We walk into the restaurant, the scent of frying garlic wafting out to meet us makes us both stop in our tracks and comment – it just smells so good.
Within half an hour we’re seated at the table with a glass of prosecco each to ease us into the dinner. Would we go halves in pizza and pasta? Or would I have the mushroom risotto and you the spatchcock? The latter as it turns out and, as I bite in a piece of sourdough bread that I dipped in olive oil I say to you “I think I’m going to write a blog called Food: a love story”. You nod, taking another bite of bread and ask the waiter for the wine list, before saying you don’t understand how people can’t enjoy food. Like, really enjoy it.
But, you see it hasn’t always been this way for me. A child of the ‘80s and ‘90s I was led to believe that low fat/no fat/minimal food in general was the way to go to be healthy (read thin, not necessarily well nourished).
And then I met you and all that changed. Because you genuinely enjoyed good food. So our meals became an event in themselves – something to be prepared with enjoyment and eaten with gusto and a glass of good wine could only be an improvement to the situation. We ate real food made from real ingredients that was really delicious.
We moved to France and couldn’t afford to buy steak, so instead stocked up on baguettes, salmon, cheese, pastries and fresh fruit and vegetables from the weekly street markets – not too shabby substitutes to be honest. And, as the weather warmed up we began to take our meals outside and have picnics by the Seine or on the rooftop of our building overlooking the Eiffel Tower.
Then our visas ran out and reality came calling. We made our way back to Australia and learned that nothing can compare to French bread – and that you don’t serve Australian bread rolls to a Parisian (sorry again Phil!). I started to become curious about how we could use food to also nurture our health, and regularly began to spike our food with chia seeds and hemp seeds, raw cacao and coconut oil. You barely complained, unless kale was involved.
It seemed this love became central to our lives. I’d often text you “fancy a drink?” as I left the office on a Friday afternoon and would catch the train into the city and we’d head to that bar we liked and would order a whiskey drink or a gin drink, and wait to see what concoction would arrive before us before deciding which restaurant to head to.
Markets became a weekend ritual, partly because eating coffee and breakfast in the sunshine is pretty fantastic, as is chatting to the people who grew the food you’re buying. I’d get over-excited and try to buy everything before you’d cut me off. There are only so many stone fruits a person can realistically consume, you’d argue.
Then we decided to be grown ups and turn our duo into a trio. We were prepared for some of the life changes this would result in, but the hardest to come to terms with seemed to be the diminished opportunities to head out and try a new place to eat that we’d been told about. So we adjusted again. We replaced our dinner dates with regular Saturday night fancy dinners eaten on the couch while watching movie, or gathered around the table with friends. You spend days scouring our cookbooks looking for an exciting new recipe and I’d try to talk you out of your desire for madeleines as dessert (yes you won that argument, and yes I’m glad I baked them).
But the love story has continued. And I’m mighty glad it has because, as controversial as it may be I simply love good food. And I have you to thank for that.