Playing Favorites

Martha Stewart
"Having consumed something like 75,000 meals in my lifetime, it is a daunting task to pick a favorite." Read Martha Stewart's essay, "Playing Favorites" Plus: Share your greatest meal with the editors.Todd Coleman

Having consumed something like 75,000 meals in my lifetime, it is a daunting task to pick a favorite. There was that first meal in Paris, in a rustic, low-ceilinged restaurant on the ground floor of the Hotel Scandinavie, where homemade charcuterie was the mainstay of a menu that surprised and delighted me, an 18-year-old fashion model on her first trip abroad. There was my first fancy dinner in New York, with my husband-to-be and his brother and sister-in-law, at Henri Soule's Le Pavillon in the Ritz Tower, where I feasted on quenelles de brochet, finely roasted duck (deftly carved table-side), and a giant ile flottante for dessert. Oh, or my last dinner at the old, elegant Lutece, with a potential secret lover, where the food and wine more than equaled his seduction and actually canceled it out. Or that astonishing piece de resistance prepared by Alain Ducasse himself at his fanciest restaurant, the Louis XV in the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo: perfectly braised poulet de Bresse and tender white turnips, which melted in my mouth. And I'll never forget the lunch prepared by a group of Buddhist monks in old Shanghai in the early 1980s, where tofu was fashioned, according to secret recipes, into exacting vegetarian equivalents of lobster, pork, chicken, and beef. Was my greatest meal really something a great chef made for me? Yes, maybe—but it could just as easily have been something I made for others. The slab of pain de seigle rye bread mounded with buttery, scrambled homegrown eggs and giant globs of golden osetra caviar (pre-ban, of course) for Christmas breakfast, perhaps, or the fiery lobster fra diavolo I like to serve in Maine atop spaghetti. Or my homemade fettuccine egg noodles tossed with butter, aged Parmesan, and a king's ransom of shaved white truffles, with a simple salad of buttercrunch lettuce from the garden. Oh, don't make me choose! —Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

See all of the 25 Greatest Meals Ever