I’m one of those people who like to take a lot of photographs on vacation and one of my favorite things to photograph is a delightfully prepared and presented plate of food. Each plate of food that I take a picture of has a story behind it. This one comes to you from Roatan, which is a little island off the coast of Honduras. When we arrived at the restaurant at the wharf overlooking the ocean, the owner and a helper were just putting up the window shades and sweeping and acting (somewhat) like they were trying to get ready for business, which on the island moves a bit slower than it does here. We sat down at a table and eventually a young woman came up to us to inquire if we wanted something to drink. We eventually settled on the lemonade after getting reassurance that the water used was drinkable (something that we take for granted here but not something that to be taken for granted in other countries). When we indicated that we wanted to order some food the waitress looked a little perplexed. It seems that the cook had not showed up yet, but we were assured that she was on the way. We did finally manage to find something on the menu that we could start with (an order of nachos) as we waited for the cook to arrive. About 20 minutes later we were able to quell our hunger a bit with the appetizer and about 15 minutes after that were informed the cook was almost there and we could place an order. We decided to order a whole broiled fish that would feed the three of us. As I was on vacation, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the time, but it must have been about 20-30 minutes more when we noticed a boat pulling up to the wharf and we commented that it must be a fisherman. Shortly afterwards I got up to go to the bathroom. When I was walking back to the table I noticed the cook was actually in the kitchen with what looked like a freshly caught fish (not yet cooked and at least 30 minutes after we had order our meal). Again, since I was on vacation and not in a hurry, I found this pretty humorous and told my companions about my kitchen discovery and we delighted in the fact that although we had quite a wait, at least our fish would be fresh. It seems that after we placed our order (and the cook finally arrived) the fisherman was signaled to bring in some fish fresh from the mornings catch. When our meal arrived it was absolutely delicious. Fresh red snapper broiled and baked in a curry sauce with carrots, onions, and tomatoes and served with plantains. This amazingly fresh island meal was definitely worth the wait.
The moral of this story and why I’m sharing it with you is this. Make the time, even in the midst of your busyness, to have a truly leisurely meal. Whether you make it yourself or order it out, take your time to truly enjoy the experience and the people that you share it with. Why? There are many reasons, but I’ll give you two based on research findings. One, the food that you eat when you are not stressed is metabolized much better and efficiently and produces less weight gain. Yes, it’s true. And, secondly, people that share a meal with friends are happier people.
Send me your favorite food pictures and stories. I’d love to post them.