Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Food to Serve When You Want to Test a Guy’s Sincerity… (Or turn him off)

Enough with the ultra- impressive meals for a date. Though I had been cooking a great deal of my life- from spoiled brats to the desolate, I never cooked special dinners for the guys I dated. Nor gifted men with what I cook. Ever. Not once. It figures – they’re all gone now. I qualify as one of the world’s most terrible girlfriends: Foodhuntress never invites boyfriends up her apartment. Life Rule Number 5: I’ll cook only for my husband. If I marry at 60, then I’d cook only for the man who marries me at 60. End of story.

Ok, this is what we had for dinner the other night. Good thing I had it with my family (not with a date whom you want to impress) – because this might be the reason he won’t call again. Devour black spaghetti. Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile. The moment the spaghetti strands shoot out of your nose from laughing, ask him to take your picture and put it in his wallet. If the dork calls you again for a second date, marry him immediately.


2 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1/3 C onion, chop finely
1/3 C Sliced bell pepper
1 pc bay leaf
200 g squid (w/ ink), sliced – I had giant squid, the ink was so great
1 C store- bought spaghetti sauce
Salt and pepper
250 g spaghetti pasta, cooked
2 T grated cheese
1 T chopped parsley

1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil. Saute garlic, onion, bell peppers, and squid – with ink and all – until the ink covers the mixture thoroughly.
2. Pour spaghetti sauce. Stir- until the spaghetti sauce is completely blackened. Add a little water or stock if you think it’s too thick. Bring to a slow boil for 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat.
3. Pour the “negra’ sauce into the spaghetti. Toss. Top with grated cheese and parsley.

Before: Super- excitement.

After: Black mouth.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


One day as I was browsing through my photo album, I noticed that there was a common food photographed every year.

The little black forest that we took with us when I spent my birthday at the – bleep! – public zoo. Christmas white cake made by an aunt. The evidence of raw barbarism that me and my classmates did on Frances’s wedding cake . Another birthday cake during my birthday dinner at the pad-when I shamelessly informed my friends that they will squat on the magic carpet – with lots of barbecue and beer – Morroccan style.

Cake! For me, the queen of the event. From dacquoise to cakes bought from neighborhood bakeries- may not be the most expensive part of the dinner- but a cake is a cake is a cake. I think it is one of the things in the world that no one can say anything sarcastic about.

When I was child, there were afternoons that I looked forward to walking home ( didn’t matter if my knapsack was heavy with books) so I could peek at the display window of the local bakery. I wondered why cakes stayed too long in that window display- like, three weeks? – and still not rot. Then once the fondant was chipped off and I saw that the cake was made of Styrofoam after all. Oh well!

Whatever, I think that child in me wasn’t lost yet. I love cakes – no matter what!

Then in the college dorm twelve years ago, my dorm mates and I would gather around the piano after dinner. We would take turns playing. The piano prodigies – music majors and gifted medical students – would play Rachmaninoff and songs from Broadway plays – and I, ok, occasional ‘funeral music’ (those andantes played in funeral cars and dying swans). Then when everybody had left the music hall, I was back to my old ultra favorite: a piece in John Thompson’s piano lesson for children, “The Birthday Cake”.