In a WORLD…where Steveo has no access to duck fat or cheesecloth….

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I have often held the key to happiness, and it is always edible–slightly charred, often crusted with halloumi cheese, and always accompanied by heirloom tomato slices.

I was a foodie at three.  How my mother loved to feed me!  By four, I had begun to roll my eyes back at the first bite of her dinner, sighing, “Ahhh.  Tastes like a rose,” while dramatically running my hand alongside my hair (which was then still silky as burrata).  And I meant it.  Every time.  I still have never met a food I didn’t like.

Steve and I would make different choices in many aspects of our lives, but if you gave us each $500 and said, “Go your separate ways for the day and spend this on whatever you want”  (my fantasy life is a rich one), two hours later we’d end up drooling at each other across the table in the first NYC restaurant on our ever-expanding dream list, ordering course one:  quinoa lollipops rolled in quince paste and pine nuts, or a roasted chestnut bisque with marsala, nutmeg, and crème fraiche.

Since the storm, though, my best food moments have been much simpler and homier: a juicy grilled cheeseburger, homemade vegetable soup, a warm pie bursting with garden-grown rhubarb and handpicked blueberries.  All were gifts, meant to feed our hearts.  Our friends know how hard it is for Steve to stay sane in an apartment with three-inch countertops, in which sautéing results in a shitake-scented wardrobe, and where Jerusalem artichokes go to die in a mysteriously murderous refrigerator.  And they are aware that for me, it would not be too dramatic to have my post-Sandy life announced in the style of the latest horror flick: “In a WORLD…where Steveo has no access to duck fat or cheesecloth….”

In one of my earliest food memories, I am grinning with baby octopus tentacles tickling my nose and curling down around my chin.  My mouth full, I am begging for more.  I never dared to dream I would marry a man for whom cooking up charred octopus with saffron-infused avocado and crushed tomatillos is a Tuesday evening afterthought.

It happens to be, at this very moment, time for Tuesday night dinner.  Steve pulls another Trader Joe’s frozen pizza from the half-oven.  I thank him, though my slice will hardly “taste like a rose.”  Surprisingly, neither of us minds at all how the pizza is.  After a long, stressful day of work and rebuilding, just this half hour spent together—in beach chairs separated by air mattresses and a center pole—smacks of herbed sugar.

Like all the bowls of ceviche to come.

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2 responses to “In a WORLD…where Steveo has no access to duck fat or cheesecloth….

  1. So, my food loving friend, did Steve make those dishes pictured above? While my palate is not as refined as yours, you know how I love to eat! Looking forward to breaking bread in your new home! xoxo

    • Stacey, I would still chow down with you on White Castles today, even though my husband feeds me meals such as those pictured–and yes, those are all his original dishes!

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