There was a time when I subscribed to Gourmet magazine and dreamed of becoming a gourmet cook. I remember finding a picture of a perfectly round, deeply orange orange on a perfectly matched plate, with a juicy looking, deep red strawberry balanced on top of it. I proudly showed it to Walt and told him that was the kind of thing I wanted to begin serving as a new bride.
He glowed. And married me, 43 years ago today. My wedding gift from my groom was a monogrammed set of of Gourmet magazine cookbooks.
We left the reception in Walt's 1953 Rambler (the car that hated me), and drove it to a location where our "real" car was hidden.
Our honeymoon was a trip to Canada. I don't remember how long it took us to get there, but there were obviously no opportunities to do any cooking. We stayed at a different motel a night, ending with a several-day stay at a cabin in Jasper National Park.
It was a strange cabin, which had a stove but no electrical outlet in what was supposedly the "kitchen" area, so while we had a toaster, we had to plug it into a socket on the mantle of the fireplace.
There was no refrigerator, so we didn't want to get foods that had to be kept cold. I was ticked to find canned bacon. How perfect! I could still cook bacon and use the grease to cook eggs, but we didn't have to deal with how to keep a slab of bacon cold.
So came the morning of my first breakfast cooked for my new husband. I went to turn on the stove and found that it didn't work, so Walt went and got the coleman stove from the car and we put that on top of the regular stove.
Then I discovered that canned bacon doesn't appear to have much grease. In fact, canned bacon may be one of the most vile things ever. It kind of glopped in the pan, never crisped and what was left to cook the eggs in was some sort of grey amorphous substance. You couldn't fry them because there wasn't enough "grease" (quotes used because I'm not convinced it was real grease or not!) so I scrambled them (Walt prefers fried eggs).
The eggs picked up the color of the cooking medium, so on the plate I had this yucky bacon-like stuff and grey scrambled eggs.
The only thing which worked in the kitchen was the toaster. It was one of those old fashioned kinds with the sides which flopped down to put in the bread. Then it toasted one side, you opened it up, turned the bread over and toasted the second side.
This was the world's fastest toaster. I swear, it toasted a piece of bread in literally seconds, which I didn't realize until I'd burned the toast. (I can't remember if I eventually got a decent piece of toast out of it, or if I just scrapped off the burned part and served it that way; for some reason I suspect the latter--we must not have had that much bread with us.
So there we were, the first meal of our married lives and I've served this totally inedible glop - gelatinous bacon, grey eggs and burned toast.
The only consolation was that Walt already knew I was a decent cook. I met him when I became the cook for the house he was living in and I had cooked a lot for him during the year we were engaged.
But our very first home cooked meal as a married couple was probably the worst meal I ever cooked in my life. I guess it didn't discourage him, because 43 years later, he's still eating my cooking!
Happy Anniversary, Dear...wherever you are at the moment! I hope you're eating something well-cooked. (He is returning from Santa Barbara today, briefly, returning in a few days for Tom's annual barbeque.)