The Burger King at a service station in Florida on route from Miami to Orlando at the age of 8. The pulled pork and burnt ends accompanied by five sides – yes, five – at Bodean’s with my friend Harry, washed down with beers, margaritas and finished off with a couple bottles of cheap wine in Soho. The granola with yoghurt and apple compote in Siem Reap, Cambodia, after three weeks of nondescript scrambled eggs and bad bread for breakfast through Laos.
The lightest cream-filled meringue…things my mum and I spent 45 minutes searching for in Paris, then smashing brie into a torn apart baguette with a plastic knife and our fingers on the Eurostar back to London. The Full English my friend Jamie cooks for twelve of us every year before SW4 festival, chased down with cider. The packed lunch French sticks my dad would make us for trips to the beach on holidays in Europe – ham with the freshest, reddest, juiciest tomatoes, salt and – inevitably – sand.
The best meals you’ve ever eaten won’t necessarily have been Michelin starred, but I bet you remember who you were with, where you sat (or stood, for that matter) and I bet you can still remember how it tasted. I bet you remember how you felt afterward. Fast food off an American highway? Unorthodox, sure, but I will never forget how good that burger tasted, how hungry we had been on such a long journey. It’s the first distinct memory I have of savouring and really enjoying what I was eating.
For me, good food is intrinsically linked with happiness. Joy is to be found in food. This website is about documenting only the great places to eat in the parts of the world I have travelled, lived, visited. Because although one of my most loved meals may well be a sandwich with sand in it, it helps if the food is something a little special, too. Paying for bad food is never fun.
The idea behind First We Eat? The clue is in the name. Whenever you book a holiday, be it beachside or a city break, the next port of call is usually to ask people for recommendations, right? Things to do, places to eat. First We Eat is exactly that. I don’t put anything up on here that I wouldn’t recommend to my own family and friends, that I wouldn’t enthuse to them about. I don’t know about you, but as soon as I get off the plane, dump my bags, it’s all “shall we grab a bite to eat?” Planning a catch up with a friend and food choices are fired back and forth over email until we settle on somewhere to try out. A great meal is more often than not the central focus of a special occasion.
First We Eat, then everything else.