I met my husband because of a tornado.
We lived an hour away from each other, working for different newspapers owned by the same company. When several tornadoes ripped through southeast Iowa and western Illinois in the summer of 1998, they cut power at my paper, so I drove to his newsroom. Scott wasn’t supposed to be working that night, but he was there, helping with his paper’s tornado coverage.
We went on our first date that weekend. We got engaged in the fall and were married in April 1999.
Of course, our relationship wasn’t as simple as that. Shortly after we met, I accepted a job with another newspaper and moved four hours away. The distance forced us into a long-distance relationship, with our visits determined by weather and work schedules.
Luckily, gas was pretty cheap back then.
Cooking didn’t have a big role in my life at that time, so the dinner I made for Scott during the 1999 state wrestling tournament was a big deal. He arrived at my apartment later than planned, thanks to an unforeseen victory by one of the schools he covered. Exhausted, he could barely keep his eyes open during dinner.
He fell asleep a few minutes later.
I’ve made dinner for Scott countless times in the years since that night. He hasn’t fallen asleep at the dinner table since, but that isn’t why this meal stands out from all the rest. This was the first dinner I made for the person who would become my partner in life. For nearly 15 years, it’s been the two of us against the world.
The celebrated food critic Craig Claiborne wrote, “Cooking done with care is an act of love.” Take a moment this Valentine’s Day to remember why you love the people in your life, be it a partner, child, parent, sibling or friend. Make them a meal filled with love.
Scott’s on the road this Valentine’s Day, so I can’t take my own advice. If he was home, though, I’d make the first meal I ever cooked for him.
ANGEL HAIR PASTA WITH CREAM MUSHROOM SAUCE
Cook pasta according to directions on the package. Drain.
In a medium saucepan, cook the mushrooms and onion in the butter until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the cream cheese, salt and pepper. Cook and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted. Gradually stir in milk. Add chopped chicken and chives; heat through.
Pour sauce over pasta. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Source: Recipe adapted from Pasta: Cooking for Today – Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen Cookbook Cook Book (Better Homes and Gardens Books; 1993)
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