Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Chef's Whites

Nurturing: the act of bringing up; sustenance; to feed; to help grow or develop; to cultivate; the act of suckling.

Suckling? Ok, maybe I’m getting a bit too scholastic. Allow me to say this—I have never felt nurtured by a man in New York City. Sure, court-side tickets to the Knick’s game and a meal of beef cheek ravioli, Osso Bucco and panna cotta at “Babbo” are fabulous. My face glows and my laugh is easy because such evenings with the California businessman are delicious. I almost convince myself (multiple times) that he cares.

Then, I go back to my apartment—alone. What do I feel? Bloated, maybe? Woozy from the arena lights and that last glass of Barolo? I feel indulged and expendable— not nurtured and cared for. Months pass and nothing has changed. I’m nothing more than an add-on to his expense account budget, a couple of digits easily passed off to the company accountant.

Southern Boy enters the picture.

He is… a Jumpha Lahiri novel on a long plane flight… the sweater page in a J. Crew catalogue… hot chocolate at CafĂ© de Flore on a rainy, cold Parisian afternoon… a vase of peonies on the bedside table…

Wait. I haven’t even gotten to the good part, the real part.

He’s a chef.

Friday night he whipped up a six-course tasting menu for me and my friend “just because.” He gets up in the morning to prepare fresh-squeezed orange juice and breakfast burritos. A midnight snack? White peaches and vanilla-infused zabaglione. The way he takes care of me is elemental. It gets me in the gut and then takes me by the heart. He nurtures.

Good-bye pin-striped suits, hello chef’s whites?

If only he and his whisk weren’t a thousand miles away…

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