Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


My Esteemed Readers will often ask me, “Mister Debonair, how should I go about the business of impressing a Special Someone?”

This is a timely question, because I found myself in that exact situation only yesterday. It was SWMBO’s birthday, and I wanted to celebrate the occasion in an appropriately festive, yet romantic, manner. Most people would choose to spring for an expensive feed at some intimate boîte... but I am not most people. No, this occasion demanded something with a certain je ne sais quoi.

As I thought about options for the evening, I remembered a time long ago, back in the earliest days of our relationship, when I fixed a home-cooked meal for the young lady who would eventually become The Missus. Then, as now, I believed that an elegant meal, personally and painstakingly prepared in the Home Kitchen, is far more impressive and romantic than anything you could get at a restaurant. (That, and you need not worry about tipping the surly waitstaff for expectorating in your mashed potatoes.) Then, unlike now, I believed that SWMBO would enjoy the exact same foods I do, including lamb.

After over thirty-five years, I am still a believer in the grace and elegance of a home-cooked meal. But I know better than to serve leg of lamb to the Missus, who would sooner pound nails into her skull with a ball-peen hammer than eat of the tender, wooly beast.

No: the evening’s menu would be simple, yet appetizing... and fully acceptable to She Who Must Be Obeyed. No lamb. No duck. No dark meat chicken. No goat cheese. No excessively frizzy lettuce, raw onions, or beets.

I opted for hanger steak, a flavorsome, yet relatively lean cut of beef, which I pan-seared and served with sautéed shallots and a red wine reduction. Accompanying this was a salad of vine-ripened tomatoes with fresh basil, a sprinkling of fines herbes, a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a light dusting of Balinese sea salt. By way of a vegetable, I roasted off some Brussels sprouts and dressed them with chopped capers and preserved lemon.

The drinky part of the meal was a lovely 2007 Mandolin pinot noir.

We dined by the light of candles, the two of us, and SWMBO’s grey-blue eyes reflected their soft glow, just as they did in the days when we first met. I don’t know whether the dinner impressed her - but she still impresses the hell out of me.

So take Mister Debonair’s advice: If you want to make a big romantic splash with that Special Someone, get out your pots and pans... and don’t forget the candlesticks! (I’d rethink the Brussels sprouts, though. Nothing will kill a Romantic Evening faster than a bellyful of Fart Balls.)


Richmond said...

Sounds perfect.... Congratulations to you both! (Sans fart balls...) ;)

JihadGene said...

Romance and fart balls...now if someone will only put on Frank Sinatra singing "That's Life"...perfecto LOOONG time!!!

K-nine said...

Wonderful advice sir, but I do posit this to you... When pounding nails into your skull rather than doing something, how do you choose which type of hammer?
Eating Lamb obviously entails a ball-peen.
What would occasion, say, a roofing hammer or an ordinary claw hammer? Do smaller annoyances require a tack hammer and brads, whence extremely large ones a sledge and railroad spokes?
How about temporary dislikes and a rubber mallet?
Is there ANY situation that requires a dead-blow hammer?
If I'm ever to advance from "mildly unsophisticated" to "debonair" these things I need to know.

K-nine said...

Gee, I seem to be so unsophisticated that rr 'spikes' became 'spokes' in my question. How gauche.