A Satisfying Meal
There was a foodie who traveled the world searching for the most satisfying, most delicious meal. He usually ate alone and when he did eat with others he demanded silence while he analyzed the tastes and feelings that the food engendered. He partook of the rarest of animals and plants, prepared by the world’s greatest chefs. He accompanied his meals with the oldest and most expensive wines. He kept detailed notes on the meals he had eaten and he was constantly reviewing his experiences, looking for ever newer, ever more perfect meals.
After many years and thousands of meals, he could not say he had experienced the most sublime of food experiences. He never felt sated. He still felt empty after every meal. The man redoubled his efforts and consumed larger quantities of the finest foods and drink till he was very fat. And still, he felt empty. He always went to bed craving more.
On one trip to a far corner of the world, this foodie was stranded in a unremarkable town. There were no restaurants of note and it was very late. He had resigned himself to going to bed hungry, when his cab driver said, “My family and I always have enough food to share. Please be my guest for the evening.”
The foodie was skeptical. After all, what could this unworldly slob know of great meals? But he had no other option, so he agreed to eat with the cabbie’s family.
When they arrived at the cabbie’s home the foodie was immediately disappointed. The house was a hovel in a slum. The floor was dirt, the walls were rotting plywood, and the roof was a tarp. There was no table, no chairs, but rather another piece of plastic on the ground. On the plastic were placed small plates of lentils and rice and flat bread. It did not look like enough food for one, let alone five. There was only a weak tea to drink. The foodie resigned himself to what he was sure would be the worst meal of his life.
The cabbie and his family prayed before eating, thanking God for his bounty. When they began to eat, the cabbie asked his wife how her day had gone. She described her workday at the factory down the road. Then the cabbie described the many fares he drove that day. Next, the children talked about their day at school and what they learned. The parents, not having attended school, had many questions for their children.
Finally, the cabbie turned to their guest, “And you, sir. What were your travels like? What wonders have you experienced?”
The foodie entertained them with a stories of the places he had visited in the past week and of the meals he ate. They listened, rapt and amazed, and asked many questions. At the end of the meal, the plates were clean and the foodie only remembered taking four bites. For dessert, the cabbie sliced an apple and shared it among the five of them.
That night the foodie lay on a straw mat over a hard, dirt floor. He was warm and oddly at ease. It was a strange sensation, as if his body wanted for nothing. He felt … full.