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Food isnt just a gustatory pleasure; it is the stuff of life. At its best and most memorable, a meal becomes a storyand a story becomes a feast. In this collection of essays by some of the countrys finest writers, food is the central player in memories both exquisite and excruciating. Steve Almond recounts the gleeful daylong preparation of a transcendent lobster pad thai dish. Sue Miller reveals that after a lifetime of practical cooking, she is finally fed by a man who presents food as an offering, made just for her. Aimee Bender ponders her lifelong envy of what everyone else is having for lunch. Richard Russo relates the celebratory day he and his wife spent eating their way through haute Manhattanand departing utterly famished.Expertly compiled and edited by Douglas Bauerincluding pieces by Amy Bloom, Peter Mayle, Jane and Michael Stern, Ann Packer, and Andre Dubus IIIthis unforgettable collection presents food as education, test, reward, bait, magnet, and, most of all, gift. Gathered here are meals that sate our most complex palate, the appreciation of life.