Yesterday I went to a baby shower for an in-law relative who lives four hours away. As we chose seats to settle into for the festivities, the smell of lighter fluid and pungent spices filed the air, as more guests trickled in. Grilled chicken was on the menu.
My family and I chatted amongst ourselves, watched the children play, reminisced on the old music playing, and took in the new tunes with interest. And, of course, we kept inhaling the delightful spicy chicken smell.
Presents were exchanged, a prayer was said, and then it was time to eat. We were treated to chicken leg quarters that were blackened with a crust of spices, and fried plantains and attieke, a West African couscous made of cassava, were also on the menu. I savored every bit of the chicken and plantains that I had.
We spent the night with relatives a couple of hours closer to home and debated getting more food for a post-dinner, but when we thought about it, we realized we weren’t really hungry enough for a full-blown meal. I ate a couple of oranges from the refrigerator instead. It has been a while since I had had oranges, and their sweet juciness was a revelation.
It was a long day of hastily eaten meals in the first half, but the second half of the day was punctuated with meals that reminded me of the importance of choosing simple foods with big flavors, something that seems to be key to satisfying meals.