Nothing Says Romance Like Radicchio

I can't begin to tell you how many flowers I've destroyed playing this childish game. Truth is, we all play it, one way or another. Is love a game of chance or is it day labor?

Some say it's fate. In some cases, I think that's true. You have to ask yourself, "Is the timing right? Am I mentally available for a relationship?" I had a friend who used to say, "You just need to find someone with similar baggage." He may be right, too.

Sometimes it's just easier to tear apart that damn flower than spend hours picking apart different scenarios. I think there's a simpler way to tell whether someone loves you — pick apart a meal they prepare for you.

I recently had a close friend visit me, and she brought some fresh greens. Granted, she works as an organic farmer, but she really put some love into her spicy salad creation.

This spicy salad mix isn't some run-of-the-mill supermarket bag salad. I tasted exotic peppery things, and my imagination soared in every direction with each magical bite. She rattled off a list of ingredients: French Batavian lettuce, Rouge Grenobloise lettuce, Merlot Batavia, red romaine, bull's blood beet tops, wasabi mustard greens, mixed chard, Erba stella, and mixed radishes. Talk about love! I wish deep down that a woman would concoct such a mixture just for me. I would have submitted to about anything she requested.

My gal-friend is beautiful, but when she talks about her salad and the organic farm, she becomes radiant. Her rants about radicchio are a bigger turn-on than any porn on the Web.

What I'm getting at here is the passion and time and love that go into creating something true and original. I could give a monkey-fuck if a person is excited about bicycle tires or chess, just as long as they are passionate about it! It's that passion that lights my fire. I meet so many people in everyday life who aren't passionate about anything. I can't stand being around such life-sucking people; they feed off others' passions, others' creations, and all they do is take, take, take.

When I think back to the ones that got away, I always remember that they were the ones who created masterpieces in the kitchen. I've had women make 12-ingredient Thai dishes from scratch that obviously required much shopping and practice. I've had pasta made from piles of flour and eggs and veal shank osso buco that took all day to cook.

I've also been part of throwing together meals for babes that consisted of Trader Joe's pre-made stuffed salmon, hummus, and baby veggies out of plastic tubs. Trader Joe's = passionless-I-want-to-pull-your-dress-over-your-head-in-a-hockey-move coitus. The pre-made crap means "I care more about being in your pants than spending time creating something special" (double entendre on purpose). If your dates make stuff from a mix, then they're hoping for more time in the bedroom than in the kitchen.

But if you just take your time and cook from scratch, then I guarantee you'll get the same quality and attention between the sheets. Seriously, how hard is it to throw together a salad?

Now the downside: If s/he spends too much time in the kitchen, then you'll know it's time to run. I know this principle is a little sad/pathetic, but let's face it: Sometimes, you simply aren't emotionally available for someone. Some of us may never be (until we accidentally knock someone up).

I suggest a happy medium. Make a few things from scratch, and then throw in a dish or two that's pre-made. I'll often get a pre-made appetizer and chips and a simple side, and then go crazy on a complicated main dish. This mix-and-match keeps them on their toes.

So instead of destroying those beautiful little flowers, start cooking in the kitchen. Hell, it's like I always say: You need to stop by the side of the road once in a while and eat the roses.

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C.M. Redding
Contact: C.M. Redding