A few weeks ago, I wandered back into the tiny kitchen of the Chef’s restaurant in the afternoon. Something warm and enticing drew me in, something besides the promise of kisses. It smelled oddly familiar in there, a smell my nose hadn’t wolfed down in years. I had to know.
When I walked in, I saw him, grinning, that little-boy enthusiasm in his eyes. And in his hands? A loaf of warm bread. Crusty, yeasty homemade bread. He held out the red terrine pan to me, so that I could bend down my head and smell. When I lifted my eyes to him, he saw the tears in them.
“Sweetie, what is it?” he said, his face a sudden scrim of worry.
I couldn’t talk for a moment. Then, I gulped out, “You made me bread.”
The loaf you see here came from a mix by Mona’s Gluten-Free. Mona’s, located in Woodinville —— just a few miles outside of Seattle —— has been making great gluten-free mixes for years. I’ll tell you more about them soon, but suffice it to say that the mixes work well. The Chef infused this particular loaf of bread with dried lavender. Later, he made lavender toasts, then topped them with smoked salmon mousse he made himself. I dined off that for days.
A week later, I went to the restaurant to have dinner with a friend. As she and I chattered and drank wine, Deb put down a basket of bread between us. I didn’t even look at it. I’m used to blocking that out. However, Deb turned toward me, and said, “The Chef sent that out for you.” I folded back the white napkin and saw it: slices of warm, crusty bread, for dipping in olive oil. Gluten-free.
I nearly cried again.
This is love.