For our latest Inviting Writing, we asked you to send in stories of food and dating: funny stories, sad stories, romantic stories, goofy stories—as long as they were true and involved food. This week's entry is about being stood up for someone else's date.
The story comes from Judy Martin, who works for a medical device manufacturer and lives in Cupertino, California. She writes a blog called Tastemonials.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
by Judy Martin
My husband and I were cruising down Highway 101 to Santa Barbara to visit my son during his sophomore year in college. About halfway there, the cell phone rang. It was my son. “Mom, I won’t be here when you arrive. I need to go on this beach camping trip.”
What! We’re driving seven hours for a visit and he won’t be there? “There’s this girl…” he continued. “There’s a group of us going and she’ll be there. I really want the chance to get to know her better. It’s only one night and I promise I’ll be back for lunch tomorrow.”
Sigh. We agreed to meet for lunch on Saturday. And true to his word, Matt arrived in time for lunch with a report on the previous night’s adventures. He related how they let most of the air out of the tires of our Honda Accord and drove on the beach trying to find the campers, and how the car almost washed into the sea as the tide came in. They had the car towed out of the sand several times and still never found the group with the camping gear. Would you tell this story to your parents?
But they did find the girls. Since they had no camping gear, they went to a friend’s apartment for the night. Fortunately, my son was in possession of the food for the trip. So around midnight, he cooked dinner for everyone and had the opportunity to talk to “the girl.” He was elated.
After lunch, Matt headed out for errands and hopefully some studying (?), and we went to the beach for the afternoon. Shortly after we parted ways, the cell phone rang. It was Matt again. There was hesitation on the line. “The girl,” he reported, was apparently impressed by his cooking the previous night and had invited him to make her dinner tonight. She requested the same dinner again—his secret grilled chicken recipe (marinated in Kraft Italian dressing, he later admits), grilled onions, garlic bread and beer. Remember, this is college.
Now, my son is a master at pleasing the parents. So I knew this was a real dilemma for him to consider ditching us again. This must be important for him to risk our displeasure after we’ve made the long drive to visit. He wouldn’t do this without careful consideration. With a disappointed sigh and a slightly threatening tone I told him, “go make this girl dinner. And she’d better be a winner.”
And was she? You bet she was! Was his dinner? I have no idea—I hadn’t eaten his cooking since his eighth grade Home Arts class. But she saw something in him or his cooking—enough to pique her interest and prompt her to invite him to cook dinner for her that night, their first real date.
Eight years later that special girl, who matured into an amazing woman, married my son. Now twelve years after that first grilled chicken dinner date, she is the mother of my adorable grandson. I have never regretted that I said “go” and he chose her over me for that dinner date. In the end, we were all winners.