Life is Too Short for Doggy Bags

Vanessa - Ridgewood, New Jersey
Entered on April 3, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50

I had eaten like a bird for the last few days to prepare for the meal. My small stomach fills up quickly and I must choose each bite carefully to be able to taste everything, to dazzle my senses. I wanted to burn this meal at one of the best restaurants in New York City permanently in my memory bank of tastes.

I reached down under the white tablecloth to stealthily release my waist button. A sigh of relief escaped my lips as my overextended stomach rushed out to escape the confines of my silk-lined black dress pants. I leaned back in my chair, replaying the symphony of tastes I’d just devoured.

I started with seared foie gras with pears caramelized in balsamic vinegar, the tangy sweetness of the fruit counterbalancing the salty goose liver perfectly. I then opted for the slow-braised short ribs, so tender and rich that each bite made me sigh with pleasure. There were so many sides, I couldn’t eat more than a few bites of each: the crisp and salty Hen of the Woods mushrooms with their crazy twisted bodies, the fresh English peas, bright little bursts of spring explosions in my mouth, and the mashed potatoes, a testament to the magical marriage of potatoes and butter.

Having dessert was never a question, but it was hard to choose the perfect conclusion to such a flawless meal. I felt guilty ordering the chocolate souffle; it seemed like such a banal choice. One bite of the intense exotic dark chocolate paired with the startling contrast of a cool vanilla crème anglaise banished any notion of dullness. I cleaned out my ramekin, running my finger along the side before pronouncing myself perfectly satiated.

I was leaning back in my chair when I saw them: a towering rainbow of macaroons on a simple white plate. I was full, impossibly full, but I could not leave without experiencing these little puffs of egg white. Next morning, they would have a hint of staleness.

I limited myself to three: an amber-colored coffee, a gay strawberry, and a gaudy pistachio. I took little bites of each, slowly, closing my eyes, letting their taste flood my mouth.

When the waiter arrived to clear the table, he took in my ecstatic expression and asked me if I wanted to take the rest of macaroons home. I shook my head and smiled before saying, “No, thank you. I just want to remember them as they are tonight.”

I believe that you should never leave something amazing untasted, never be too full to experience something worthwhile. Life is too short to fill up doggy bags for treats to be savored another day.