Remember all of those times you encouraged me to go back to school — and finally signed me up and told me to get busy? Well, a funny thing happened this past week in my sociology class. I learned that there are actually some clinical labels for our relationship and marriage. None of them describe us with total accuracy, but I’d still like to share with you what I learned.
We really hit it off when we first met and I wanted to be with you every minute. Come to find out, that was lust on my part. I don’t know what you saw in me, but I saw those wonderful eyes of yours and felt like it was love at first site. (That’s called eros, by the way.)
As you know, we became inseparable in the early days … almost obsessed. That type of love is called mania. Indeed we had the mood swings and emotional intensity to go along with the label, but thankfully we tired of such shenanigans. At some point early on, we also experienced ludus love. Lewd. Us. How wonderful that was! But, it was akin to lust and not enough to see us through … on its own.
We traveled through various stages and eventually arrived at the type of love that can only be ours — a mutual trust with deep affection. You know all too well that getting here wasn’t easy. You and I have fought and cried over our losses; gave up everything for a second chance; and cried again from the resulting pain. If there’s a clinical description for that, I’ve not found it. But I’ve learned something about our marriage.
Ours is a combo-marriage … a fusion of companionate (that’s equality and friendship) and romantic (destiny and ever after) with a pinch of traditional. According to my text, the child-rearing phase of our marriage is typically when marital satisfaction takes a dip. Sure, our children get on our nerves, but I’ve had a lot of fun raising a family with you. (That’s not a hint, by the way!)
You have been my rock. You’ve made it easier for me than I deserve. And you’ve made it most pleasurable along the way. How I lucked out by meeting you and convincing you to love me, I’ll never know. There’s apparently no sociological term for that feeling either. The text also doesn’t include a moniker for two lovers who are much the same, but quite different. Nor is there terminology to describe my undying love and continued butterflies after almost 20 years with you.
Truth is, this sociology stuff – with all of its survey groups and random samples – is fascinating. But your mother’s wisdom is so much more enlightening when it comes to relationships. I once heard her say ‘There’s a lid for every pot.’
You’re my lid, Catherine. You fit me perfectly. I appreciate you more than you know, and you are — and will always be — the green apple Jelly Belly of my eye. Though neither of us are in a big hurry to grow old, I’m so glad that I’ll be doing it with you.
I’m forever yours,
P.S. – You told me not to buy you chocolate for Valentine’s Day. I haven’t, although I can’t guarantee that you won’t see some half-priced chocolate hearts around the house on February 15.
Many times when I have made attempts to be romantic, I’ve turned to the great Marcella Hazan. Her cookbooks, anyway. One of my favorite recipes of hers is also one of the simplest. And I’ve managed to serve it on romantic occasions many times with high marks from my bride. But also consider serving it to guests. There’s just something impressive about taking everyday ingredients and making something so delicious — but they don’t have to know that you borrowed the idea from Marcella.
If you want to cook Marcella’s version, it can be found in her bestseller cookbook Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. The basic differences between hers and the one below are my use of olive oil (instead of vegetable oil/butter); and I also add some fresh breadcrumbs to the pork mixture.
Pork & Rosemary-stuffed Chicken Breasts
Make the filling
1/2 lb – Ground pork
2 cloves – Garlic
2 TB – Extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp – Fresh Rosemary leaves, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup – Fresh bread crumbs
Peel and lightly smash the coves. Place them in a medium skillet with oil. Cook on medium heat until the garlic begins to lightly brown – about 4-5 minutes. Add the pork, Rosemary and salt & pepper to taste. Cook for about 10 minutes, crumbling the pork in the mean time. When there is no pink remaining in the meat, remove it with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate (to absorb excess oil). Remove and discard garlic. Once meat completely drains, mix with bread crumbs in a medium bowl. Set aside. — Remove excess oil and grease from frying pan. You will use this same pan to cook the stuffed chicken.
Make the stuffed chicken
3 – Boneless chicken breast halves
2 TB – Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup – Dry white wine
Cut each chicken breast in half so that you end up with (six) breast pieces, each half as thick as the original piece. Place 2-3 TB of the meat filling in each breast piece; roll tightly and secure with toothpicks. **The breast pieces should be wide enough to stuff and roll, but if not, place between plastic wrap and pound slightly with a mallet.
Place olive oil into the skillet. Heat to medium-high. Add stuffed chicken. Cook, turning frequently, until all sides are browned – about 5-7 minutes. Remove cooked chicken and place on plate. Add wine to pan, using a spoon to remove bits from the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.
Makes six Pork & Rosemary-stuffed Chicken Breasts