Wednesday, September 7, 2011

No Recipes; Just Romance

It's raining today here in Decatur as I am sure it is doing where you live. And the rain, especially when it only comes once in a blue moon, pours down nostalgia.

The Best Thing These Li.P.P.s Ever Tasted in my case is Pecan-crusted Salmon over Portobello Cheese Grits with Wilted Greens. And, in my case this post isn't at all about the recipes but about the romance that ensued.

I was twenty-three living in Atlanta, a big move for a small town girl, and the youngest Executive Coordinator ever hired at a Culinary School in the Southeast. I was the anomaly in a field dominated by older male chefs and entrenched in the metro-area’s restaurant scene. A not-so-lanky food-lover, I hurried to get to know every chef that opened a restaurant in my town inviting them to showcase their food in one of the many classes we hosted. I viewed my position as a stepping stone to my dream job – restaurant public relations and marketing.

The job, in addition to my other responsibilities, tended to be overwhelming, so I would escape to a small island not too far from Atlanta (no, the coast isn't THAT far from here). It was just such an evening.

Sitting at my linen-covered table, I shook my head, hoping with desperation I could let go of work for two days. I wanted forty-eight hours to enjoy the beach, but the food on the island called to me, leading me to my favorite local restaurant famed for its play on Southern cuisine.

My meal was exquisite - Pecan-crusted Salmon over Portobello Cheese Grits with Wilted Greens. I savored every delicate bite allowing the sweet, rich flavors to mingle and fill my palette and soul with the peace I desired.

Taking my last sip of tannin-rich Pinot Noir, I asked the pretty waitress, “Could you please ask Chef to come to the table so I could pay him my compliments in person?”

“Absolutely!” the summer-bronzed woman replied, making haste to the kitchen.

Distracted, my eyes wandered around the restaurant spying lovers in dimly lit corners, and paintings with bright, contemporary colors. I was at home in my surroundings and filled with confidence.

Seconds later the chef stepped into the dining room. Dressed in crisp, formal whites, toque sitting atop his head, he appeared to be seven feet tall. My breath caught in my chest as the handsome, mysterious man approached the table, his self-assured stature enchanting.

We spoke for only a moment, but Chef's charming Northern demeanor, left this Southern belle intrigued. A week later I sent him a thank you note, and a week after that he called, and probably a week after that we were having dinner in Atlanta. He was sixteen years my senior and showed me the kind of love I want in life; the love that sweeps you away in a cascade of stars and warm sea water leaving you breathless and very aware that you will be connected forever.

That was sixteen years ago, and though life has dealt us cards we never would have anticipated, we remain friends. And, on a rare occasion, we get together and toast with a toasty single-malt and reminisce.

Is there a dish that has brought you to a place you never expected? Tell us your story.

Life in Penned Perspective by Lindy Chaffin Start


Anonymous said...

Lindy, What a great post! I felt I was reading your next book.

WritersLiPP said...

Thanks Anonymous. I actually started this one a long, LONG time ago. Someday it will find an end. Maybe during NaNoWriMo. Hmmmm. - Lindy

Pam Asberry said...

What a beautiful story, Lindy. Sounds like a great beginning for a NaNoWriMo project. Maybe we can go to a write-in together. There are lots of them in your neck of the woods.

Denise said...

I don't want this story to end and I want a bite of that salmon. Yummy.

WritersLiPP said...

Pam and Denise - I'm all about finishing this story. It's one for the ages. A write in sounds good but first must do some story planning. Pam? Next Wednesday? Denise, I'll see what I can do to get you recipes. Don't tell anybody. - Lindy

Tami Brothers said...

What a great post Lindy! Not only did I learn something really cool about you, but I also got a very nice and satisfying story. I would definitely read it.



WritersLiPP said...

Thanks Tami. I'll let you know when it finally makes it from my frazzled brain onto paper. :-) - Lindy