Best Meal of My Life

By Kara Richardson Whitely, author of Gorge and the upcoming memoir Weight of Being

This year, my husband Chris and I celebrated our lucky 13th anniversary.

We marked the occasion by going out to one of our town’s newest restaurants, Summit House, an upscale bistro offering elegant cuisine based on the Garden State’s edible bounty.

This was quite a treat for us, a departure from the family-friendly establishments we normally frequent with our three kids. But recently, we’ve been making a point to take time for each other more often. To share a meal away from our children and have fun together, as a couple. Doing so is delicious.

On this night, we had much to celebrate in our 13 years together: Three children. Three states. Five homes. Job changes. And so many other things.

So I wanted something really special. While I could see beautiful dishes coming out — piles of French fries artfully stacked and filling pasta — what really spoke to me were the Barnegat Light Scallops. Even though it was an appetizer, I wanted to order it as my dinner along with the roasted-beet soup.

The roasted-beet soup was perfection with a swirl of cream on top. It was just enough but more than I could have imagined. The mélange of Indian spices and coconut milk was divine.

The Barnegat Light Scallops were even better, served with a sweet potato puree base sweetened with a touch of maple. Everything was so beautifully and carefully prepared.

These dishes were about time, creativity, and absolute nourishment. I wasn’t going for quantity. I was going for quality. In our marriage together, that’s what I’ve been going for as well.

Chris is my partner in this world, the one who has loved me through all our trials and tribulations. For many years, I sat in isolation even while married. I worried about my problems alone. Then I turned to food.

As I created a healthy relationship with food, I had to turn to something else. I turned to Chris. I make a point to talk through bills or challenges with our children. I don’t hold it inside any more.

I’ve learned to slow down, not just with the food on my plate but in life. If I take time and talk things through, I know that I can create a greater solution, together, than I ever would alone.

This meal was about thriving in the past 13 years, plus four years of dating and even more years of friendship. We’ve learned how to help each other out — to support each other’s careers and ambitions — whether it be marathons or mountains.

This was far more than a meal. This was a celebration of partnership and a toast to a lifetime more.

Follow Kara on Connect @gorgegirl15

Read more posts from Happy Trails.