I meant to do a lot of work getting ready yesterday: clean the house, do several loads of laundry, decide what to cook, buy groceries, etc. But the Pulmonary Center's server crisis ensured I wouldn't get much done yesterday. The crisis spilled over into today, waking me up an hour before I had planned and tying me up for three hours. I was forced to take some short cuts as a result. (I.e., a lot of the junk that was in my room got tossed into the back porch, where it will be dealt with later.) I cleaned the rooms that I knew we'd be in: straightened up furniture and wiped surfaces in the living room, wiped up table and swept in dining room, cleaned counters and mopped floor in kitchen, cleaned the bathroom, and (most importantly) tidied up the bedroom and put clean sheets on my bed.
Somewhere along the way I had to shop for dinner fixings. I had an ingredient list for the main course, but I was inventing the salad in my head as I went along.
The house was cleaned and I was shaved, showered, and dressed when she arrived, but dinner was hardly started. The water was boiling and that was all.
And I was suddenly such a jumble of nerves for not being ready that I almost forgot to put the pasta in the water! When I finally did remember, I managed to rip the bag open and send mezza rigatone flying everywhere! She helped me pick up pasta pieces and, after asking me for the zeellionth time how she could help, chop some of the veggies
I am, inexplicably, a pretty good cook. But I have practically no experience cooking vegetarian meals. I decided I'd like to try an Italian dish, so last night I googled for recipes. It seemed everything had something not quite right (amounts unspecified, a little pancetta thrown in at the end for flavoring, etc.), but I finally found one I thought sounded really good. It's called "Gigli ai Sapori dell'Orto": the pasta was mezza penne and the sauce consisted of onions, garlic, carrots, zucchini, and olive oil. I decided to accompany this with Qorn cutlet, fake chicken made from mycoprotein, which I seasoned with adobo (basically, garlic and salt) and herbes de provence (thyme, rosemary, basil, marjoram, sage, fennel, and lavender); a salad consisting of baby greens, tomatoes, and pear tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar; and a baguette. The wine was Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, which I like for its crisp, clean flavor.
I was nervous about the pasta dish, but I couldn't help exclaiming, "Damn, this is good!" when I took my first bite. She quickly agreed, and I'm pretty sure she meant it. It really was the perfect meal, despite being served in mismatched dishes and using paper instead of cloth napkins.
I hadn't planned dessert. I told Katie, when she asked what she could bring, that she could bring a dessert item if she really wanted one. So she showed up with a bottle of Godiva chocolate liqueur which we sipped after our meal.
We retired to the couch and had some pretty deep conversation. When we sat down to dinner, my nervousness and awkwardness melted away, allowing me to be natural and us to enjoy each other's company the rest of the evening. I think we fit so well; we're so comfortable with each other. Hell, we're both such big buffoons! Some of the things she was saying, I could have been putting the words in her mouth; and I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by her occasional, "Oh my gosh, me too!" Anyway, I am such a happy man tonight.
And that, my friends, is where the evening ended, as far as you're all concerned!