1998-Classic nostalgia. It was only apt that we met for the first time twenty years ago on the deck of a restaurant. I often write about my twenty-year journey with my husband and now it’s time for the journey with our son.
Meeting at a restaurant set the tone for the rest of our lives. This is the story behind our book A Taste of Gorgeous. At first when I thought about writing the story of our journey together, I thought: This is so close to my heart, but it’s such an ordinary story of ordinary people, yet that doesn’t really matter. Our story matters because we matter. We are enough. We are extraordinary. We have the freedom to be brave, afraid, vulnerable, strong, but most of all passionate and alive. We captured twenty years of life together in fifty beautiful recipes.
That day I walked up the restaurant stairs after a day of teaching scuba. He came down the same stairs, just a little slip of a boy. As our paths crossed he slipped and fell. I was mortified. Today his dad jokes and says I tripped him and he fell for me. He was only six years old. Six months later his dad and I were married. We had no money and there were sheets in front of the windows, mattresses on the floors and an ugly old used blue couch with holes in it. That couch was very special to me. It was there that all three of us sat squeezed together. He put his Charlie Chaplin pajama clad little arms around my neck, squeezed tight and kissed my cheek. I tentatively put my arm around his shoulders and pulled him into the crook of my arm. There I sat, too afraid to move in case he moves away. I knew nothing about children, but I was in love. I was in deep and in forever.
Soon I gave him kitchen duties. He was in charge of making his own breakfast. “But what am I supposed to do?” “Figure it out.” Soon he got it right and by age twelve he was cooking us dinner once a week. He chose the dish, had to make a grocery list, had a budget and I took him shopping where he got to choose his ingredients himself from the list. Butter chicken was his favorite and that was the dish he chose to cook first, served with steamed jasmine rice. It was perfect. I had written little notes in the recipe book for him as guidance. The page with the recipe was stained red with little tomato dipped fingerprints. I treasured that page. The book went everywhere with me. Later during a move it got stolen out of my car. I was heart broken. My little fingerprints were gone.
He loved being in the kitchen with me when we entertained friends and he would always show up the minute I set foot in the kitchen, offering eager help.
It was with sadness that I watch us drift apart and eventually lose complete connection for a few years. There were times where I thought I am going to have to let it be and let him go, but I couldn’t give him up and eventually I refused to give up. I sent him a Facebook friend request and to my surprise he accepted. I watched him grow into an amazing young adult from a distance. Thank goodness for social media!
That initial sadness changed into tremendous elated joy when we reconnected. Tentatively at first but then as time went by we connected with great fervor and our relationship was restored. Perhaps with greater strength than ever and I feel grateful that I didn’t give up.
His passion for food elevated. Soon he was washing dishes in a restaurant. He started with nothing and eventually worked his way up to become the executive sous chef at Shila restaurant, Tel Aviv. His food passion evolved into dessert and his dishes found maturity in the gorgeous works of art you see today in our book, in the chocolates he hand-makes and on the plates of pastry art he serves in the restaurant.
I’m proud to call him my son and I’m proud of the love that went into the making of our book. It is impossible to cram twenty years of our experience together into one book, but I hope that you will find the love in here an inspiration for you as you make these sweet treats for your friends and family.