It was a week or two after I started taking lute lessons that I met my husband, Kyle. He was our teacher’s only other pupil, a classical guitar student, and since a) I was learning the preliminary techniques of lute playing on guitar and b) we were both beginner adult students, our teacher felt inspired to combine our lessons.
So, every Monday I would have my half-hour lesson, followed by a half-hour “group” lesson. Kyle then had his half-hour lesson after. After a few months of this arrangement, our teacher announced that the time had come to prepare for our first recital. As a result, in addition to practicing faithfully on our own every day, we would need to get together at least once a week outside of our lessons to practice together.
We were dedicated students, and followed our instructions faithfully. After all, we would be the only guitar players – not to mention the only adults – on the program. The performance was otherwise replete with piano students – most of them quite young – from several teachers who were working together to put on one big recital. We wanted to at least be able to hold our own.
It was during these required practices that we started laying the first tentative bricks in the foundation of our relationship. To begin with, we mostly practiced, and the conversation revolved for the most part around music. Soon, though, the topics expanded to cover a broad range of interests and experience, including work, hobbies, movies, food, travel, art, history, religion, politics and current events. Slowly, unwittingly, we were getting to know each other better. And, unbeknown to us, falling in love.
The first time I cooked dinner for my husband-to-be, there were actually no romantic overtones. Or undertones, or any tones aside from the musical variety. I just put the invitation out to him for practical reasons. If he came over right after work, we could eat and get the practicing out of the way that much quicker. I think, although I can’t remember exactly, that one of us had something to do that evening, and the sooner we got the practice out of the way, the better.
Even though I was definitely not interested – or at least that’s what I kept telling myself, positive that he was definitely not interested – I wanted to make something at least a little bit impressive. In the most platonic way, you understand? So I pulled out a recipe for easy, home made spaghetti sauce that I had adapted from a recipe I found in Real Simple Magazine.
As we noshed, we chatted about everything and nothing. Good food seems to inspire that. And then we practiced our music, as planned, and parted.
It wasn’t long after that, that our practice times started to get shorter and shorter and our conversations started to get longer and soon we were meeting up for reasons that were completely unrelated to music. Two years later, we married.
Today, I’m sorry to report, we almost never practice anymore. With two very small children, a new puppy, an online publication and a million other distractions that life throws at you, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to fit it in. We still eat the Real Simple Spaghetti, however. In fact, it’s one of Kyle’s favourite dishes that I make.
It’s a good dish for Valentine’s Day, I think. A good meal to fall in love over.
Fresh, red tomatoes, diced, are the essential starting point. From there, the modifications are limitless.
We like to mix fresh white mushrooms, cut up in large chunks, into the sauce. Put them straight in without sautéing first and let them cook just a little in the simmering sauce.
A soft cheese, such as goats cheese, gives the sauce a creamy taste, in contrast to the jalapeño zip.
The finished spaghetti, served with a side of cranberry bread from Cobbs Bakery.
Make Love, Not Music Spaghetti Sauce
3 tomatoes, chopped
3 oz crumbled goat’s cheese
1 small seeded and finely chopped jalapeno
1/4 Cup chopped basil
A generous glug of olive oil
Parmesan cheese to garnish
Depending on how adventurous you’re feeling, other good ingredients include mushrooms, spinach and meatballs, used separately or together. Use lots or little, according to taste.
1. Cook enough spaghetti for two, to package instructions
2. Combine ingredients in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until heated through. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and pour over spaghetti, then top with parmesan.
Serves 2 large plates – or 1 very large plate if you want to up the romance factor, Lady and the Tramp style.
– Story and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier