Joseph Lorusso - Lovers & Lautrec

We forgot our anniversary. To most people this would mean a lot (looming problems; financial disputes; the overworked-and-underpaid combo; work-and-life imbalance), and maybe to my wife as well, though she didn't say. If not for a Facebook friend who sent her private message that night, wishing us this and that, my wife and I wouldn't be aware of it, of how things can happen fast, just like waiting for the rice cooker to do this snapping sound, where COOK switches to WARM. I didn't wake up to feel special the entire day. There was no sense of entitlement, or achievement. In fact, the two of us were just switching channels, from Fashion TV back to TLC, drooling over the lavish lifestyles of food writers like Anthony Bourdain as he tours Chicago in what must have been a month-long of sampling this dish and that beer. (The show lasted for thirty minutes.) It was eleven in the evening, and we decided, after much grumbling of our stomach, that I do a ham and cheese sandwich from the contents of those nifty little baskets companies give to their employees. For ten minutes, everything was done: pressing the bread against the warm skillet, toasting it with the cheese on top, setting it aside, frying the ham for a couple of minutes on each side. "The ham is good," Bourdain would say. Then: "The quezo de bola, melted with the sliced bread on the skillet, tastes quite... wonderful." Three ingredients; I didn't put mayonnaise. I expected the sandwich to taste bare, without anything to gel the ham with the cheese, but it didn't. In front of those cooking shows, on the bed with our son asleep, it tasted heavenly: it was homey and hearty. It was probably what our marriage should be: served neat on a plate without any artifice, made by someone without any expertise from the French, with only three ingredients. For ten minutes it was fast, fun, spontaneous, and just as unplanned as we used to be a year ago.