Saturday, March 10, 2007
Afternoon (exact time unknown, I was not keeping track)
East coast of Cozumel, Mexico

Pictured above is the best tasting beer I have ever sipped in my life. The Sol beer was light and delicious and the added lime all the more refreshing. But, it was not the quality of the beer that put this one over the top. During the past week while on vacation, I was reminded just how much pleasure from food and drink is derived from your surroundings while consuming it; the smells of your environment, the sounds around you, the people you are with, the energy of the place and the events of your day before and after indulging.

I admit that food experience isn’t always about external factors. Some of the best tasting bites of banana cream pie may come with the upper half of your body in the refrigerator at midnight. And reactive eating, like two donuts on a bad day, can cure many ills. But, I had a bit of an epiphany last week when I realized that my all time best food experiences are when the food and drink are added punctuation on an already wonderful moment in my life.

After touring the coast of Cozumel in a rented Jeep, my husband and I stopped for a refreshment break, which is when this beer was set on the table in front of me. My lips still tasted salty from the snorkeling at the previous beach, my hair was wind-blown and stuck to the sides of my face and my skin felt slightly tight from the sun and salt. We were near the end of a much-needed vacation during which I took a complete break from technology and all work. The breeze wafted over us rustling the palm frond roof and the sound of the waves and some Mexican flute music floated through the air. Relaxed and content, I sipped that cold beer, marveling with each swallow at how good it tasted, all the while feeling lucky to be alive.

This beer was one of many momentous food and drink moments for me last week. My suitcase is filled with recipes scratched on scraps of paper here and there. As I unpack, stay tuned for a Mexican inspired feast…