Back to where I was on Friday, boyfriendless and bored, I resumed cooking as usual only now with fewer smiles and a sharper mind. I was scheduled to work more at Pots et des Casseroles for the week. They had me coming in on Wednesday evening and I was to help close.
Being the 14th of November, people weren’t in the mood to shop for Thanksgiving necessities quite yet so business was slow. I was stuck at the cash register with Rita, a rather strange woman with an acerbic sense of humor who had clearly been donning the same haircut since 1989. We didn’t get each other. And since she had been hired for her retail experience and not her love for cooking, we had nothing to talk about. Lucky for me, the after work crowd started to trickle in and I no longer had time to *not* talk to Rita.
Customer after customer laid down their goods, I bagged them and sent them on their way. But the monotony turned to excitement when the pork roast guy arrived at the counter.
“You’re back!” I said, clearly delighted.
“Yes, I am,” he smiled.
“Ahhh.. a meat slicer. What are you making this time?”
“I had a hankering for an Italian beef sandwich and rather than drive all the way to Wisconsin for it, I decided I should make it myself.”
“I love Italian beef. We actually make excellent Italian beef,” I said.
“Oh… I cook for a charter school in Noble Square.”
“Really??? That’s so cool! I love that. I love hearing about other peoples’ jobs.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty great, actually. We do everything from scratch and I can do just about anything I want — it’s a rare find in Chicago.”
“That’s really awesome. You should share your Italian beef recipe with me.”
Taken aback, I said, “I would love to. You won’t be disappointed. I can write it down for you real quick, or I could email it to you if you’d like.”
“Why don’t you email it to me?”
“I can do that,” I said, handing him a pen and paper.
“Or better yet, why don’t you tell it to me… over drinks.”
My arm did not need twisting.
I wrote down my number, rang him up and smiled the rest of the night.