Six years ago, I was a young thirty something singleton happily surviving on Indian takeout and steamed broccoli. I had a decent job (well, it paid for my Belmont Shore apartment anyway.) I wasn’t looking for much – maybe a creative outlet, but certainly not anything more permanent! In my pursuit for creativity I tried everything from crocheting to scrapbooking. My carefully crocheted “squares” looked more like four sided triangles. And my scrapbook pages, which were beautiful, professional looking masterpieces when conceived in my mind’s eye, turned out more like kindergarten craft projects. In true form, I gave up before I embarrassed myself too much more. I never did show anyone my creations.
Then one day, I found the one thing that I was never looking for. Seriously, I was the last of my college friends who was still sending out Christmas cards with pictures of my cats instead of some Norman Rockwell family. I met him online – ok, maybe I was looking for something, but never believed this was possible. I knew from the first date that he was special. Early on, our shared hobby of eating became a quest for great food at fun restaurants. I loved to watch him taste the first bite of something. If it was good, I swear he could hear the angels singing. I could see it on his face. I wanted to make the angels sing in my kitchen. But since my biggest culinary accomplishment was steamed broccoli with jarred salsa, I wasn’t quite sure how to make that happen.
I decided that instead of partaking in a favorite restaurant spread the first time we celebrated Christmas together that I would roll up my sleeves, put on a cute apron, and COOK! I’m college educated, how hard could this be? It’s just following directions, right? My menu, like my vision for my professional scrapbook pages was a little ambitious: Surf & Turf, with saffron risotto, and for dessert, crème brulee (which by the way is Chris’s all-time favorite.) I like to try to run before I can crawl. Most of the time it doesn’t work in my favor, and one day I’ll learn that lesson.
The surf was going to be steamed lobster. I had that one in the bag. I had been steaming broccoli for years. Thankfully it was great. The turf – sautéed veal chop. Ever tasted shoe leather? I swear that’s what the butcher gave me instead of the beautiful, tender veal chop that I requested. He was playing a bad joke on me. The risotto was unmemorable at best.
My dessert, the crowning glory, was all I had left to redeem myself. I was confident. I knew it would be good. I followed the directions to a tee! Ever tasted sweetened vanilla scrambled eggs mixed? Yeah…. It’s worse than it sounds. Failure! No angels in my kitchen.
Surprisingly and thankfully, even after this disaster, I didn’t give up on this creative outlet. We are still on a mission to find great restaurants, but Sunday Dinner always happens in my Long Beach kitchen. And, yes every once in a while the angels sing. Chris is the Chief Quality Control Officer, the giver of first aid, and my biggest inspiration in the kitchen.