Goat cheese & tomato sauce.
“You don’t always have to cook for hours for us to have a meal together,” he’d said. “We could just order pizza.”
I’m not sure if he said it before I suggested we use the pasta machine or if it was earlier, after I made tortillas and salsa from scratch for those enchiladas. And I’m sure it couldn’t have been just before we sat down to eat the homemade sushi, because that would have been cruel.
But the time with the pasta machine, he was onboard. “You’re relentless!” was the text message, followed by a probably-hearty “sounds good!”
I kneaded dough on the floured kitchen table and once it was sufficiently springy, we both fed it through the stainless steel pasta machine I’d clamped down. We created fettucine that looked like it could be boiled without falling apart.
He was going to be in charge of the sauce. It was a recipe he’d taken from Gordon Ramsay, probably, like those weird scrambled eggs he’d made us previously.
Onions and mushrooms cooked into a sweaty mess before being joined by garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and a splash from our bottle of red. A can of tomatoes. Fresh basil. As much chevre as we could handle. Patience.
Oh yeah. It was worth it.
I guess that’s not what the recipe was called, but it’s the right way to describe it. Except maybe the “salad” bit.
Tiny florets of broccoli were suspended in the mayonnaise, often with sweet purple raisins caught in their little branches. Shreds of bright orange cheddar were stirred through. We could call that our protein, I guess. Maybe there was a little sugar added, too, because this side dish was the sort that took a trip to my head for a sweet buzz before heading down for a long getaway on my hips.
If I had picked up this salad in the grocery store (hey, it could have happened in 1970), the nutrition label (did they have those in the ‘70s?) would be the sort to convince me to put it back down again.
But when it was mixed for me from a recipe memorized decades earlier, in a kitchen full of late-summer sunlight and freely-given love, that salad was the best salad.
Seconds, please… and yes, I will take the leftovers.
A fried egg. And coffee.
I think of this egg every time I pour olive oil into a non-stick pan on a slow-starting morning.
There were three eggs that morning in a North Vancouver duplex. Their bubbling whites ran into one another in a snug frying pan, sizzling gently at the edges as they formed a single three-yolked egg.
Our cook and hostess put the matching lid on the pan and left the eggs to cook. I thought to myself—having moved into my own apartment less than a year prior—“a lid and pan that fit! Are these the novelties of an adult world?”
She poured our coffee and I splashed soy milk into mine. It was the sort of mug that was large enough that it required cradling in my hands, not just a sturdy, morning-defeating grip. All her mugs matched. With a sprinkle of Pacific coast rain falling outside the kitchen window, every languorous sip was a reminder we had nowhere to be.
Eggs ready to be plated, she used a green spatula to cut them back apart before lifting them out of the pan for us. The green spatula, I thought, was the key to me reliving this moment whenever I wanted to. I had to find one.
So I did. And sometimes my yolks break, or I burn the edges, or my coffee is cold. But the moment is still here, even when we do have somewhere to be.