“We didn’t realize you’re one of those ‘touchy feely’ kinds,” the couple said to me on Sunday.
At first I couldn’t figure out what I’d done wrong (assuming it was not a good thing to be touchy feely).
“Ah,” I finally answered. “Yes, I complimented the chef at the B&B we stayed in, but you don’t know the whole story.”
“You told him that the food he created for his guests came from his heart, not just from the ingredients, saucepans, and oven!” they exclaimed, a bit of recrimination in their voices.
I gulped. It did sound hokey when my friends repeated it, even though the chef made improbable but fabulous brunches for his weekend guests.
Imagine inn-made, melt-in-your-mouth cranberry scones with fresh fruit, yogurt, homemade jam and fresh-squeezed orange juice, then thick cheese sandwiches grilled with delightful homemade bread and a small cup of tomato bread soup cradled in the center of the plate.
Think tiny soft-on-the inside-crunchy-on-the-outside cinnamon twists that melted in eager mouths, then a five-inch square chef-made ravioli filled with ricotta, basil, and other savory spices, topped with a pouched egg. A weird combination that tasted like Tuscany and sun-ripened mornings.
“I read a newspaper article about the chef,” I explained defensively. “He’s the 10th of 17 children. In his family, cooking and serving meant survival and love. Plus, he became a Catholic priest until he realized he didn’t belong there. He had an epiphany on Epiphany and bought this B&B with his partner.”
“Sooooo?” my friends asked. “He serves good food to keep his guests coming back. It’s called economic survival.”
I shook my head. “This chef’s main ingredient is love. I could taste it in every bite. This is his service, not as a priest, but as a giver, a nurturer, maybe even a ‘touchy feely’ cook.”
My friends rolled their eyes.
My heart sank.
Can’t food preparation equate love?
Call me touchy feely (and I have a feeling many do), but I think so.