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The Rose of Parma

“I know we’ve  been fighting a lot and it’s Valentine’s Day,” the Beast said to me, “but let me tell you something.”

“Okay,” I answered. He pulled me close and whispered into my ear, “I bet Beethoven never had to put up with this bull shit.”

I don’t remember the specifics of the bull shit. I think it had something to do with me piling up the clothes he’s being leaving around the house. The Beast thinks I do it in a passive-aggressive sort of way. I think I do it in a “the house is not your dressing room so please stop leaving sweaters and shoes and scarves in every corner of the house” sort of way, which is, in fact, passive-aggressive.

He has so many clothes that they don’t fit into his closet.

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He has so many socks that they don’t fit into his drawers.

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And he he leaves his clothes on his work-out bench that he keeps in the bedroom. Last year when he was crafting his body, he was very good about putting the workout bench away after a workout. Not this time around. It’s been left out for over a week now. The workout bench just provides yet another surface for him to pile clothes on top of.

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Admittedly, I have been adding to the clothing problem. When  I was in New York last weekend, I visited the RRL store on Bleeker St. (that’s Ralph Lauren’s  “modern tribute to the independent spirit of the untamed West, and the tireless resolve of the American worker,” which you pronounce as “double R L”.)


It’s very expensive. But there was an additional 50 per cent off on all sale items. There were extraordinary deals to be had. A beautiful pair of wool pants, normally $500, were marked down to $135. A $395 Fair Isle sweater came in at just over $100. I couldn’t help myself. And he wears it so well.

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He’s even striking in his latest loungewear outfit.

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As the Beast was changing into just that the other night, he put on some music in the bedroom, as he always does–no matter if the task at hand will take him 30 seconds or 30 minutes.

“Is this Hank Williams?” I asked.

“That has got to be the most ignorant thing you’ve ever said in our relationship,” he said. “It’s Rhodes Scholar–”

“Oh yeah! It’s Kris Kristofferson! Oh I like this one.”

I began to undress in order to get into my loungewear; jogging pants and two wool sweaters. As I stood in my underwear, doing a little dance in front of the mirror, as one does before getting into loungewear, the Beast said, “Oh hey there, Rip Van Winkle.”

“Who’s that again?” I asked.

“The fictional character who fell asleep for a hundred years and woke up with a foot-long beard,” he said.

While he may not be the best at tidying up after himself, the Beast  certainly has some really great jokes. He’s also been contributing more to week-night meals. In fact, every Tuesday night he’s been making one. Usually he sticks with tried and tested dishes, like his spaghetti and meatballs or brisket. But last Tuesday–after watching a TVO program called Italy Unpacked, where the Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli discovers the art, culture and food of his homeland  alongside art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon–he decided to make “the Rose of Parma.” This is a beef tenderloin that has been butterflied and stuffed with layers of prosciutto and parmigiano, then simmered in a red wine-and-cream sauce.

It’s a very ambitious dish.

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That brings us back to Beethoven. When the Beast cooks on Tuesdays, he listens to the composer exclusively. I don’t know if he’s joking or serious when he says he’d like to start a second blog, beside his enlightening fashion/jazz/art blog, called, Cooking with Beethoven. In this new blog, he would write about cooking a thematic meal for every one of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas.

It’s a very ambitious idea.

In the end, his Rose of Parma didn’t turn out exactly as he’d imagined. The sauce was a bust. (I think it was a faulty recipe: three cups of wine will never reduce in 15 minutes, no matter how aggressively you simmer it.)

But the meat was extraordinary.


And the peas with pancetta and roasted potatoes he made were lovely, too.

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I suppose I don’t really have anything to complain about, besides perhaps not having a tried and tested aesthetician.

6 replies »

    • Don’t worry: the blue knapsack is actually a carrying case for the Beast’s euphonium. As for our respective beards, that sounds like an opportunity for a blogspot post, like yours, not wordpress.

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