I’ve been flirting, lately. A lot. Ill spare you the details about how he is halfway around the world, and how I saw him for only hours…over a year ago. How somehow, we’ve stayed in touch. Sporadically, he will cross my mind. I’ll smile, feeling warmth in my tummy and send him a quick hello from my side of the ocean. The important thing to know is this; if all goes well, I will see him soon.
Throughout the day my phone pings texts from him and my heart leaps. I love when its all new and exciting, when the possibilities are endless. What goes unsaid and unknown is woven into little hopeful romantic daydreams. I am in full girl crush mode, my anticipation level is through the roof. Especially when we start to talk about food.
Today I coyly, yet honestly- offered to cook for him. Sometime. Maybe.
His response, “What’s on my menu?”, stopped me mid prance. I fumbled a response about how I’d think about it and get back to him.
I rarely work from menus. My food is usually a manifestation of my thoughts and environment that moment. Something I saw, something I hope to replicate, refine, personalize. A change in the weather. A trip I took. The way I felt when I ate something, anything. Everything inspires me.
Cooking for someone, to feed someone, is so incredibly gratifying that its almost selfish on my part. It’s satiating feeding people I care about. But rarely do I cook for someone I like. It’s too much pressure. What one expects from a chef (I assume) is fantastically inspired food with perfect technique sprinkled with Michelin Stars. I haven’t disappointed anyone yet, but still. I can’t assume I know what they like, or how they like it. Its also a little intimidating. I don’t always use Michelin Stars when I cook. I prefer rustic and simple, yet one does not want to disappoint when one has upped their own ante.
There are other factors. Although I’m hardly a food snob, I have a hard time respecting overly picky eaters. The phrase “I don’t like it” is only ok for me from a child. And even then I’d respond, “How do you know? You’ve never tried it. What if it’s your favorite food and you’re missing out?”
(Side note- my double standard is this; I will not eat peanut butter. Or ketchup. Or mangos. So there.)
What to make for someone I’m trying to impress on a personal level is very different from the party tricks I pull on a professional job. What do I communicate through my food? My plate? I think of the things I love most when I eat; smoke, fat, meat, crunch, juice, acidity, balance, crisp, fresh, tender. My grandmother’s spaghetti sauce, my Mother’s apple pie. I am always looking for the next perfect bite. Not a thing on my plates is without purpose, everything is there in harmony with everything else. It is my craft, my art.
In the end, when I get the privilege to cook for this man, or when he gets the privilege to eat my food (however you want to look at it) of this I am sure, It will be something beautifully simple and honest, prepared with the utmost attention and care. What I give to other people through my cooking is love, from me. What it will be is yet to be determined, but oh the fun of daydreaming tastes delicious. Plenty enough to hold me over until I can taste the real thing. Until then : )