You know you have a problem when food becomes an issue in your relationship. In this instance I don't mean arguments about food likes or dislikes, or even what or how much someone eats. It is much more simple than that: M and I had our second fight about food today.
This is sad but true. We wasted twenty minutes of our morning conversation discussing if sour cream gelato would help or hinder the flavor of stunning polenta cake with rosemary simple syrup and fresh blackberries. M said that adding the gelato would be "gilding the lily." I, having never understood the phrase "gilding the lily," argued that it seemed like a good idea to me.
I think that it is important to note that M has never tasted the polenta cake. For one, we live in two different cities and the cake is a newly discovered delight. Two, he doesn't really care for sweets. But since he eats in fancy San Francisco restaurants and has cooked professionally he feels he has the expertise to give an opinion about anything and everything related to food.
This is why in the thirteen months of our relationship we have had two heated discussions (fights) about dessert. I have read enough relationship columns to know that these "debates" are less about the food and more about power. Who gets to decide how we serve our polenta cake? Does the sweet tooth win, substituting sour cream gelato with its lemony twist for plain whipped cream? Or does the seasoned gourmound rule with his argument that you can ruin the best dishes by trying to do too much, by "guilding the lily."
We may never know. For I rule with the stomach with issues regarding food and and rule with the heart with everything related to love and life. M is much more measured: he analyzes, reflects, thinks and then issues a statement. This is one big difference between us, an "issue" that we try to work through-- who wins? Is it bad to loose? Who cares?
In the case of the polenta cake we decided a bake off was in order. I will make the cake, I will make the gelato and we will test. I, not feeling positive that gelato is indeed the perfect pairing have nothing to loose. If it tastes good to me, I will feast lustily. If it doesn't quite work I will still eat every bite but remember not to serve it the same way next time.
M has nothing to loose either. After all, he doesn't really like sweets which is always the caveat: "I don't really care for this but... I don't really like sweets." He'd choose a good glass of wine and a nice cheese over any sweetness, any day.
At the end of the day, we both loose (or win) as the case may be. Lessons of life and love learned through the voice of the appetite.