Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Romance with Food

My first date with my husband was at the Sizzler. I think I chose the Sizzler because 1) it was a lunch date and I was coming from work and it was the nearest restaurant I could think of because 2) I was nervous, but mostly 3) I wasn’t very sophisticated food-wise. When I was younger, Sizzler seemed like a nice place to eat, not quite Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus (which was the pinnacle of quality for me), but it was a treat for my family and something I looked forward to.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Ned was far more sophisticated than I in a culinary sense, but apparently was enamored enough not to guffaw out loud at my restaurant choice. In the end, the quality of the restaurant didn’t matter. We were both so nervous that we just drank coffee and water and talked.

I remember about 20 minutes in, we discovered that we both knew and loved the same obscure singer/songwriter, Maria McKee. This kind of clinched it for me, because I had a passion for this musician that I thought no one could understand, but Ned did. Not only did he understand, he matched my enthusiasm.

Though there was no food involved, this is still one of my favorite food memories. Perhaps it's a favorite because it came at the start of 19 years of food memories with my husband. Some were extravagant – the most excessive was at Farallon in San Francisco, and soooo worth it – but we have also enjoyed many simple meals at home, just the two of us.

Here’s one of the simplest recipes for two from our 19 years together:

Zuppa Pavese
Serves 2

2 slices firm country-style bread
2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 eggs
Grated Parmesan cheese
Italian parsley, chopped

Bring chicken broth to a boil and salt to taste. Toast and butter the bread, and place butter-side-up in bowls. When broth is ready, break an egg onto each slice of bread and pour the boiling broth over it. Garnish with parmesan and parsley.

Adapted from a recipe by Lorenza de’ Medici in The Best of Italy: the Beautiful Cookbook (Collins, 1994).

This is obviously a light dinner, so supplement it with a salad. If you want more control over the done-ness of your eggs, poach them in the chicken broth first, spoon them carefully onto the bread, and pour the broth into the bowl.


  1. Yay for love! Marc and I met when we both worked at a Coco's restaurant (similar to Marie Calendars or Shari's-- not exactly fabulous cuisine) :) We also went out to Sizzler when I was a kid :)

  2. Hey, thanks for the great writing! BTW for the soup recipe, you can also poach the eggs separately, nice and soft and runny, and add them to the bowl onto the toast.