Photo Credit: "Sexy Food" by Cheapwads on Photobucket
Some people go immediately to songs or the movies, to tearful talks with friends or comfort foods. I go to my bookshelves.
When I realized I would never return to my marriage, I read Child of the Morning, Pauline Gede’s first novel about the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut. The night a significant relationship ended, I picked up John Le Carre’s The Little Drummer Girl and read it straight through, without stopping. It is a very long book. I remember the crunch of tires on gravel in the parking lot behind my condo and my heart skipping a few beats because I thought he might have come back (though it wouldn’t have solved the problem of me wanting to leave Illinois and him not.) That memory is embedded in the chapter where Salim gets abducted. I could read it today and hear the crunch. Both these books are perfect (for me) break-up books—long and detailed and set in a world far outside my personal sadness. Like Scarlet O’Hara, I vow to think about that tomorrow and open a big, fat book. Yes, once it was even Gone With The Wind.
Memoir cookbooks are one of my guilty pleasures, but they are not my book of choice for emotional distraction. This one, however, could change my mind. Maybe I will turn to it if/when I am ever sad over the loss of a man again. The title is perfect: I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti: A Memoir of Good Food and Bad Boyfriends (Grand Central Publishing).
Author Giulia Melucci begins with:
“Whenever I start dating someone new, I just can’t hold back. No matter how often my girlfriends warn me, ‘Take it slow, let him win you over, don’t give it away so quickly,’ I just can’t resist—I have to cook for him.”
I’ve only cooked for a few men in my life, but I can relate to the way she writes about the craving to make a man love her by filling his stomach with good food. Haven’t we all at one time or another longed to make someone love us? Ever an optimist, she sees each relationship in retrospect as a step taken in honing her cooking style.
Her descriptions of the men and the relationships are sometimes funny, sometimes touching or brave. Ethan “took me nine months and twenty-seven meals to win him over.” I won’t spoil it by telling you how that ended, but try the French Lentil Stew. “Food wasn’t really Mitch’s thing” but he liked her cooking so much that he licked his plates. Bake the Pear Cake for Friends with Benefits. She couldn’t salvage the relationship with Marcus but Ineffectual Eggplant Parmigiana is delicious. For every man there are recipes. The new paperback edition contains a new chapter, new man, more recipes than last year’s hardcover edition.
When he left, “I went back to the book. I never doubted it would turn out okay. I look forward to the day I can say that about love.”
She doesn’t whine. I like that. Because she knows how to keep it light and keep it moving, even the most cynical among us can drop our pose and admit (privately) that we too would love to be loved by one special person. If you’ve ever loved and lost—or even if you haven’t, which seems unlikely—you will enjoy this book and the recipes. Food can be sexy. Reading recipes, I want to cook for a man again. Reading Giulia, I want to believe in love.
What do you turn for comfort when your heart has been cracked?
copyright 2008-2011, www.sexyprime.typepad.com; PARTIAL reposts only permitted with link back to original article on SexyPrime