What's The Best Meal You've Ever Had?

That's the question I received not too long ago while I was teaching a little class one day.   I opened the class up for questions and I usually get the "What's your bread recipe?" question.  I answer that I could tell them, but I would swiftly have to cut their heads off.  Top Secret you know:)  But instead I got this question posed to me.  The funny thing about it is, I didn't hesitate for 2 seconds.   I know what the best meal I've ever eaten is.  I have a testimony of this meal.  I've eaten it all the days of my life, and my children are now raving mad men for this meal.  I will admit that there have been many a beautiful meal in my lifetime.  How about the Firecracker Fish in Kauai years ago, or the first fish taco I ever had.  Another is a turkey I practically molested with tons of butter and fresh herbs and cooked to complete perfection. Or even the halibut I ate at Hamilton's this last weekend.  They were all pretty wonderful meals, but the winner in my books is none other than fresh beans with red potatoes and bacon, sliced fresh tomatoes, and homemade corn on the cob.  That's it!  Simple as can be, but there is nothing on this planet that I like better.  Perfection on a plate.

Growing up we never planted a garden at my own home, but my grandpa Barker lived next door and he had the most beautiful garden.  I spent most of my mornings a few summers in a row weeding that lovely little garden.  Actually it was enormous!  It took my sister Hollie and I weeks to weed the rows of parsnips.  My grandpa fed all Pleasant View I believe.  And thanks to his garden we were never in need of fresh produce all summer long.  My grandpa would stop by early in the morning with the entire trunk of his little Mercedes full of goodness.  He'd bring in grocery bag after grocery bag of stuff.   It would all then be eaten up as quick as possible by our little family. One day I remember walking over to my grandpa's house to beg a few more beans off him.  I was in the mood for "The Perfect Meal".  I remember being downright mad as I walked home empty handed.  I wasn't mad at my grandpa.  He was a generous soul and would have given me his last bean if he had one, but someone in the town of Pleasant View knew how wonderful his beans were too.  For a few weeks in a row they had waited until my grandparents, and the rest of the neighbors as well, had gone to church and then rape and pillage my grandpa's bean patch.  They took them all.  Week after week.  I remember wondering why my grandpa hadn't picked the beans on Sat. to stop the robbers.  He would just leave a fruit laden bean patch ripe for the stealing.  Finally it came to me.  My grandpa must have wanted the robbers to have the beans.  Maybe they needed them.  Maybe they would starve to death without the beans.   My grandpa was giving again to others.  What a good man!

Even to this day I remember the story of my grandpa's beans every time I'm in my garden.  I love beans, but I love the lesson I learned from those beans as well.  A kind generous heart will always make life sweet.  Even if you have to go without beans once in a while:)

My Perfect Meal

Fresh beans snipped 
washed red potatoes quarted

In a large pot cook the beans and potatoes together until both are tender.  About 20 mins. or so.  In a fry pan cook anywhere from 1/2 -1lb. of chopped up bacon.  I usually cut it into 1/2 inch slices right through the plastic and then dump it into a pan.  Fry until nice and crispy.  Pour the bacon and some of the grease onto the beans and potatoes.  I'll admit I add a lot of the the bacon fat.  It makes the beans taste so wonderful.  Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!!


  1. MMMM! Sounds good! I am so impressed that you could actually narrow it down to 1 recipe! I asked myself the same question when I read your post title. Basically whatever meal I am eating at the moment is my favorite! MMMMM FOOD!

  2. Every meal I eat at your house is the Best Meal I've ever had!

  3. That sounds so good, I am totally going to make it. I was thinking about the title and I don't think I could possibly choose ONE best meal but I have warm fuzzies when I think about the creamy potatoe, pea, carrot soup my mom would make straight from her garden in the summer. Of course we would have a slice of homemade whole wheat bread toasted then topped with mayonaise, fresh tomatoes and s & p. mmmmmm-mmmmm!!!!

  4. you've got me thinking about the best meal i've ever had...and i'm still thinking. how can you narrow it down? perhaps i haven't gained my "best meal ever testimony" like you have. you always make me smile and hungry when i read your blog.

  5. Lisa, The best meal is less about the food and more about who you are enjoying it with. I remember a meal in Mazatlan with our entire family, forgot what we ordered but will never forget the feeling of being with my favorite people. That's why Thanksgiving is such a great time. Dad

  6. I remember those Sunday bean thieves. Mom was so upset to think someone would do such a thing, but dad, like you said, never said much. The silly thing is, he would have given the whole patch to them if they had asked. Now they have to live with a quilty conscience the rest of their lives.

    I have to admit I love beans,and bacon and red potatoes too.

    Another is fresh creamed peas and red potates.

    Oh and the baked parsnips that your grandpa grew.

    I miss a garden.




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