to me by Ximena from Lobstersquad, another of my favorite food blogs. I only wish I could draw like her!
The rules are simple. This joint project is asking every food blogger to name five things to eat before you die, before passing it to five other food bloggers. Imagine the LONG list!
As soon as I received the tag, I could feel my head spin with words, “This one”, “No that one”, “I don’t know”, “Really this one is a good one”, “Oh no I cannot write this”. Help! If you are as undecided as I can be at times, imagine the challenge!
My list will be the illustration of what I think I would like to eat before I die, if it caught me by surprise, or what I would recommend anyone to eat before he or she dies. Not necessarily the fancy stuff, but the good one that really talks to me.
I can still remember my first time eating bouillabaisse while we travelled to the South of France for our yearly vacation, au temps des grandes vacances. It all happened close to Toulon, in a restaurant I cannot even remember the name of, as I was so small. I fell in love with the dish right away, the fish (Rascasse — scorpion fish — Baudroie — angler fish — Rouquiers — wrasses — to name a few) and its broth, the rouille, the bread. An unforgettable experience. I have eaten bouillabaisse many times since then, and at every time, the love for this rustic dish is the same. Purists might say that it can only be made with fish from the Mediterranean coast, or they would argue that the dish has to include rascasse to be called a bouillabaisse. I am not going to be a purist but know when I eat a good bouillabaisse. It really takes me back to the South of France. Irresistible.
Une fraise sauvage ! Regarde ! Have you felt the joy of finding wild strawberries before? As a kid, I remember how happy I invariably was whenever we found wild strawberries during walks in the forest. I thought it was like une bénédiction tombée du ciel (a blessing falling from the sky). I always wondered how strange it was to find that these strawberries grew without care, and limited light. Hidden treasures. If you have never tasted one, you must now! I do not think I can describe how sweet and juicy they can be. It is as if, in each, there was a concentration of taste and flavor ready to burst out.
- Black Cod from Roy’s restaurant in Chicago
- A gourmet picnic at the top of a mountain, after hours hiking.
I find that food always tastes much much better at the top of a mountain, after I deserve it. Let me explain. Most of us are lucky to be able to eat what we want, when we want. And so, not to say that I enjoy to be starved — which would be pretty much a lie — I like to eat food after physical activity spent in Nature. After a hike, at the top of a mountain. The cherry on top of the cake for me. There is nothing that replaces this experience. Every time I do it, I just like it the same. Imagine lunch made of a sandwich with sourdough or focaccio bread, scallions, sun-dried tomatoes, grilled prosciutto, romaine salad, avocado slices and cucumber, with crispy Terra Cotta chips and a carrot salad , taken at the top this beautiful hike you just did. Of course, it always helps if it is sunny at the top! Pas folle, quand même ! (Not crazy, all the same!)
- Tartiflette with a big bowl of mâche
Oh, how clearly I can remember the taste of this fish melting in my mouth. My first time eating black cod marinated in a caramelized soy sauce happened at Roy’s, this Hawaiian, Fusion / Eclectic, Seafood restaurant in Chicago. Black cod is a fatty fish which flakes just disappear par magie (magically). Eat it where you can. Roy’s has its downsides. I find the restaurant noisy, with so many tables that it is impossible to imagine that you will be able to spend an intimate evening there because you pretty much have to push your vocal cords all the time. But their black cod! Just for the sake of that memory, I would go back, and would finish dinner with their Molten Chocolate Cake as well. Why not!
Give me cheese, give me potatoes and a green salad. The trio of simple food with great taste.
I like green salads of all kinds, but for me, la reine des salades vertes (the queen of green salads) is definitely going to be la mâche, also called doucette in French, (lamb’s lettuce). When it is young and freshly picked from the garden. As a kid, I was always fascinated to see that it could resist the first snow. So if with it, you have a tartiflette, this wonderful speciality from Savoie in France — potatoes cooked with melted Reblochon– this is heaven!
The task of choosing five other bloggers was as difficult as the making of this short list, but I would love to hear what those five people have to say: