Friday, February 11, 2011

The Role of Food: Part One

I promised pictures of our six month wedding anniversary feast; however, I got distracted and have not yet. One reason for this was that I have been hauling around two full memory sticks for my camera with no way to get the pictures off. The great hubby then found a pic. remover thingie for me to use and I have spent a better part of an hour organizing pictures.

I noticed a trend in these pictures: My relationship with my husband has revolved around food. Now spare me if I start to sound like Julie Powell, whose writing I cannot stand, but I do feel a bond with my husband that comes only from spending hours in the kitchen working on a masterpiece just for him. Since the beginning of our relationship, food has been at the heart of it.

My first try at "woo-ing" my husband came in a surprise dinner with lamb and wonderful side fixings. The next morning: fat slabs of bacon, eggs, the works. I remember spending my whole paycheck at Whole Foods in order to make the meal worthy of the saying "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." I remember walking up to the meat counter and asking the butcher, "What is the best bacon to make a man fall in love with me?" Upon hearing this, an older African American gentleman turned to his wife, and said, "Now there is a woman who knows what she is doing!" And by golly, one and half years later along with 15 added pounds from my cooking, he asked me to marry him.

Despite being an English major who is good with words, I found food a way to visually show how I felt. After one of our first fights, which came after the exchanging of "I love you" statements, I made him a cake. I decorated it very simply, but I did color the cake batter and the icing blue, his favorite color.

I drove to his house that night, which was on a dark back road. Called when I got close to his house, asking him what he was doing, and told him how I had baked. I then let the car idle into his drive, lights off. As I let the car slide into the drive, I asked him if he wanted some of the cake I baked. He said yeah, I will get some tomorrow. I responded, "What about now?" then knocked on his door, handed him the cake, kissed him, and left. That cake did more to ease the pain of hurtful words than numerous apologizes would have. Not only was it a tangible (and tasty) sign of sorry, it represented the time I wanted to spend on this relationship. I did not want to slap icing on the cracks; I wanted to fix it bottom up. Mix up those feelings, let them cool, icing the hurt, and decorate it with love.

Many cakes have followed that simple cake, as well as wonderful meals, and each one holds a special memory.

When my husband graduated from his Master's Program, sadly, his parents did not have time to congratulate him properly. I arranged a very small surprise party for him at coffee house where our church is held. I spent three plus hours making a special cake for the party. Since he graduated with a degree in digital production, I figured an appropriate character cake was in order (We also have a soft spot for all things Pixar, especially Up and Wall-E).

While not made by me, our wedding cake was the culmination of everything that is us. Our cake was a partnership. It showed a secret story of our love as well as our goals in life all wrapped up in an Italian cathedral inspired cake.

We were suppose to go on the same study aboard trip to Italy, with the home-base in Orvieto, Italy. The art students went on the trip, whereas the English half of the trip was canceled. I ended up going a year later on the trip. The first time my husband came to my apartment, he saw all my pictures hanging up, and with one question, he won my heart, "Is that Orvieto?" ...A week later I was in Whole Foods buying bacon. We started off separate with the same ideas, hopes, values (represented by the cathedral) and we want to work together (the cake) in order to have a successful marriage full of adventure (Italy).

I never thought that food would help me define my marriage, but I am grateful for our shared love of not only the taste of food, but the preparation that goes into a good dish. Maybe by being aware of all the time and effort that goes into that artful dish of food will help us realize what all goes into a stable marriage.


Meredith said...

This is my favorite one so far!! You just forgot one thing...the added "nuts" in the batter....aka me! Good thing your husband didn't scare due to the friends he would have to put up with for the rest of his's a package deal! Kind of like fruitcake.... ;D I think Jimmy Buffett would agree!

Erin M. said...

this is your niche! I never thought of cake as apology, but the extended metaphor worked. great post, and, as usual, great cakes. and I loved your wedding cake so much... y'all gotta budget at least your 5 year anniversary trip to Orvieto, cool?;)
nom nom bacon

Fool in a Tree said...

The sad thing is I did really fall in love the moment he asked "Is that Orvieto?" and I set on a food quest for love. I wish I could say I was exaggerating about asking the butcher about bacon, but I am not.

Thank you both for the great comments!

PS The pasta you got us for our wedding Erin is making an appearance soon!!