When it comes to the kitchen, we're from very different backgrounds. His mother's family had emigrated from Cuba before he was born so he was raised on Cuban sandwiches, huevos rancheros, arroz con pollo and all kinds of spicy chili recipes. My family comes from mostly Irish and French Canadian roots, so needless to say, I grew up a meat and potatoes kind of girl. We taste-tested each other's recipes and pushed each other out of our culinary comfort zones. I was learning to try spicier tasting dishes and he was learning from me that no, buffalo sauce doesn't have to go on everything.
Still today, no matter how busy we are, we always try to make time for meals together, whether it's a quick cup of coffee with breakfast before class or late-night fast food after a hard day. If I get too busy with work to step away from my desk, he thoughtfully brings me lunch. If he's sick, I make him soup. We make sure the other never goes hungry.
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I know it's corny, but I think that somewhere along the way, our mutual love of cooking and eating helped us fall in love with each other. This past winter, Alex decided to treat me to a dinner out at Florence's, an upscale Italian restaurant. Sitting in a small corner to ourselves sharing a bottle of Chianti and platters of scrumptious chicken saltimbocca, I reminded of that first date at Pizza Hut.
"Do you remember that?" I asked him at the dimly lit dinner table. "It was around this time of year, wasn't it?"
"Yeah," he chuckled. "But we're definitely not little kids anymore."
His hazel eyes grew soft in that way I remembered from our first date. There was only the quiet murmur of bustling waiters and scraping silverware on dishes.
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"You know, we've come a long way, Allie ... " he said. He interlocked his fingers with mine — a diamong engagement ring glittering from my finger.
What a way we've come since sharing that first slice of pizza back in high school. That Pizza Hut where we had our first date has since closed down and been demolished, but I hear that a new pizza joint will take its place on Amherst Street. My future husband and I will have to try it sometime.
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