Friday, November 11, 2011

Cooking for lovers

We all have rituals in our lives; things we do in different seasons to celebrate something or to commemorate something. While I was walking home the other day laden with shopping I started to think of one of my favourite for the first time for a potential lover.

It's something I wasn't even that consciously aware of, but seem to do every time I meet someone I like. I invite them over and then think about what the perfect feast for this person would be. What do they like? What do they eat? How much do they eat? Do they like dessert? Do they like once course? There are so many different variables and I cook such incredibly different meals for different people.

As I was thinking about it I had a little revelation about the symbolism and representation of each of these "first meals" I have cooked for people. The more I looked at it the more I saw the similarities between the relationships, what was prepared, and how we ate it. I was surprised to find that these meals seemed to set a stage for the rest of the time I was with a person. Here's a few examples.

The night I cooked for my first serious boyfriend I prepared hand made pasta, with pesto ground up in a mortar and pestle. It was very rough and organic. I also baked a chocolate cake which fell apart. We sat on the floor and ate the meal with our hands, as there wasn't enough cutlery to go around. The experience was so very raw. As was the relationship. Everything was new, fresh, intense, honest...but like the chocolate cake it fell apart. I had no experience in making cakes all those years ago (before pastry school), we both had no idea on how to keep each other.

Then there was a boy who I liked so very much, I turned up at his house and cooked him salads and pizza from scratch. It was a very light, simple meal. We sat under the stars all night eating it, surrounded by 100 candles. The meal was delicious, but we got so caught up in talking and drinking our way through two bottles of red wine, I'm not sure how much we ate. We sat there for hours. The relationship was my longest. The lightest, most fun experience I have ever had. But the meal was too light...I left the relationship because I got hungry in the end.

Then there was a landscaper I cooked breakfast in bed for. The relationship didn't progress much further than this. Not that the breakfast wasn't amazing...but we seemed to just stick with the "in bed" part. A shame really, but I must have set myself up for it.

There was an Italian boy I met. I never even got around to cooking for him. Once we ordered take out Domino's pizza. I hate Domino' ended pretty shortly after that.

Recently I cooked a man macadamia crusted lamb cutlets, with baby carrots, garlic mash and vine ripe tomatoes. The meal was amazing (if I may say so myself) as it was the first time I had cooked for a date since starting cooking school. It was so yummy and I put so much thought into it. The combination was great and it just worked...a little like us. But it was a little bit complex, with so many elements, and it turned out that we were too.

Yesterday night, a date came to my house. I cooked them watermelon and grilled haloumi salad with roast capsicum and caramalised onion bruschetta. It was a lovely light dish...and there was so much food. Perfect for a summer night. We sat outside. It was an interesting and exotic meal. I have no idea what will come of this combination...but I am curious.

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