Monday, November 22, 2010
Romancing the Food
The week of Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season in our household. We get out the decorations, get the Christmas music primed and ready to play almost continuously for the weeks to come, my husband gets his favorite microbrew that only released during the month of November, and I get out all my favorite holiday recipes. I always add some new ones too. Something about this time makes me want to cook big family meals. Slow, hearty meals with lots of fresh ingredients that require attention and love put in to make it come out right. It’s a comforting tradition for me, and one way that I show love to my friends and family.
This season I’ve added something else to my holiday contemplation: a new character for an as-of-now-unplotted romantic suspense. My heroine is a personal chef that specializes in romantic dinners. So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about romantic meals and what that means. I’ve been reminiscing about some that my husband and I have shared over the years either at restaurants or that we have cooked for each other.
Several were romantic because it was just the two of us, pre-kids, for special occasions like anniversaries. One that stands out is a special night out at a restaurant in New Orleans – Delmonico, where we shared the chef’s tasting menu. It was a six-course meal that began with black pepper seared yellowfin tuna topped with beluga and salmon caviar with a recommended wine and ended several hours later with the last course of chocolate raspberry pot de crème. It remains the best meal we have ever enjoyed. We keep trying to top it, but so far it hasn’t happened.
The food was wonderful, but it was only part of the romance. It would have just been another meal if not for the emotion surrounding the evening. We were celebrating a graduation, we were excited about starting a new chapter in our lives and the ambiance and set-up of the meal brought much of that into focus. Food plus feeling (like, love, caring) equals romance.
Another romantic meal was one that my husband made for me when I returned from being out of the country for a month. It was a delicious crawfish fettuccine alfredo. I’ll never forget it. Not the taste of it, not what we had with it, but the romance of it. The romance was in the thought and care, time and attention that he put into making something special for me.
I would love to know what your most romantic meal was and why. Was it the food, the drink, the company or the setting? I need some different perspectives on what makes a meal romantic. My character is going to have a lot of cooking to do! She’s going to have to show the hardened don’t-believe-in-love war hero who is protecting her that there is room for romance in everything. Even just eating a meal.