The Greatest Meal I Never Had

The Greatest Meal I Never Had

It’s 10:00 AM in Chicago and the following just arrived via email:

“Welcome to ChicagoNow’s Morning Blogapalooz-Hour!

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to publish a post in one hour. Here is this morning’s challenge:   ‘Write about the greatest meal you’ve ever had.’

The point of this exercise is to do it no matter what so don’t bail. Be creative, enjoy the process. Use words, images or video. Whatever you need to tell your story.

Be aware of the time. No matter when you finish, please wait until 11 a.m. to publish.”

I’m in Colorado now, so it’s really only 9:00 AM in my head. Theoretically, that gives me 2 hours to finish this piece, but that, too is only in my head.

I had a great bowl of something called frutti di mare a couple weeks ago. It was a kind of a seafood stew with linguini at the bottom. It was awesome.  I soaked up every last drop of it with garlic bread.

We were at an Italian place called Carlucci in Rosemont, Illinois. It was in the lobby of a hotel or convention center out there and they had valet parking, which can be a bad sign.

As expected, it was a bit pricey, but the food was terrific, the ambience was both cozy and energetic and we were with some good friends, which made the whole thing a very positive experience.

The problem I have with any meal is also located up there in my head, along with so many of what we Hebraic Americans call meshugas.

I don’t bring it up as any kind of bragging right, it’s just something that’s been pinging around in my head for a very long time. At some point during just about any great meal, an image of Alyssa Milano appears in my head, followed closely by another image, one of a very malnourished young child.

It wasn’t always always Alyssa Milano, although I confess to having a thing for here during her “Who’s the Boss?” years.

In high school I did some food bank kind of work with a group called the Catholic Interracial Council. In the aftermath of the riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King, I helped deliver food to shelters around the city.

It wasn’t so much of of an altruistic gesture as it was a matter of me enjoying driving around the city in someone else’s van.

None of this makes me any kind of great humanitarian. It’s just something that has always been there, nagging in the dark recesses of my brain. There’s plenty of stuff back there banging around that I wouldn’t be very anxious to share, especially not in this space.

Right now there’s a lot of folks out there snickering about me being a bleeding heart liberal. I’m not sure that’s true, but I also don’t see it as any great insult.

The thing is, there’s a lot of hungry people out there. 20 million kids in America go to bed – and I use the word “bed” in its loosest interpretation – without knowing from where their next meal is coming.

Probably hundreds more millions of hungry kids around the world.

I don’t know why any of this bothers me, but it does. Billionaires are becoming more common than Starbucks and they live lives of extraordinary excesss. Just seems there ought to be some way to put some of that vast wealth to good use.

And no, I don’t consider gold-plated toilets on an airplane good use.

Perhaps advancing age will wipe all these thoughts from my addled brain. Perhaps not. A world without hunger is probably a long shot, although I still buy Powerball tickets.

In any case, I’m still hoping that the greatest meal of my life is yet to come.

Filed under: Commentary, Editorial

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