25 Greatest Meals Ever

Twenty-Five Great Meals Issue Saveur
Twenty-Five Great MealsTodd Coleman

We all have one. Maybe it was the first taste of grilled kebabs from a busy street vendor in Istanbul that opened our eyes to the flavor and culture of that city. Or maybe it was something more familiar: a roast beef sandwich that someone special made for us when we were young, or a plate of fried fish we once shared with a good friend. It could be the eureka moment we had at the Michelin-starred restaurant in France or at the local Chinese takeout, or it could just be the refried beans that were always on the family table. The meals recounted here are more than mere experiences; they're symbols of who we are. No matter where they took place or what dishes were served, whether they occurred in a time of war or peace, of scarcity or plenty, they connect us. They remind us of the power of food, the comfort of memory, and the simple fact that every meal we sit down to has the potential for greatness. --The Editors

Mushroom Cappuccino (Bouillon de Champignons Comme un Cappuccino)
Mushroom Cappuccino (Bouillon de Champignons Comme un Cappuccino)
Michelin three-star chef Alain Chapel wowed author Gael Greene with this innovative "cappuccino", a rich, earthy soup made with mushrooms. To foam the broth, use the steamer attachment on a cappuccino machine, or froth it in a blender.Todd Coleman
Roasted Lamb Shoulder and Vegetables (Saneeyeh Bil Fern)
Roasted Lamb Shoulder and Vegetables (Saneeyeh Bil Fern)
This dish calls for slow-roasting lamb over okra, green beans, and eggplant until the lamb is tender and the vegetables have absorbed some of its juices.Todd Coleman
red wine
Karen Shimizu
"My mother and I sat at a long table under a persimmon tree in Sighnaghi, a village in the Republic of Georgia."
Read Karen Shimizu's essay, "Lifted Spirits"
Flickr member Etwood, CC licensed
sardines
Lolis Eric Elie
"The selling of seashells by the seashore is a famous profession, though generally not a lucrative one." Read Lolis Eric Elie's essay, "Young and Hungry"Flickr member DMahendra, CC licensed
turkey sandwhich
Dean Koontz
"No lunches or dinners in my life have been more memorable than sandwiches with my uncle Ray Mock, when I was a boy." Read Dean Koontz's essay, "Lunch Lessons"Flickr member FotoosVanRobin, CC licensed
Tom Yum Goong
Tom Yum Goong
Fragrant with lime juice and lemongrass, this hot and sour soup is based on a recipe from our friend Nancie McDermott, author of Real Thai (Chronicle Books, 1992). Get the recipe for Tom Yum Goong »Todd Coleman
Salata Adas (Garlicky Lentil Salad)
Salata Adas (Garlicky Lentil Salad)
This light, Lebanese lentil salad is flavored with lemon juice, cumin, allspice, and parsley.Todd Coleman
Suketu Mehta
Suketu Mehta
"One night last summer, I made a chile-spiked chili for my family: my parents, my sons, my partner, and her parents." Read Suketu Mehta's essay, "Fire in the Belly Recipe: Vegetarian ChiliTodd Coleman
meatballs
Dana Bowen
"The meatballs were left on our porch in a Farberware pot with a loaf of Italian bread and a note that said: 'Figured you wouldn't have time to cook.'" Read Dana Bowen's essay, "A Welcome Meal"
Recipe: Classic Meatballs
Todd Coleman
nutty spelt with sweet beets
Heston Blumenthal
Switch up your classic risotto with nutty spelt, sweet beets, and horseradish for that extra kick.Todd Coleman
mung bean
Betsy Andrews
"We laughed at the nutmeg-scented air escaping from the pillow beneath a plate of white bean puree, and at the garnishes arranged like hours on a watch: at one o'clock, a bay laurel leaf-vanilla gel; at nine, a mung bean sprout-sea grape salad." Read Betsy Andrews's essay, "Edible Art"Flickr member Jing a Ling, CC licensed
stone crabs
Francine Prose
"If, as Tolstoy wrote, every happy family is alike, he forgot to mention that every happy family can screw up birthdays in different ways." Read the full text of Francine Prose's essay, "Happy Birthday, at Last" in Issue #132 of SAVEUR
Recipe: Joe's Stone Crab Mustard Sauce
Todd Coleman
pork chops
Jane and Michael Stern
"Twenty years ago, we went to southwest Iowa and stayed awhile at the Tall Corn Motel in the town of Shenandoah." Read Jane and Michael Stern's essay, "Good Neighbors"
Recipe: Elegant Pork Chops
A.J. Wilhelm
Trout with Brown Butter and Almonds (Trout Meunière Amandine)
Trout with Brown Butter and Almonds (Trout Meunière Amandine)
Fried fish with a brown butter sauce and almonds is a French classic, and one of the most popular dishes at the beloved New Orleans restaurant Galatoire's.Todd Coleman
beagle dog
Rita Mae Brown
"Some people are connoisseurs of food. I'm a connoisseur of kindness." Read Rita Mae Brown's essay, "Going to the Dogs"Flickr member Bree Bailey, CC licensed
Apricot and Walnut Stuffing
Apricot and Walnut Stuffing
Author Marc Maron gave us this recipe for his showpiece Thanksgiving stuffing, studded with dried fruit and enriched with chicken livers.Todd Coleman
loofah
Chao Sigua (Stir-fried Loofah)
"It has always been on my to-do list to attain Zen enlightenment, and recently, I did." Read Daniel Pinkwater's essay, "Mystery Vegetable"Todd Coleman
coconut cake
Beth Kracklauer
"I'm seven years old, and the yeasty smell of baking rolls hangs heavy in the air at my great-aunts Minnie and Selma's apartment." Read Beth Kracklauer's essay, "Good Things to Come"Anna Stockwell
woman at a street market
Barbara Nadel
"A city as ancient and fabled as Istanbul is a repository for stories and secrets." Read Barbara Nadel's essay, "Street Theater"Todd Coleman
Refried Beans with Chorizo
Refried Beans with Chorizo
This simple refried beans recipe requires little more than pinto beans and chorizo.Todd Coleman
lemon
James Oseland
"My mother had just passed away. I was in the Bay Area to close up her apartment, and her 85-year-old best friend, Betty Badgett, invited me over for lunch." Read James Oseland's essay, "The Gift of Friendship"Flickr member Elaine with Grey Cats, CC licensed
jell-o salad
Monique Truong
"During the summer of 1975 in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Kochanowicz family of Shelby, North Carolina, introduced the Truong family, formerly of Can Tho, South Vietnam, and more recently of the nearby town of Boiling Springs, to an important American food group: Jell-O salad." Read Monique Truong's essay, "Lost in Translation"Michael Kraus
Sea Bream and Turnip Hot Pot
Tai Kabura (Sea Bream and Turnip Hot Pot)
The recipe for this elegant fish soup was inspired by the version served at Kitcho, the legendary Kyoto restaurant. The soup's deeply flavored broth, called dashi, gets its boost of umami flavor from kombu seaweed (a type of kelp) and dried bonito flakes, two staples of the Japanese pantry. See the recipe for Tai Kabura (Sea Bream and Turnip Hot Pot) »Kenji Miura
Brown Butter Pasta
Brown Butter Pasta
Chef Gabrielle Hamilton of New York City's Prune restaurant gave us her recipe for this delicious pasta, which is tossed in brown butter and pine nuts, then topped with sunny-side-up eggs.Todd Coleman
salad with radish
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"Todd Coleman