BOYFRIEND NO. 21
(from “EVA’S 27 BOYFRIENDS”)
He eats alphabetically. First, Artichoke. Then Banana with sprigs of Coriander;
a Dumpling. These are appetizers. He continues to the entrée: Enchiladas,
accompanied by Feta and tender Goat meat.
My mind jumps to H for horseradish yet I can’t conceive the contrast–the hot bite
of its built-in torque on the tongue.
With Andy, it is all about taste–a slow, gastronomical journey through offerings
of the best and adventurous. I am not opposed to being his partner in this strategy.
We both wear our loosest waistbands in prep for the evening’s dining pleasure.
This compulsion of his to follow the alphabet is quirky, yet I see it as a game.
Why not play along with this kind of abecedarian for the mouth? Like all games,
there is surprise and tension before the reveal. I’m wondering, still, how will the H
present itself? Hominy? Hubbard squash? Honeydew? Can’t be Haggis!
Hazelnut embedded Ilha (island) cheese and segments of soft yellow Jackfruit.
Earthy crunch of the nut announces itself first, then the sharp spicy cheese
followed by sweet tang fruit finish. Andy and I smile at each other, stuporous.
Aah, in unison. We imagine cows roaming “freely on the pastures of Azores.
Farmers following to milk them.” We talk about a trip to Portugal.
This is a leisurely meal.
A sip of Kir Royale to clear the palate–lingering blackcurrant liqueur
with champagne poured into our flutes. There is nothing champagne can’t improve.
Now the pièce de résistance arrives–Lemon Meringue pie topped with wafer thin
slices of Nectarine; Orange segments; Pistachio bits; tiny dollops of Quince
preserves; succulent Rambutan chunks; Strawberries, glistening; specks of
Tamarind; and tart hybrid Ugli in sheer wisps. We nearly weep.
Our Vichy water has a twig of Watercress floating at the bottom of our tall
glasses. Maybe Andy needs an X so bad he adds Xylitol to the liquid for
alphabet’s sake? Or for sweetness? And a little bowl of Yogurt is brought
to the table for digestion–with two spoons. I can’t imagine how Andy is going
to complete this game. Z is a hard one. The check arrives on a silver saucer.
Nestled with it are two Zucchini flowers, their cadmium yellow edges furled.
Andy gingerly picks one up and bites it, chews. He selects the second flower
and slides it over my ear, through my hair.