From Sylvia’s archives: Sylvia finds that Max, just starting their catering business Presentation Is Everything, is dedicated to the job. Work first, Sylvia second. How does this sit with her especially on Valentine’s Day?
The first Valentine’s Day as Max’s wife I woke to the sound of a cleaver thudding against a wood chopping block. I walked into the kitchen. The coffee pot was empty except for the dregs at the bottom. Where was my coffee?
Max always made morning coffee for me. And today – Valentine’s Day, of all days – no coffee! That was # 1.
We were catering for a client who had major connections and could give great recommendations if our fledgling company Presentation Is Everything came through for their party. Max was on edge.
Without even looking at me or kissing me good morning, he handed me an apron, knife and chopping block.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too, Max! That was # 2.
Pushing plastic bags toward me, Max said, “Wash these radishes and tomatoes. I’m carving them into roses.”
Roses for the clients but not a single posy for me???
That was # 3. Not that I was counting. But around 4:00 in the afternoon, I lost count.
Earth to Max! Hello! It’s Valentine’s Day for me, too!
That’s what it was like all day. But, being a good wife (I was rethinking the job) and also being Max’s partner in the company, I helped him put the job together. I came to a groundbreaking conclusion: men really are from Mars!
By 6:00, everything was ready: the Sesame Shrimp with Pomegranate Sauce, the Tomatoes Stuffed with Aubergine Caviar, Raspberry Brie en Croute – and other Valentine’s Day hors d’oeuvres. A cascade of rose tomatoes and radish roses weaving through the hors d’oeuvres tied it all together. I had to hand it to Max – the foodscape sparkled with color and ingenuity.
The trays of food, cases of champagne, and I, rattled along in the back of the catering van to the party site while Max sat in front with the driver. Yeah, me. I thought about that gallon of butternut pecan ice cream in our freezer, the only Valentine I was likely to get.
The job ended at midnight. At home, I poured some brandy into a glass, knocked it back, collapsed into an armchair, and cried. I was exhausted and didn’t feel like talking to “Mr. All About My Career.” I wished him back on his planet.
Just then he walked in balancing a silver tray with a bottle of champagne and two flutes. He put them down, fell to his knees beside me and placed a light blue box with a white ribbon on my lap. Tiffany! Oh, my.
I untied the ribbon. Inside the box shimmered a gorgeous red enameled heart pin with an “S” written in tiny crystals.
“I couldn’t have done this without you,” Max said, kissing me. “I can’t do tomorrows without you, Sylvia dear. Happy Valentine’s Day!”
My man! My hunk! My hero! My divine Max!
Later that year, the Garnishing Guild of America honored him for that same Valentine’s Day party by awarding him his first Golden Radish Award.
Dear Sylvia Readers — Thanks for sticking around during these journal posts from Sylvia’s archives. Thanks for your understanding that I need time to edit PINOCCHIO ISLAND. Your understanding is deeply appreciated. Sending you lots of xoxoxoxo on Valentine’s Day and the Day of Friendship!