Truffle Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! With love on the mind today, I thought I’d post an essay I wrote for a wedding blog back in 2010. I had just relocated from Manhattan to Washington DC, and moved into my then fiancé’s apartment. Almost four years later, this is a battle still being waged in our home.

Truffle Love February 2010

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I am sure that in a past life I must have been a truffle-sniffing pig. I love everything about truffles; their strong woody flavor, their dark, knobby appearance, and the fact that they hail from France. During my culinary explorations throughout the United States and abroad, I’ve collected every truffle related item that I can find. I have truffle salts and truffle oils, I’ve purchased fresh truffles by the ounce to shave over risotto, and if there were a truffle perfume, I’d buy that, too. Last July when I moved from Manhattan to DC, I even cleared a special cupboard in my fiancé’s kitchen for all of my truffle paraphernalia.

So, it goes without saying that the first time we grilled steaks together as a couple, I reached into my special cupboard and pulled out a small jar of truffle salt. As I began seasoning the first cut, he stopped me to inquire what I was doing. I explained to him the delicacy of the truffle, and held the jar up for him to smell. “I hope you’re not putting that on my steak!” he said, then reached into his not-so-special cupboard and pulled out a clear plastic container that read “McCormick’s Montreal Grill-Mates Steak Seasoning.” Hmmm. He shook the contents over his steak, turning it the color of red brick, and smiled his wicked little smile. “You don’t even want to try my salt?!” I asked with exasperation. “No, I do not!” he replied. I let the issue drop. You see, although I may have complete rein over the kitchen, he’s made it perfectly clear that grilling is his territory. The only assistance I’m allowed to offer up is letting him know when my steak has stopped mooing so that he can remove it from the flame. And so it went; he seasoned his steaks with McCormick’s, and I seasoned mine with truffle salt.

As summer turned to fall, and our grill was put away for the season, we had to resort to cooking our steaks by stovetop. Soon after, fall turned to winter, and both of us noticed the extra padding around our middle that an indoor lifestyle will inevitably create; and so our steaks became steak salad. Now, my fiancé’s not one for health food, but he loves steak salad. He asks for it on a weekly basis. One evening when he was out of town, I got a single text message from him that read: I’m craving your steak salad. Not I miss you, or I love you, or even I can’t wait to see you tomorrow, just I’m craving your steak salad. Every time I serve it, he tells me it’s the best one yet, even though he knows that I don’t change a single ingredient from week to week. It’s always the same; bitter greens, sautéed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, pomegranate vinaigrette, and thinly sliced filet mignon, but to him, it just keeps getting better. After setting his meal in front of him, I wait for him take that initial bite, I watch for his reaction, and then I smile with satisfaction when he tells me again that it is the best one yet.

For months I’ve been patient, biding my time, waiting for him to notice, and then last week it happened. As he took his first bite, he sighed and said, “This really is the best one yet. The steak is so flavorful, what do you season it with?” My moment had arrived; he had finally asked the question I had been longing to hear. I wanted to savor it for all eternity. I put my fork down, looked into his eyes and said, “Truffle salt.” He stared at me for what seemed like an hour, silently nodded his head in defeat, and continued eating. And he was right, it really was the best one yet, because even more delicious than the truffle salt, is victory!

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