About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Vanilla Kind of Guy

I was suspicious when he ordered vanilla in Baskin Robbins. "Vanilla?", I queried. "Don't you know where you are?"  He responded, "I'm a vanilla kind of guy." Red flag, big one; for me at least.  I'd try muddy water and fish eyeballs if they were on the menu; something different in my quest for salavary sensations.  I remember my very first visit to Baskin Robbins, where I ordered Pumpkin flavor ice cream.  It was a revelation of sheer genius to my adolecent mind.  I'd never encountered any store bought flavors beyond vanilla, chocolate and stawberry and on a few rare occasions, someone made homemade peach in the summer.  I couldn't imagine this guy didn't have the guts to, at least, try mocha almond fudge or cherries jubilee but, this was a man who held the record for "Most Bowls of Ice Cream" at his summer camp, every one of them vanilla.  How boring. Vanilla was no adventure, it's like playing in your own backyard.

Then he turned the tables on me and asked if I wanted to go camping.  Who, me? That meant I had to wear something besides a dress and cute flats. I actually showed up in a dress and flats, in mock protest, thinking he'd get the message.  Much later, that day I found myself tight rope walking across a fallen tree over a rushing creek to a remote campsite somewhere in the hills of North Carolina - in the pitch dark.  I awoke at dawn, screaming when a stray dog decided to sniff my sleeping face.  He cooked pancakes in a foil pan for breakfast over a campfire. They stuck to the pan and burned, but it was love and I saw my mission and I think he saw his.

When it comes to expanding his culinary horizons, olives are where he draws the line.  There's no discussion about, "just taste it".  I've tried to sneak a few into sauces, then pick them out of his serving, but he knows.  "You've put olives in this."  It might as well be arsnic.  He doesn't have much use for raisins either and simply tolerates the copious amount of fresh herbs I use in everything. Herbs are pretty hard to get around if you take cooking seriously. For someone who thinks peanut butter on graham crackers is sublime,  I've done my best to exercise his underdeveloped tastebuds into maturity.  I think we're getting somewhere after all these years.  He complimented my watermelon-raspberry sorbet (with a hint of chocolate extract) as "complex" and I've come to agree, simple, unadorned vanilla ice cream is the best all rounder.

Over thirty six years of getting used to each other's likes, dislikes and tastes, we've eaten quite a few meals together. The picture here was taken last summer as we finished a memorable dining experiences at Chateau Eza in the romantic, magical village of Eze perched along the Riviera.  The view is stunning and the food is too fine to discribe here.  It's my kind of place and we where truly living in the moment - a memorable one.  This summer, we're going to Alaska, his kind of place.  Salmon fishing, watching bears  and hiking volcanos will be involved and I'm wondering what kind of horizons he'll expand for me and what moments we'll be living in.  It's for sure, I won't be packing a dress.

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