He Proposed! Engagement Celebration Blog

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“Spreading love, one recipe at a time!”

The back-story that inspired the menu that inspired the recipes! Foodie and Love stories combining love, romance, and adventure (remember this is all fiction my friends)! Let me take my paintbrush, paint the scene and the mood to take you there…

Inspired Quote to love by: “Love yourself first, so you know what you deserve.” ~ Unknown

LOVE DATELINE: What Every Girl Dreams Of

Where: Paris, France (destination diamond)

When: Summertime 1996

Mood: Happy, happy, happy (did I say happy) and filled with anticipation!

Emotion:  Joy, Joy (squared)

The Proposal – The I Do

I have had a sum total of two (or was it two and a half) wedding proposals in my life. One accepted, the others sadly declined (sorry about that, forgive me). The proposal that I accepted was from the one, the only Humphry Bogart – Mr. Romance – in the city of love and romance, Paris. I used to live in Paris when I worked as a nanny for a French film actress many moons ago. I had one very special romantic place in the big city.  It was (and still is) Pont Neuf (translated New Bridge). It’s the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine, built in 1607, it still stands today withstanding the test of time. The bridge has a total of twelve beautiful arches spanning the river. It’s Paris’s best-known bridge and one of its most beautiful. OK, you get the picture. Romantic bridge, romantic city, beautiful setting…now what? Humphry Bogart and I flew to Paris so that I could introduce the city to my then-boyfriend. It was great to show him around and re-live my early 20’s. We walked everywhere (the best way to explore Paris) and ate at the best French Restaurants! Delicious! Romantic! I didn’t really suspect a wedding proposal – however – he did ask me before we left where my most favourite romantic place was in Paris. Hmmm? Foreshadowing perhaps? We walked, we soaked up the beautiful city. I was the tour guide, he the tourist – lost only once and that was intentional! Actually I am a very good tour guide, I have a great sense of direction (when I want to). On that note, we left our hotel on the Left Bank, heading towards Notre Dame Cathedral.

Diamonds Are a Gift’s Best Friend

The route took us across Pont Neuf (how conveniently planned by Mr Romance)! He was definitely a little un-nerved that day, although I didn’t quite understand why? I didn’t imagine that if he was going to propose that it would be during the day in broad daylight! I always had this image of a wedding proposal (hopefully mine one day) happening with the romantic darkness of night as the backdrop with no one else around…maybe I had seen too many movies! Well, we reached Pont Neuf, strolled across, reached a beautiful setting and that was the spot where he proposed to me.The words “Will you marry me?” and ring slipped on my finger said it all. I was shocked, first of all because of the proposal itself and secondly this wasn’t quite the script that I had written in my mind (the element of surprise is always a good thing though when you’re being proposed to). I was definitely caught by surprise (I know you would have been too). Of course I was ecstatic and I of course accepted! Wouldn’t you be…the moment we all wait for as we dine on our steady diet of romance! The ring absolutely stunning, sparkling in the sunlight; I couldn’t stop staring at it, thinking to myself “Do I get to keep this?” Thank you. Yes, yes, yes I will marry you, my heart overflowing with love! It was a beautiful point in my life, saying yes to my fiancé. The sparkling diamond, the smiles from well-wishers on the busy bridge, the sunshiny day, the happiness in my heart. I was overflowing with happiness, you couldn’t stop me from smiling if you tried. What a beautiful place to be proposed to, it was all-so perfect and now Pont Neuf has new meaning to me. Click if you want to check out an interactive Google map of the Paris, the city of romance and find Pont Neuf for your marriage proposal! Definitely go to Paris for your wedding proposal (if you have any input).  When you get there, please give Paris a big hug from me, she needs it night now.


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PS Love your food, what comes from the heart touches the heart! Craving isn’t a ‘Bad Word,’ food IS sexy!

PSS I came up with this handy wallet-sized ‘Manly Ranking Scale’ – pull it out when you need it! It’s similar to the Richter Magnitude Scale that measures earthquakes (the idea came to me as I survived a major earthquake in Vegas years ago). I’ll grade each man of my life at the time of my Love Dateline story! Feel free to grade the man of your life, If he’s a +10 (and I hope he is), I’d say go for it!:


10-Manly rating card-2

Humphrey Bogart is such a hopeless romantic at heart, it was a beautiful proposal and I said ‘I do!’

Check out the complete “He Proposed! Engagement Celebration” menu

LOVE DATELINE: Celebrate Good Times

Where: Home is where the heart is

When: Once the ring is on your finger

Mood: Happy, happy, happy (did I say happy)!  Filled with love and anticipation.

Emotion:  Joy, Joy (squared)

Future Husband-in-waiting

He proposed, so now what? Say yes!!!! Impress the heck out of him and serve this delicious celebratory meal. I didn’t make this meal for my fiancé, nope, I’ll admit it. I was inspired to create this ‘Menu of Love’ now just for you. At the time I didn’t quite have the skills nor expertise to create this menu for ‘my’ Humphy Bogart, otherwise I would have. The menu came years later when I taught cooking classes – this was a comfort food menu that I lovingly designed. I painstakingly selected comfort food dishes that I really like and that married well together (pun not intended at all, it just slipped in). Your future husband will fall in love with you all over and over again once you make this meal for him! Especially once you serve the apple pie…you can never go wrong with apple pie! He’ll be so happy that you’re going to be his bride! Serve your prince “When You Wish Upon a Star” Sweet Potato, Caramelized Onion, Wild Mushroom & Goat Cheese Tarte followed by “Love Me Tender, Give Me a Ring” Dried Cranberry, Nut & Bulgur Wheat-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Savoury Pan Gravy and “I Don’t Want a Man Who I Can Live With, I Want a Man Who I Can’t Live Without” Roasted Rosemary & Garlic Fingerling Potatoes and “He’s a Keeper” Warm French Green Bean Salad with Toasted Walnuts & Crispy Shallots. The crème de la crème and what we’ve all been waiting for will be your “Dear Future Husband – Don’t Ever Rock the Boat” Warm Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie with Whipped Maple Cream. Who doesn’t LOVE apple pie and whipped cream & maple syrup – who came up with that decadent combination I ask? A match made in food heaven, just like you (I had to write that, couldn’t resist)! I’m sure that he’ll never, ever rock the boat (at least in the first year or two).

FOODIE DATELINE: The Culinary Trenches

Where: St. Lawrence Market, Toronto

When: Sometime around 2008(ish)

Mood: Keen and green

Emotion: Joy (at first)

Crispy Shallots Therapy

Here’s a foodie story to explain how I learnt how to make and came to love the crispy shallots for the Warm Green Bean Salad (the hard way). I was a kitchen assistant during a cooking class at St Lawrence Market in Toronto. I was keen and hungry to learn anything and everything there was to know about food, I ate it right up (I know, ha ha). With that said, I was a keener, on my toes and soaking up the whole culinary experience. The big Chef (when I say big I mean BIGGGG) arrived and put her minions to work – that was me! She filled the room, her voice boomed as she lobbed out kitchen commands like curve balls, but she seemed kind of sweet to me at the same time. She reminded me somehow of Aunt Jemima – you know cuddly Aunt Jemima of pancake fame. I grew up with Aunt Jemima (loving pancakes), so her persona was actually comforting. Now back to work…there was a lot to pull together in a short period of time before the students arrived. I was the runner, in haste we prepped for the class and laid everything out. OK, good. I could sense that she was a bit of a kitchen control freak/perfectionist…so my guard was up as I paid very close attention to class planning, on my tip toes now.

Show Time

It seemed like we were all set and just in time – whew – I wiped my brow. The class was a demo-style class, so it wasn’t particularly interactive. I was put to the task (or should I say test) of frying the shallots with a group of students. Now…I know this might seem odd (it did to the Chef), I’d fried shallots before but I’d never made Crispy Fried Shallots before. Silly me. They had to be lightly dredged in flour and deep-fried. Simple enough and something new for me to learn, good, I like to learn. I started to prep the shallots based upon her instruction and then I asked her a tiny, teeny, little question about the deep-frying technique.

The Heat

That’s when all h%$& broke lose. In front of the entire class she had a meltdown, I had a target on my back. I simply asked one simple, innocent question and she exploded “Have you never deep-fried shallots in your life, don’t you know anything about cooking?” At least I think that’s how it was delivered as her voice boomed across the kitchen – it seems about right. She completely over-reacted and bubbled over. My eyes were the size of saucers (or pancakes); I couldn’t believe that she, Aunt Jemima, would belittle me like this in front of the entire class (I wasn’t exactly ‘new’ nor a novice in the kitchen). I was momentarily stunned, I felt about one inch high, and at a loss for words. Ahhh, no Aunt Jemima, she shattered my childhood image in one fell swoop. I quickly pulled myself together and found my voice, reminding myself that kindness goes a long way. I smiled, stared her straight in the eye and said as sarcastically and as sweetly as I could manage “No, I haven’t done this before.” She knew that I was not a happy minion at this point and that she’d crossed the line. She backed down immediately (she needed my help). Her mood swung the other direction like a pendulum; she became as sweet as apple pie (or pancakes ‘n maple syrup) and patiently showed us the technique (can you say bipolar)? I considered walking out right then and there and leaving her to it, but instead I decided to finish – frying and steaming in silence. I know that the audience of students felt sorry and embarrassed for me (I did for me too). I will never, ever forget that moment in time and the humiliation. After the class ended, she tried to make light of her behaviour, with ‘sweep it under the rug’ type of damage control. Not buying it, damage done…no forgiveness for bad kitchen behaviour at that point in time. No conversation. She was no longer Aunt Jemima* in my eyes. Done, done and goodbye y’awl.

*I truly did have an affinity for Aunt Jemima and her feel-good pancakes ‘n syrup, a childhood feel-good favourite. In fact when we had chickens, yes real chickens, on our small farm, I named ‘my’ chicken Aunt Jemima because I loved her persona so much (Jemima starts with a ‘J’ – we had 26 chickens to match the letters in the alphabet – J for Jemima was all mine, my favourite chicken of all)!

Happy Ending

On the upside I still love Crispy Fried Shallots, it’s a delicious way to liven up a vegetable dish (as you’ll see). Although yes, agreed, I learnt the recipe the hard way! The good news is that I haven’t had to go for shallot counseling or anything like that to be at peace with Crispy Fried Shallots. Even better yet, I never, ever crossed paths nor shallots with the Big Chef Aunt Jemima ever again!! I did forgive her and her rudeness though eventually, life’s to short to cry over sliced shallots. The end. Enjoy all of your dishes, especially the shallots…yum! He’ll love the entire meal, I know he will.  Be love.


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