One of my happiest food memories didn’t happen in a restaurant or in France or while getting drunk on champagne and pheromones while falling in love. But somehow, knowing you, I suspect you are not at all surprised by this.
It was while working at a restaurant in St. Paul, Minnesota, leaning over the small table where we counted our tips and Boss ate his lunch, that I first read Nigella Lawson’s column in the New York Times. She so voluptuously and intelligently wrote about her recipe, that I suddenly couldn’t imagine anything more glamorous or decadent than what she was eating. Her dinner had to be mine. And that is how a college student with no money ended up buying a jar of caviar.
I went home and made potato pancakes. I bought sour cream. And I spooned shiny black caviar over the top of each silver dollar sized pillow. I sat at the small round metal table in the yellow kitchen of my second apartment next to a stack of fashion magazines, and ate dinner alone. Life, I imagined, could not really get much better.
Ah, but it could! Enter aforementioned love and champage and pheromones!
But I still look back on that dinner alone as a blossoming in me of something important. I have always loved to be alone. But that dinner was about something else. There is food and there is love, and enjoyed together, they make an intoxicating combination. But there is also love for one’s self, the self-care involved in the preparation of a fine meal just for you, and the opening up of a world of unfathomable pleasure with the first taste of salty caviar.
I ate dinner alone last night. I pounded a pork chop into oblivion, dusted it with flour, and ate it alongside the lively zing of an arugula salad. It was a wonderful night.