Not all kitchen catastrophes lie in execution. Sometimes, the folly lies in oneâ€™s intention.
One crisp November morning, in spite of a long night of revelry, I awoke with no headache. I felt only the afterglow of a favorable presidential election outcome. Positivity about the world in general and the prospect of procreation flowed through me. What was this unfamiliar feeling? I turned to my boyfriend and overlooking our untenable differences, I asked him to marry me.
He said that sounded like â€śa nice idea.â€ť
Under the exciting impression that we had just gotten engaged, I spent the day spreading the news of my major life development to a close circle and planning a romantic celebration dinner for the two of us to share that night.
Food had become my most successful method of getting my boyfriendâ€™s attention. Since embarking on his PhD program the fall prior, he had drowned himself in a world of bibliographic citations and esoteric scholarship, breaching only for meal time. I had his breakfasts and dinners covered, and he was sensitive, progressive and Marxist enough to appreciate that domestic labor is in fact labor, especially when it bookends a day at the office.
Meanwhile, I was gaining interest in cooking and confidence in the kitchen. As such, I prepared increasingly elaborate dinners, favoring dishes involving fragrant eastern spices that would successfully remind my studious boyfriend of my existence well before meal time.
It was the day after Election Day, a day I felt I was no longer a girl with a boyfriend, but a woman with a fiancĂ©. This transition required serving a simple, lovely meal that evoked traditional domesticity. I planned a multi-course dinner of endive salad, chicken almondine, roasted asparagus and spaghetti, to be accompanied by a bottle of champagne well above my price range.
As I shopped for the ingredients, I had Lady and the TrampÂ style visions of pasta-induced physical encounters.
Given the exotic, complicated curry-kick I had been on, this meal was relatively simple to prepare. Still, I was taking longer than usual to get the meal on the table. I wanted everything aesthetically perfect, including myself. Between plating the salad and setting the table, I snuck into our bedroom to re-apply my makeup and put on a dress.
Eventually my husband-to-be shouted from his desk:
â€śWhen will dinner be ready?â€ś
Surely he knew what a feat it was to plan and prepare a dinner of this magnitude of importance. I chalked up his impatience to anticipation of our celebration.
When I eventually served dinner, the love of my life had new questions:
â€śWhatâ€™s all this for?â€ť
â€śWell, this is a very nice dinner.â€ť
â€śUm, I mean, we got engaged this morning.â€ť
Apparently we werenâ€™t. I explained that our morning conversation had not been just hypothetical to me. He barely recalled that we had a conversation that morning.
Luckily, my embarrassment was sufficiently distracting to all but cancel out any grief. I coped by publicly making light of my mistake. When we brought the bottle of champagne that had been rendered unneeded that night to a friendâ€™s dinner party several days later, I made a sardonic toast to static relationships.
But of course, nothing is static. Delicious, complicated dinners were not enough to save us and we parted ways three few months later. Today, we are friends still, and have new partners, better suited to our tastes.