The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Best Meal I Ever Had

Serrasalmus rhombeus

I’ve lived in three continents and traveled to over 25 countries, and throughout my life I have had many fantastic meals all over the world, some rather formal and expensive and others totally opposite that. So, it would be very difficult for me to single out the most delicious meal based only on the flavor of the food, because environment and company probably have a greater impact on the experience than the food by itself.
However, perhaps the most memorable meal that I ever had was prepared by my father. In June of 1987 we went “fishing” in the Comandante Fontoura River, in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, close to the Xingu National Park. North Mato Gross is frontier country as wild as or even more wild than remote parts of Alaska, Canada or Africa.
One day my father decided to go out fishing only with my brother Rodolfo and me. We packed the bare essentials and would have lunch on whatever we fished. That was a very poor day and the only fish we caught was a rather large black piranha.
My father built a fire on a clearing and cooked the piranha the native way, on a high grill made of green branches above hot coals. The only seasoning we had was something called “Arisco”, a mix of salt, garlic and onions.
When the fish was done my father used a knife to lift the skins and we picked out its flesh with our fingers. We were either very hungry or the piranha was delicious, probably both.
The only thing that makes me said is that I will never eat like that again. My father passes away in May 2009.


  1. Rodrigo, isto me fez lembrar uma vez que estávamos acampados nas margens do rio Miranda. Pegamos um pacu e assamos na casca do pau de anjico. Nunca mais na minha vida comi um pacu tão saboroso. Como dizem o prato é bom quando estamos com fome!

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