Over a year ago I was starving.

And I don’t mean in the literal sense.

I mean it in the privileged first world sense that will make “woke” people roll their eyes and get ready to defend the plight of the truly afflicted.

I acknowledge that, but still I was starving. And whats worse I didn’t even know it.

Hear me out.

I was raised around delicious, scrumptious, flavorful, well seasoned meals. Eating can be one of life’s great pleasures and I was fortunate to have a family that gathered around fantastic, nutritious dishes. I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mom made almost everything from scratch, shopped at Whole Foods and the Cherry Creek Market, before local grocers were even a thing.

But life happens, and I grew up, moved to Columbus (I love you C-bus city, but you have a notorious reputation in the nation for loving mediocre food). And suddenly I stopped enjoying meals. They were meant to be done quickly and efficiently and often just enough to pad the stomach for a night out.

I was in graduate school and broke so, of course.

What I didn’t have growing up was open communication. I was considered to be the talker in my family, and I am very tight-lipped.

Fast forward to a year ago. After a particularly great day outside basking in the sun, hiking through a metro park, plucking sassafras and exploding pods from their stems with the lightest touch. J decided to cook dinner for us (his first of many/every dinner for all time- I hope).

We stopped by his parents house and were given a bag full of fresh tomatoes; red, orange and yellow, gifted from a dear friends garden. We walked up to my local sourced market and picked out a few seasonings and supplies.

I watched him work, carefully chopping onions, and lovingly slicing the tomatoes so the juice didn’t seep out. He sprinkled parsley and red pepper with fingers I didn’t know could be so delicate. He explained to me as he was cooking, the recipe, how he came to know it, how he had made it in the past, advice on how to make it in the future, and general thoughts on food. I’d never heard him talk so much, or so intuitively.

[My contribution was Prosecco with fresh blackberries dropped in. (Side note: I was then informed that J doesn’t like fruit in his drinks unless its blended or at least muddled in.)]

The meal was a feast, sitting at my little glass round table with only 3 chairs, and I can remember every single taste.

But I mostly remember his ardent preparation and conversation with me surrounding the food, and I how felt all the more full.