What Not To Eat

on a date? First date at age 16, my parents made fun of me for years saying whomever it was would show up in an old red pickup truck. Guess what? Yep.

He had to come in and meet the family. He was 18 and I was 16 so my parents scoured the newspaper to find a PG movie. They settled on Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, a great movie I still recall. Then, the roads had frozen and Main Street was an icy mess so he did “donuts,” taking me home, 360 degree spinouts because all the smart people stayed home and didn’t drive in this kind of weather.

The next weekend I was asked out, same guy, to a nice restaurant. I didn’t want to get anything with tomato sauce because it could get on my outfit, whatever it was. Seventies, probably horrible. I loved salmon fillets so I got the salmon steak. I didn’t know where the bones were or how to extricate them or the skin. Ask me years later and I can skin and bone a salmon steak in no-time, place it yin and yang, toothpick together, season and pop on the grill. At sixteen, I had no clue. Cute guy went to Florida for Easter break and went out with a cheerleader for two years before coming back to me, for years. He married another cheerleader after I called off our engagement years later.

Don’t eat anything too spicy. If you’re going to an event or business meeting don’t get sunny side up eggs. Choose scrambled, they’ll brush off your suit if you accidentally spill a drop of yolk.

No tomato sauce. Steak and baked potato are OK but watch out for pot roasts and stews. Do not ever eat shell-on crab or lobster on a date unless you’re in the terroir, dressed for it and know what you’re doing. Example: shorts and t-shirt on the beach in Maine.

Basically, know what you’re doing. If you’re in Italy have your Bolognese. In Greece, eat the eel and octopus (I have textural and familial issues with both so I do not partake). When in France, traditional French cooks remove everything then place it back as garnish. It’s like Mom cutting up your meat.

In Scotland stay away from burgers. They look and taste like hockey pucks and are bloody expensive. Go for the salmon and mussels. Their pizza is great as well.

I should not have named this what I did. Try any kind of meal you’d like, in any city or country. I have, and it’s part of how I learned how to cook, and eat. There are just certain things, like tomato sauce, that can ruin your suit for a meeting, or a salmon steak you don’t understand that leaves you starving, to think about. Cheers and good eating! I just finished a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon! Dee


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