As of last weekend, I am no longer the same person.
I didn't know at the time to what extent it would affect me, but I can now say with certainty that I no longer see the world, or myself, in the same way.
You see, on Sunday, Handsome's parents invited us to Sunday lunch. It wasn't that I was nervous about meeting them. We've met already, and they're very nice, warm people. The life-changing experience? The Sunday lunch menu.
I thought about it all week. What if I didn't like it? Would I be able to conceal it enough to get through the meal gracefully? What if I hated it? Would Handsome be disappointed? Would he eventually lose interest and dump me for a tripe-loving tramp?
I wanted to try it. But I really, really wanted to like it.
Handsome explained that the first course would be a sort of pot au feu, with bouillon and vegetables, and the second course would be the beef tongue, accompanied by garlic-mustard sauce, potatoes and salad.
We arrived a little late, oblivious to the spring time change, and made our excuses while making the obligatory cheek-kissing rounds. Handsome's father served us a generous aperitif, and this helped calm my nerves. I was comforted that at least to my untrained nose, things smelled normal.
We made our way to the table for the bouillon. It was surprisingly hearty, and served with turnips, leeks and carrots. I had two helpings, egged on by Handsome's father, who, like his good-looking son, is a hard man to refuse.
The plates were cleared, and I realized the moment of truth was upon me. I shifted uneasily in my seat and took a large gulp of wine.
"How about another glass of the red stuff?" Handsome's dad offered from the end of the table.
"Oh yes, please," I said with relief.
Handsome's mother brought in the bowl of garlic-mustard sauce. I could smell it from where I was sitting. It bode well. Then out came the potatoes and salad. Then finally, the much-awaited large plate of beef tongue. I tried not to stare at it, afraid I might recognize something akin to a taste bud. From the quick peek I took, it looked surprisingly like a sort of pot roast, cut into thick slices.
I helped myself to potatoes and passed on the plate, took a large helping of salad, and handed the bowl to Handsome. With a quick look around the table and a large what-the-fuck smile, I took the fork and helped myself to a large piece of beef tongue. I smothered it with garlic-mustard sauce, and dug in.
"Mmmmm!" I exclaimed. The garlic sauce then made contact. "Aaarrr!!" I roared, sticking out my tongue and shaking my head to make it wobble.
We all erupted in laughter and raised our glasses for a toast to a lovely Sunday afternoon.
Beef tongue. The new broker of improved Franco-American relations.