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Your Worst Meal Ever

Salon had a great piece recently when they asked a number of food writers to write about their worst meal ever. This of course got me thinking about my worst meal ever. When I started ruminating on what constitutes an awful meal, I realized that truly terrible meals are all about dashed expectations and dire circumstances. When it comes to abysmal meals context and circumstances are everything.

It was a cold April day in 1968. I was a junior in high school attending Hackley in Tarrytown, NY. We went to play a rival school in baseball. I pitched seven innings. I must have thrown over a hundred pitches. My arm was about to fall off, my whole body was aching and cold, and I was absolutely famished by the time we got back to the school around 7 p.m. My worst fears were realized when I hit the dining room.

We were having liver and onions. Gnarly, overcooked liver, accompanied by instant mashed potatoes and canned string beans (not pictured). I tried to eat some of it, but I just couldn't swallow. There was no alternative. I ended up having jello (the dessert offered) and bad dinner rolls for dinner.

What's your worst meal ever?

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