I met Tracy in March.
Well, really, I'd bumped into her a few times prior at foodie events, but we were properly introduced last Spring by my friend James, who also ended up being one of Tracy's best friends. After sizing each other up for not very long, we realized that we had a hell of a lot in common. Tracy's 12 minute rant about cheese had me believing in her palate, my way-out-of-the-way favorite ice cream shop & fondness for homemade red pepper vinaigrette on grilled artichokes proved my foodie cred to her.
And then, we started to talk about life over our food - we cooked together, we ate together, we laughed together - and more than once, we saw the world in exactly the same way when others around us swore we we nuts, sinners, bitches or too driven, too loud, too out there - simply too us. We worked on the G-Free Foodie Cookbook proposal with a rhythm that usually comes from years in a kitchen together. When I said "Mexican Street Corn," she answered: "Cotija, Queso Freso or Chile + Lime?" We agreed that my comfort-food chicken enchiladas should stay the way they were: prepared in a fashion no self-respecting Mexican would ever use. It made sense to us both, because the enchiladas from my childhood weren't prepared by a self-respecting Mexican, but by a green-eyed Italian who puts sour cream and cheese in the filling.
I can assure you that everyone respects my mother regardless of the inauthentic enchiladas.
Tracy & James came to my mother's kitchen to share some of our family's most beloved foods, and when I handed Tracy one of my mom's "gorilla biscuits" while saying: "this is what it tasted like to be four years old in my house" - I knew she understood me before she told me she did. We talked about my great grandparents, sharing stories many of my closest friends don't know (in fairness, most of my friends don't find five generations of farming & wine history as interesting as James & Tracy do). James took some incredible photographs of my camera-shy mother, and we ate cacciatore with teleme cheese in the polenta.
Tracy & I both weathered sizable personal storms this last year, and celebrated some incredible triumphs too. Our banter of snarky text messages, acerbic emails and hilarious voice messages has given us both reason to laugh when we just as easily could have cried. We've shared secrets, opinions & acted as each other's voice of reason over matching platters of Mexican food, knowing damn good & well there was a reason for everything in this life, but often wondering what those reasons could possibly be.
When Tracy told me she was interviewing for an incredible job, I was thrilled. When she went to the Big Apple to scope it out, I offered my list of favorite foodie stops. When she scored the gig & decided to take the leap, I couldn't have been happier for her, because Tracy deserves to be incredibly happy.
And I'm still so happy for her. But there's a small piece of me that feels like I'm losing the cheese to my foodie macaroni.
I just returned from NYC yesterday, where I was visiting Chrissy, another of my soul sisters. OK, New York, I suppose you've got me now: as of Wednesday, two of my favorite home-grown natural blondes will be living in the City That Never Sleeps. I supposed it's time to pay attention to my frequent flyer miles, looks like Gotham will be seeing more of me.
Bon Voyage, to my new-old friend. But certainly not goodbye.
Photo Credit: James Collier (who else would it be?)