I’m impressed when people post photos on Facebook of exotic, complicated looking meals that they just whipped up. I wish that I’d been invited. But that was not to be. The meal was always over – eaten by the time it was memorialized in a picture.
The photograph always showed a more elaborate dinner than what I’d planned and was a hell of a lot more exciting than chicken, string beans and red potatoes. That’s the old standby dinner I prepare, when I don’t feel like cooking.
My eyes soaked up the picture and while that frequently created a sensation of excess saliva in the mouth — more commonly known as mouthwatering anticipation of a fine meal – it wasn’t enough. There was no scent — no aroma. There was no taste, no sensation of saltiness, smoothness, or roughness as each bite slid down my throat. There was no crispness of poultry skin or juiciness of a perfectly cooked rare steak.
The sparkle of the silver, the flowers on the table, the dazzling wine or water glasses announced that it would be a distinctive culinary experience. The table shouted that the food would be something special.
Every once in a while, I become motivated to create a new dish and Sunday night cooked a recipe from a recent Wall Street Journal article – Chicken Tabaka with Green Bean Borani – a classic dish from the Republic of Georgia. It’s full of garlic, cilantro, yogurt, various chopped fresh herbs – and is, according to the title, a Bribe-Worthy Chicken Dish. The spices are just different enough from the usual chicken dinner to awaken the senses, to make me sit up in amazement that ordinary ole chicken could have such unusual flavors and be so tasty.
My father, Maury and I enjoyed this meal, accompanied with rice. While we all agreed it was very good, I mentally raced to analyze what spices could have been more pronounced. It want it to be even better next time. In case you want to try it, here’s the recipe.