What makes a great meal? The food world likes to wax rhapsodic about huge masterpiece feasts and scientific discoveries in the kitchen. A great meal somehow entails new flavors dancing across palates and luxury ingredients from far away places.
But the truth is, some of the greatest meals we've known have been much simpler. Friends gathered around in chaotic jumbles, happily gobbling up our homespun fare and laughing from somewhere deep within their bellies. The first juicy peach of summer, enjoyed on a hilltop with a view. The chicken soup that welcomes home a beloved friend from a long hospital stay.
That's why we loved this quote from La Brea Bakery and Pizzeria Mozza's Nancy Silverton.
In an essay called "Building the Perfect Pizza", Laurie Winer described a gathering of friends sampling Silverton's epic pizza days before Pizzeria Mozza opened. According to Winer, Silverton wasn't seeking their input or praise; the pizza had already been perfected. Instead, she was feeding people she loved, with the best food she knew how to make. Winer ends the essay with this quote from Silverton:
"This is how I judge a great meal, " she said. "When I'm eating it, I don't want to be anywhere else. That's how I want people to feel when they're eating my pizza."
"Building the Perfect Pizza" was first published in Los Angeles Magazine, September 2006, and was included in the anthology Best Food Writing 2007