8/01/2006

Too Darn Hot

Once, in a boring meeting, I started to list my most memorable meals of all time. They were easily catagorized: meals where the people and circumstances were unforgettable and meals where the food itself seemed to awaken me from a sleep.

A lunch in Helsinki many, many years ago is an example of the latter. I was visiting some friends in Finland and their father invited me to lunch at a restaurant that specialized in all things Finnish. The glassware was by iittala, the tableware by arabia, table linens by Marimekko, in a room looking out on the Baltic and Helsinki itself. Still all of this paled next to a meal which couldn't have been more straightforward: smoked salmon, dilled potatoes, and a glass of white wine. The simplicity and elegance of that lunch along with the eye-opening zing of dill and salmon together made me feel as if I lived in a beautiful world.

Smoked salmon and dilled potatoes have become a menu favorite for the past 20 years: great for my own birthday meal when I don't want to cook, wonderful for New Year's Eve because it goes so well with champange. I have tried and occasionaly succeeded in recreating the sublime, but firsts are hard to beat.

Last night the old favorite became my ace in the hole because it was just too hot to do much about dinner. I boiled some of the smallest red bliss potatoes I could find, made up a quick sauce of dill and mustard, and put the smoked salmon on a platter. That was it.

We were all too broiled by the summer heat to eat too much or linger at the table. The Girl and the little boy next door wanted to get back to the sprinkler as soon as they could, so it was a short and functional meal. Not overly exhausted from "cooking," I even helped with the clean-up.

2 comments:

SF Mom of One said...

I agree, smoked salmon is the best. (Next to oysters. Or maybe next to sake sashimi (so close).

Lox style, scandanavian style, northwest Native American style: different styles for different days.
Yum.

texas sue said...

One of my most memorable meals is a breakfast I shared with SF mom of one, and it involved oysters: In Seattle, we went down to the Pike Place market early in the morning and persuaded an oyster salesman to serve us oysters on the half shell. Paired with espresso, it was one of the most sublime meals ever! (Don't try to duplicate this one at home.)