The other night, The Frenchman and I were at a soiree in downtown Aix. The hostess put down a bowl of eggplant dip and a plate of juicy bell pepper strips.
I took one bite of the bell pepper and howled: “OH MY GOD! This is the freshest bellpepper I’ve ever tasted in my life!”
I chomped several more slices. Tangy-sweet, crunchy and unbelievably juicy.
The next day, I was cooking for The Frenchman. We had bought onions at the local market the day before. I sat down with the bread board and a sharp knife, and started cutting. Within seconds, my eyes were flooded with hot, painful tears. My makeup began to run, adding to the fiery stabbing pains. I ran blindly to the bathroom, stumbling. The Frenchman caught my arm in the nick of time — he’d just poured some very nasty drain cleaner in the bathroom sink. Running water would have been potentially disasterous. He rushed me back into the kitchen where he helped me clean and soothe my tortured peepers.
“What happened?” he asked, still alarmed because I could barely talk, I was in so much pain.
“The onions,” I said. “They made me cry.”
“Honey, of course they made you cry! It helps to open the door for air.”
“But…but onions don’t make you cry!” I said. “I’ve never cried when cutting an onion!” I did cry cutting onions when I was a kid growing up in the foothills of Sacramento, but that was a long time ago, and a lot of different onions under the bridge. Are onions chemically different in L.A. than here? It shouldn’t be. The onion was cold. That should have helped.
And then there are the egg yolks. They’re sunflower yellow, like dollops on Cezanne’s palette. The Frenchman says we don’t even have to keep them in the refrigerator.
I’m so confused.
I thought I knew food. I don’t know jack.
I don’t even know jack cheese.