My husband and I met while I was making the last batch of hollandaise for the last plates of eggs benedict served at the last Sunday brunch on the last day I co-owned The Purcellville Inn in Loudoun County, Virginia. I hated him on sight.
Out of admiration and in perfect innocence, David had made his way through the service doors in the main dining room, down the stairs, and into my kitchen. As I stood whisking clarified butter and tears into a cloud of egg yolks, I listened incredulously to him extoll the virtues of a good hollandaise.
“Where does this guy get off?” I wondered. “And when will he leave?”
Unaware of my disdain, David thanked me for my time, wished me luck in my new endeavors, and ambled his way back to his table.
Eighteen months later we met again, in the copy room of a law office near the White House where the catering company I consulted for set up a remote kitchen in preparation for a swank Christmas party. David was to be our “fireman” and general dog-body trouble shooter. Ironically, he did put out a fire that night caused by a food hotbox overheated by sterno tins. He ordered my catering partner to stand atop a chair. As she held her apron aloft, fanning the fumes away from the smoke alarm, David smothered each flaming can of fuel. I whisked boiling cream into dark chocolate for dessert fondue, thinking, “Maybe this guy’s okay.” Six months later, we fell in love.
Last year, we bought our first pre-lit, slowly spinning Christmas tree. I no longer have to worry about where to put my favorite Christmas kitchen ornament. The small beribboned whisk rotates into view every ninety seconds or so. I remember my tears dropping into the hollandaise, and how lucky I was to find my true love through sorrow and fire and food, whisking my way to happiness.
May you stir up a little love and joy this holiday season.