Before the world of apps for making friends, there was Sam. A mutual acquaintance of ours set us up on a date. We had a tea one afternoon and hit it off. I was drawn to her because she had so much supplemental knowledge that I was missing. She taught me about alternative flours, cooking naturally and for allergies. The first time we hung out in a kitchen, we made gingerbread. Sam once told me to go my own way and that there is no rule book for building my career. You don’t forget when someone says that to you.
Much later, Sam confessed to me that she and her longtime partner Zephyr got secret married and they hadn’t told their families yet. A year later, they decided to have an ‘Already Married’ party. They wanted a combination potluck and bbq proteins. When it was time to party, 120 people joined us at The Onderdonk House in Queens to celebrate on a beautiful 2016 spring day.
I wrote about it for TASTE Cooking, excerpted below:
|Sam and Zephyr's Menu:|
|ADOBO PULLED PORK
Smoked cherry and bourbon BBQ sauce
|BLACK EYED PEA SALAD|
White Wine vinegar
PICKLED SMOKED FENNEL
Navigating Sam’s diet nurtured my thirst for a challenge. It was like being on Chopped. With parameters like no cow-derived dairy or gluten, we came up with adobo pulled pork with tamari, refreshing black eyed pea salad with white wine vinegar, zucchini noodles with tahini dressing, pickled smoked fennel with orange, and shredded chicken with a custom BBQ sauce. We tested the BBQ sauce recipe for two weeks, riffing off of their favorite flavors and smells, like cherry, rye whiskey, smoke, and maple. It was Sam and Zephyr’s sauce. Whenever I bring it up, Sam gasps, “The magic sauce!”
Instead of a gift table, guests stopped by my tent to hand off appetizers and salads to keep out of the sun. No one was assigned speeches. Sam asked everyone, “Does anyone have any kind words to say?” Silence. I did something that would be unheard of at a formal wedding. I, the caterer, spoke. I explained our process behind the sauce that everyone ate that day and the connection Sam and Zephyr have to food; and now to me. It felt right.