Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Food and love

I came to the food blogging scene late, just as I learned to cook and bake late. In my childhood and throughout my teens, the kitchen was always a foreign land to me. I didn't even know where the salt and pepper was kept, much less the pots and pans.

I learned to cook when I moved away from home and I learned to bake when a flatmate moved out and left me all her baking equipment. Having picked up these skills, I turned to the Internet for recipes to try out and stumbled into the world of food blogs.

My favourite food blogs all have several things in common; they are well written, their recipes work and they have an understanding of the deep connection between food, life and love.

This post from a blog that I've mentioned before, moved me deeply. And reminded me of the Boy and 'our' restaurant, a little place tucked behind the park that served gorgeous steaks and live jazz. I hesitate to even blog the name here, it's such a little place that I don't really want to see it overrun.

The first time he took me there, I fell in love with the place. Small, cosy and best of all, a live jazz band every week. The steaks were good and the desserts, gooey and delicious.

The last time we were there, the week before I left for Adelaide, we were seated next to an elderly couple. While waiting for the wait staff to take our orders, we somehow fell into conversation with them. The man, ruddy cheeked and cheerful, told us they'd come from a tiny town along the border of New South Wales and Victoria.

He and Boy traded jokes, laughed about women and his wife nodded and smiled indulgently at them, two boys having a bit of fun. Somehow, we all became two happy couples, chatting, sharing jokes.

Along the way, it came out that they'd been married for fifty years. Fifty! They'd raised 5 children and had 11 grandchildren and yet, they were out here, on a date, having fun and laughing. Boy and I looked at each other and knew we were both thinking the same thing.

It was near the end for us and we knew it. I'd be returning to Singapore soon, so painfully soon. He had to stay in Australia and neither of us saw a long distance relationship as an option. The difference was stark, the longevity of their marriage beside our happy but short lived relationship. I looked around at the little restaurant where we'd spent many happy evenings and knew that I'd never be able to come back. Not alone and definitely not with someone else.

I ate slowly that night. Relishing the steak, the place, the music and the moment. Knowing it was probably our last time there. Enjoying the banter between Boy and the old man. I tried to hold on as tightly as I could, to the memory of that evening and the memories we'd created in that place and hoped that the memories would last me a lifetime without Boy.

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