Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food as Homage

Quite frankly I'm not good with good-byes.

I think it has to do with an unresolved issue from my childhood. (But that's another story for another blog.)

We've lived in BG for seven years collectively, and damn me, every year I become close to someone who leaves. My last heartbreak was RR.

And as much as I love RR, Babs leaving kills me.




"Babs, you want some kale with chicken and mashed potatoes? I don't think I got the consistency right on the taters. You need to let me know.”

“I’ll be there in 5.”

Babs lives one street over from us. Not only is she one of my best friends, she's my neighbor.


My all-time favorite movie is The Royal Tenanbaums.

It’s slogan is “Family is a sentence.”

What’s funny is when I think of Royal Tenanbaum I think of my Pops, who’s a very charming, go-getter, family guy.

And when I think of Royal, I think of Babs who is always ready to help, without question or hesitation.

And if anybody can make family a sentence, it’s her.

For crying out loud, she’s leaving a full-time teaching job to get her PhD in Non-Fiction.

This is a woman who knows a sentence.


I used to eat a lot of frozen, processed food. As a kid, I swore I would hate brussels sprouts and spinach for all my life.

I never even heard of kale until three years ago.

Most times I think I’m a foodie fraud. I just learned how to cook—pretty well. I just happen to have a good personality that let’s be “cool” with chefs, farmers, and marketers. (Thank God.) But basically, I think with my stomach. Does that make me foodie?

I wondered that until I started bringing samples to Babs. She’s the one who made me believe my cooking was worthy to blog about. When I’d take her something and the next day get an email/review that was 10 paragraphs long describing what was great and what it could use, I was inspired, motivated, and, more important, confident. I owe my decision to dedicate a blog about food to Babs.


“I’ll be over in 5 minutes.”


As many know I have a crazy black Lab named Bleu. But if you really knew him, he has his mellow moments. I swear. Even though most don’t believe me.

But Babs does.

She always has.

And no matter how high Bleu jumps on her or how inappropriate his sniffing gets, she always laughs and gives him a calm command.

As a dog owner who thinks her dog is a child, I can’t thank her enough for being so patient and calm. Most people find Bleu obnoxious, but not Babs. If anything, Babs sees how Bleu takes after his Mama, and I think she recognizes that sometimes the affection that Bleu and I express is awkward, enthusiastic, inappropriate, and just plain crazy.

I could go into detail but it’s just not necessary.

But every time I’ve called Babs to see if she wanted to go for a walk with me and Bleu at Wintergarden or Oak Openings, she’s always said, “I’ll be over in 5 minutes.”

And every time during our walks we get so wrapped up in our talks about food or family or just “stuff,” I think we’ve both forgotten that Bleu was with us, and unexpectedly Babs witnessed the craziest of black labs heeling and sniffing without any misbehaving or horrible misbehaving.

In other words, our walks have made me and Bleu better a better person/dog.


Quite frankly, I only like to go to Revolver Restaurant with FD. Alone.

When I tell people I think about food every minute of every day, I’m not lying. When I’m teaching, I’m thinking about food. When I’m grading, I’m thinking about food. When my boss is asking me to do something in the office, I’m thinking about food. When I’m doing yoga, I’m thinking about food. When I’m on Facebook, I’m thinking about food. When I’m writing about food, I’m thinking about food.

FD knows this. He lives it. For crying out loud, I cook for him. And I know he appreciates it. So when I have that moment of awe as I sip Butternut Squash and Apple soup at Revolver, most on-lookers think “orgasm” and FD just grins.

But it’s not sexual. It’s just foodie appreciation.

Babs gets that.

I texted her that a dish I made with chicken, wild mushrooms and kale would bring her tears. She wasn’t lying when she texted me back—after picking up the dish in 5 minutes and eating it for breakfast—“I wept.”

That’s Revolver.

If you sit there with this “yummo” glazed over-stare, you’re not getting it—the experience.

If you orgasm, obsess, try to break down ingredients and cooking methods, and sigh countless times, you get it.

That’s Babs.

No pretense. No “I’m smarter than all chefs.” No “I have to prove I’m an awesome cook.” Just “I love food and I want to try to make that.”

There’s no other way to put it: Babs and I have a food love affair.

Her blog gets into the juicy details of dishes, and quite frankly I normally would. I love Revolver, and any chance to review them lightens my heart.


That is meal I can’t review objectively.

I’ve had many perfect meals there with FD, or with FD and his in-laws, or with friends, but the meal I had there with FD, Babs, and me probably could bring me to tears if mentioned randomly to me at any moment in my life.

Babs’ go-getter/I’m-only-here-once mentality was divine. Her joy from the morels was the only factor in my food-envy of our first dish. Her portion-control restraint is mesmerizing and her ability to indulge without alcohol is mind-blowing (at least to me).

In other words, Revolver is on their game and using the FRESHEST of ingredients; they rock—as always. But last night, Babs made it rock. Her humor, her family stories, and her passion about food made it one of our most memorable Revolver times.

Well, I have to admit, Dan’s goat dish really helped.

And the fact that you’d only take reallyreallyreallreallyreally special people who love food, are adventurous, and care about where food came from to Revolver.

Babs is one of those people.


Babs is only moving to Nebraska, but in our four-year friendship, I’ve told her secrets I only tell my sister.

Who happens to be non-verbal.

I bet both will never spill the beans.

That’s how trustworthy Babs is.


I’ve always been horrible with conclusions.

How do you say good-bye to someone who is such an important part of your life?

I don’t know.

All I know is I’ll make her that “good luck” mix of songs, hug her, help her load the truck, and, that night, sob in FD’s arms.

I will miss her. Horribly.

But I plan visit ASAP.

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