There were many hints of his impending betrayal, but, like any woman in love, I chose to look away. I had been swept off my feet, what can I say, a phrase that would definitely make all my self-sufficient Barnard colleagues shake their heads in disappointment and mutter only this to me: tsk tsk, tsk tsk. I was in love, maybe not with him, but most definitely with the idea of him: glamour, sophistication, and expensive lust. And we’d been together so many years, so when the smallest of signals blinked quietly but straightforwardly at me, I chose to look the other way.
First the brownies didn’t bake evenly. No one else could tell. In fact, all where mesmerized, entranced, absolutely orgasmic over my brownies. But I knew something was up with Dacor then. The baked batter leaned in a bit to the left on one side and out a bit to the right on the other, as if he hadn’t embraced the batter to cook it, but shaken it in turmoil instead. I always said I would tolerate no abuse from anyone, particularly to my babies and it was clear to me that my brownies weren’t happy. But everyone around me seemed so joyful, I didn’t want to spoil anything. So I did what any abused woman would do: I made excuses for him: it was a bad afternoon, a draft somehow upset him, I’d not cleaned him well enough the last time. I blamed everything else but him, after all, he was a Dacor oven.
Although I have two kids of my own, all the cakes I make are like my children: I whip their butter and sugar to fluffy perfection, I sing, and rock and caress their batters as I make them. Lulu, my red hot mixer can attest to this. There is enough love placed in those bundts, bars, and layers to make Mother Teresa proud. So when they kept coming out slightly off, I started building quiet resentment towards him, because as much as I wanted to please him, I knew it wasn’t me or the cake kids. He’d tell me the same, of course. He was the provider. Heat was always there. Convection too. Whenever I asked, he delivered. Everything else, according to him, was a figment of my neurotic imagination. The tension grew between us as I became colder and less responsive to his heat. He was always so unpredictable, why bother, I’d tell myself. He acted out during our time together. First he short-circuited his entire electronic panel and that had to be replaced. Then he blew a fuse as I broiled some salmon for dinner and the entire oven shut down. They were all strong messages of rebellion, much more applicable to a teenager than a full grown adult and I was patient. Very patient. Had parts repaired, wires changed, insides cleaned. Gave him what he needed, for the sake of the relationship. But lets not kid ourselves, we had grown apart.
I know what you advocates for Dacor are saying. That I was using him, that I only wanted him for his temperature. That I poured so much love into those batters just steps away from him and gave him none of that in return. That I had it coming. But to you I say this: the chemistry was never right. The whole relationship had been an illusion. From the pompous store in which I purchased him seven years ago, to the sophisticated buttons that always gave me a hard time (damnit what ever happened to knobs?), Dacor and I came from two very different places.
So, it was no surprise to me that, in between my two first big catering gigs, which happened to be back to back, one for Michael Scott Salon and the other for Shrink Rap, Inc., Dacor up and left me. No warning. No note. Nothing. He allowed me the broiler one last time for my Crostini with Fresh Ricotta, Lime and Mint and then he selfishly checked himself out of the relationship, leaving me to contend with the kids, the house, the parties, everything. The Dacor tech I called for help gruntled and grumbled that these parts where no longer available. Dacor just stopped making them. His voice was bristly and heavy with his own issues, I could tell he’d dealt with many a tempremental Dacors, and I had no desire to carry his anger as well, so I let it go at that.
It is a tough thing being left alone. You’ve got alot to deal with and shoulders are only so strong. And then there is the whole emotional part of being abandoned. It can be rough, very very rough. But in this instant, as pissed as hell as I was Dacor had pulled this stunt on me (what timing man!), there was a part of me that was elated. Liberated. Free. A burden had been lifted as I realized this relationship which I was supposed to adore and be in forever had been severed and I was free to move on.
All my feminists friends out there are still saying tsk tsk, you should have done it first, not waited for him to leave you. And you are right. But I say what happens next is what mosts matters. And so far, I’ve been dealing with the abandonment pretty well. For starters, I pulled off both parties and both were a huge success. I’ve been gracious to Dacor. Allowed him to quietly remain as I wait for Donovan, my new Sears buddy to come install the replacement oven. Donovan should be here any minute and I just know my new oven, maybe not a high pedigree name like Dacor but certainly a reliable hard working one, won’t fight with my batter but will embrace every bit of it. This kitchen is a kitchen of love. Otherwise, you’re out of here.
Crostini with Fresh Ricotta, Lime, and Mint
10 oz. fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
1/2 teaspoon finely minced (or mashed) garlic
3 sprigs fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
sea salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top of crostini
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, lime zest, salt and pepper. Spread on top of crostini. Drizzle olive oil and a few chopped sprigs of mint on top.