One of the first time I looked twice at Mathieu…was when I watched him make salad dressing. True.
Because when you work on a ship with a nine-to-one male/female gender ratio, you – as a woman – tend to have your guard up. All the time. Much more so than on land. And your eyes down. You’re a commodity, and thus men try to get your attention in weird ways all the time. Being hot isn’t a factor so much as simply being female.
Mix the many different cultures into the bag, with the many many ways you and your actions can be misinterpreted, and then remember that YOU WILL HAVE TO LIVE WITH THESE PEOPLE, off work and on, at every meal, walking down the hall, at the bar…well, you get the picture. It takes a lot for a person to register as something different on your radar when your guard is up.
One day I walked into the crew mess and saw Mathieu standing with a bowl, emptying tiny single serve packets of mustard into a bowl, followed by packets of vinegar. A little salt, a little pepper, and then a slow stream of oil while he whisked the mixture briskly with a fork.
“Is he…cooking?” I thought incredulously.
He joined me at the table a few minutes later with a whipped vinegarette. I stared.
“Try this,” he offered. I did. It was great. And I looked at him again with new respect…and a little bit of a crush? Maybe?
Men that can cook, that are self reliant, that are passionate, that care about good cuisine: just awesome. Mothers, tell your teenage sons to take a cooking class! It really does impress women.
Mathieu can COOK. He knows how to make quiche, and oysters, and Hollandaise sauce. He can make ratatouille and Spanish omelettes and beef carpaccio. He knows the difference between boletes and chantrelles and when to use black truffle oil. We order pizza and sometimes are lazy with cooking, but when he’s in the mood, he can COOK.
And I love it. I love that it’s something he cares about, that he knows the difference between good food and great food. It’s really attractive to me!
Being tired and run down, cooking has not been on my list…food tastes weird and I can’t ever think of anything I want. My appetite is kind of not good…so Mathieu has been stepping up a lot in the kitchen. Cooking for him is an act of love.
All that said: here is last night’s dinner. Avocado mango salad, with radish slices and fresh chives. Roquefort pasta with crispy baked bread crumbs. And baked pear in creme with cinnamon for dessert.
Tonight he took the baby to watch football and order pizza with his friends…to have a “boys'” night. He was so excited to take the little shrimp, too! Which means mama gets a night to take a long pre-night nap (I don’t sleep much at night right now), watch “Hannibal”, and put on a mud mask.
I could write love poems to this man all day long.