The Perfect Bite

So I’m speaking with my wife and she mentioned that I haven’t written about her lately in any of my blogs and she proceeds to remind me of the many topics I can derive simply by highlighting one of her quirks traits.

Today I will write about…the perfect bite.

If you ever have the opportunity to sit at a meal with my wife, it is a true study of how obsessive compulsive disorder can present itself through one’s eating habits. Let me explain.

Suppose at a dinner we are served a seven ounce filet of beef, a stalk of broccoli and a side of au gratin penne pasta (sophisticated Mac & Cheese to us more common folk). Most of us would cut a piece of steak, cut a piece of broccoli, try the pasta, maybe get more broccoli, a little more pasta, a piece of steak, etc.

Not my wife.

My wife will first look at the plate intently. Do not confuse this as prayer prior to her meal because she is studying distribution, placement and proportion of everything that has been served to her. She is coordinating colors, texture and potential taste of the many potential combinations. If there is any type of sauce (either on the side or on the plate, she will determine if is there for enhancement and/or accessory of the plate). All of these factors will be absorbed and formulated into her brain’s computer and she will produce an assessment that will be implemented with her two weapons of choice: her knife and fork.

Immediately she will embark to cut everything up into the perfect proportions, rotating the plate every quarter turn to get ample access to the item she is presently cutting. The steak will be last in the cutting phase to preserve all juices and prevent any dryness. The broccoli will be cut to display enough green and faint green in the stalks and the pasta will be scored with an imaginary line that will let her know how many pieces she can consume at each bite, insuring there will be enough pasta through the end of the meal.

This is the ritual known as the preparation of the perfect bite.

Halfway through my dinner, my wife is still prepping and then I am faced with terrible food envy because half of my food is gone and she has an entire culinary adventure that still awaits her. Often times she will pierce a piece of steak, add a piece of broccoli and put two pieces of pasta on the fork, enticing me to try the perfect bite. When I put it in my mouth, I immediately understand how Violet “You’re turning violet, Violet” Beauregard (from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) felt when she put the three-course dinner gum in her mouth – “Chewy, juicy steak, succulent steamed broccoli with a hint of garlic and creamy, cheesy penne pasta in a spicy Alfredo sauce…” My mouth and taste buds begin to sing a tune only achievable through the skillful orchestration of the perfect bite. My wife is a genius I think to myself until I remember how the perfect bite can also be a purveyor of betrayal and regret.

A few years back we were celebrating my cousin’s birthday and he decided to have a ‘fainting’ event in the middle of the restaurant. By the time the Paramedics arrived, some of us had tasted our dinner, but we needed to leave because my cousin was ill and required medical attention (that’s not true – we left the restaurant because in between the paramedics arriving, my cousin’s passing out incident and my cousin’s wife beating her husband back to life (who needs CPR when you have a desperate housewife?), we had made a scene and we were embarrassed). Because she was still knee-deep in the preparation stage, my wife didn’t get to taste one morsel of her food. In our hurry to get out of the restaurant, we paid our bill and exited the premises.

In this case, as my wife later learned over a cold bowl of Cheerios, her perfect orchestration had delivered a flat tune. The only perfect bite she got that night was given to her in a posterior, lower region of her body by the absent doggie bag she, regrettably, never brought home.

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