Dancing about architecture.

One of the things that I worry about in group situations is whether I am a picky person. I’m not the kind of picky person who, like one of my relatives, makes declarations that, “Deviled eggs are vile.” (I bet that made the person who made the deviled eggs feel really good. Also, what kind of adult makes proclamations like that? You’re not six years old. And, for the record, I love deviled eggs. Send them to me if you don’t want them.) I do have likes and dislikes, but I always try to be as polite as possible.

The first time that my hackles were raised was when I turned down the offer of pancakes on a retreat, saying, “I don’t care for pancakes.” My thought was, the previous morning I had managed to get pretty sick off of cinnamon rolls and coffee, and I wanted nothing to do with another sugar fest. The profferer looked at me and said, derisively, “You’re really picky.” (I think not eating pancakes shows good sense, myself. “Young man, you’re not having cake for breakfast. You’re having fried cake with syrup for breakfast. Now load up on that and try not to nap” . . . “Looks like I’m not showering today. I’ll be digesting those carb cakes for HOURS…”)

It cut. It did. You can see that coming out in the mint chocolate chip incident – I am terrified of being called picky. Which leads to me eating things that I don’t like. (It doesn’t hurt me, though. I swear.)

This is all ground we’ve covered before, but I was thinking this weekend about pickiness because Mike and I went to Bianca’s for their 24th annual Abbondanza. Mike commented that a lot of people wouldn’t care for the set menu format, because it requires some risks, but it was totally worth every penny we spent. I didn’t mind putting myself in Bianca’s hands, though, because I’ve never eaten anything there that I didn’t think was wonderful. Without one bit of exaggeration or hyperbole, I truly believe that the Abbondanza was some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Plus, it was the fanciest meal I’d ever had, seven courses of deliciousness. Just so we can remember, here’s what we had, and what we thought.

Appetizer: Fried italian bread with an olive tapenade

I love olives, so I was in heaven. Mike likes olives less than I do, and even he was able to appreciate the flavors. Just delicious.

Salad: Romaine with peppercorn caesar dressing, fried parmesan cheese, roasted pine nuts, and proscuttio

Our only complaint was that the salad had a little too much dressing. Otherwise, yum-o. (hee.) I didn’t eat all of this because I thought, “This is only the second course! I need to slow down!”

Pasta: Gnocchi with sundried tomato and gorgonzola cheese sauce

I am not kidding when I say that this is maybe the best food I have ever eaten. Oh. My. Goodness. I didn’t want this course to end. I wanted to take boxes of this home with me and eat it for the rest of my life. It was fantastic.

Fish: Sea bass in an herb broth

Mike and I are not big fish eaters (Mike had a Bad Salmon Incident), but this was quite good. It’s a fairly mild fish, and the herb broth was good.

Sorbet: Lemon with champagne

I always like sorbet, but there was something extra special about this one (oh, maybe it was the champagne. hehe). Seriously, it tasted great and got us ready for the entree.

Entree: Pork arrabiata, a veal spear stuffed with something and anchovies, and a side of cabbage

Of the whole meal, the cabbage was the only thing we thought maybe wasn’t the best. The pork and veal were both great, though. I let Mike finish my pork, but not because I didn’t like it, just because I was getting pretty full.

Dessert: Custard with a side of strawberries and dark chocolate

The perfect way to end the meal – each of the flavors was wonderful by itself, but combined together they were exponentially better.

Now, see, with all those things, I couldn’t possibly be a picky eater! Look how much I ate! (How defensive am I?! Also: I can put away some food!) I even ate some of the cabbage (I am not opposed to cabbage in general), but I decided that if I didn’t love it, I should save my calories for dessert (and I’m glad I did, because by the end, I couldn’t possibly have eaten one more bite).

Last month, Mike and I went to see Snakes on a Plane on a Thursday night and Little Miss Sunshine that Saturday afternoon. We appreciated each in different ways, but as I commented to a friend, “I don’t discount the very great pleasure of being married to someone who can enjoy both of those movies with me in one weekend.” Likewise, sharing this meal with Mike made me happy to be married to someone who enjoys food, whose tastes, while not exactly the same as mine, overlap enough that we could both enjoy what we were having. Those aren’t the most important things in a marriage, but, as cheesy as it is, I like it when we can appreciate things together, when things like movies and food and television shows and trips are experiences we can share. I am thankful to be traveling this life with him by my side, especially when that traveling involves fantastic food.

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