As I watch everyone wallow in the glory that is love this week, I couldn’t help but think back to my first love. While memories of his tall stature and manly physique danced through my mind, surprisingly the prominent sense that was tingled with thoughts of him were my taste buds. “Damn, That man could cook” my mind shouted.
For months he had bragged of his culinary prowess and I have to admit, never did I give it any real weight. I thought to myself: men always think they can cook, even when they simply know how to fry an egg. Date after date, restaurant after restaurant, he would keep reiterating, “cheri, mwen ka fe pi byen ke sa nap manje la wi” I would look at him in that humoring fashion that we women often time look at men, and simply say, “wi chou, mwen konnen”.
On one of his visits to my apartment, he asked to stay over because he had something to take care of in my neighborhood. I gave it no real thought, left the keys and went off to work, forgetting that he knew nothing about my neighborhood, after all the man was from Massachusetts. Getting home that evening, I was so tired, I could barely knock on the door. Soon as my knuckles touched the door, he shouted, “li ouve, come in hon”. I opened the door to the smell of the best of what I remember about Haiti. I mean, the smell of red beans boiling in the pot just about to kreve, the aromo of andwi and tritri and oh my god coconut milk. I almost looked around to see if my mother was present, but I knew she couldn’t be, she’s in Haiti! The man had pulled out all the stops. As he guided me to the floor-this was my first apartment, I had no table, no chairs, nothing- to sit in front of what looked like a makeshift dinner table- the aroma of the red snapper hit me like no other. I thought to myself, this man is bold. Not only did he cook, but he decided to tackle fish. I was already impressed and I had not even taken a bite. After beaming at him for what seemed like eternity, he said in our popular krenglish, “eat non jeune fanm”. Oh my god! Whoever said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, obviously had never encountered a woman’s stomach. That is the day I fell in love with that man.
As I sit here and reminisce about that day, I realize once again the power of food. Food has the power to make you fall in love with a man! Ok, I exaggerate a bit. I am sure if there was nothing else beyond the culinary skills, I doubt I would have fallen. But I still hold the argument that a man’s cooking abilities can play a major role in how we feel about him. It is only logical it would.
While the food was amazingly good, what made it even better is the time and effort this man took to make that meal and the occasion especially for me.
When we look for a mate or a person to share our time and experiences with, the thought that always prevails is, does this person care about me? And I think when someone takes the time and prepares a meal for another, the receiving person is thinking, yes, the person does care because he or she took the time to go shopping and the time to stand in front of that fire and cook. And most importantly, they thought of me. Humans are egotistical beings. It drives us crazy to know that someone is thinking about us. Sometimes the person is not that great of a cook, but the sentiment is still there.
I see men young and old scurrying around about what to get their significant other for valentine. I don’t think there’s a better way to say I care about you, even if not quite love yet, to the woman in your life this Valentine’s day than with a home cooked meal. I am not a fan of Valentine’s day, but if you do celebrate, I suggest you not make it about material gifts( Your pockets will love you for it too). Valentine’s day is your opportunity to bring your sentimental, artistic, and thoughtful side to the surface. However, If you do insist, please do bring that diamond bracelet along with you to dinner, I would hate to deprive a girl of some diamonds.
Happy Valentines day! and good eating.
Nadege Fleurimond is the owner & business manager of Fleurimond Catering,Inc. For questions and comments contact her at [email protected]