Check, Please

(Here, Now) — There comes a time, in even the most epic of multi-course meals, when you must drain the last sip of Petrus, carefully fold the linen napkin, put it back on the well-appointed table and signal for the bill. No matter how sated you might be, how scintillating the conversation was, or how many smiles were shared, there’s a little bit of sadness too. Leaving is never easy. We all want the good times to keep on rolling along. But nothing lasts forever. So it is, after five glorious years of sharing our culinary adventures, we must beg our leave...

He Fed:

It’s weird. You wake up one day and realize it’s time to do something else. The thought seems to arrive from some alien sky, unbidden but no less true. It’s only later, in quiet contemplation, the reasons simmer to the surface like olive oil and garlic in a rustic sauce you’ve been preparing all your life. Maybe it’s a change of scenery, a transition in jobs, a reminder of mortality...all ticking in unison until there’s an audible CLICK, and the combination opens a new pathway.

I feel luckier than any man alive has any right to be. I’ve been daydreaming and sleepwalking a fantasy life, a non-stop parade of sensory delights, sometimes topped with tangerine-colored caviar. Although I am not a religious person, I can say I’ve felt blessed and truly honoured to have embarked on this project with my beautiful, intelligent and amazingly funny partner in life—my wife, Juliet. She keeps me centered when I’m prone to veer off course into dangerous territory. She makes me believe there is more to this life than mundane aspirations. She inspires me to hope there is something beyond this earth, this reality, this existence. Writing with her has been a great privilege.

We’ve been working on “He Fed, She Fed” for a while now. Years of actively seeking out new experiences, together. Bad meals that end in hilariously unrealistic disaster. Legendary, unique dinners with friends and famous people. Eye-opening, mind-blowing preparations of ingredients I never imagined I would come to love. I could drum up a droll excuse, that the lunches and brunches have worn me down, the colors run together until everything looks, smells, tastes the same. But that doesn’t scratch the surface. There is always something new to eat and drink.

So why give it all up? Well, when I heard that unmistakable CLICK, I was shown another path. My passion for reviewing things has lessened. My desire to create things has grown. It’s as simple as that. We recently wrapped up our gig at Grand Rapids Magazine, and it only seems natural to put our site in drydock as well. Perhaps not out to pasture, but definitely in stasis. Who knows when we’ll get the itch again, possibly to relate our travels through Belgium...?

Meantime, I’ll be concentrating on creation. I’m cooking on a regular basis now, something new for me, and exciting. The kitchen and pantry are whole uncharted worlds to be explored. Recently, I’ve amped up my homebrew skills by switching from extract to all grain brewing. This gets me out of my comfort zone and I'm curious to see how far I can take the hobby. Also, I’ve let my movie languish too long; time to finish it. Finally, my fiction writing muscles could use a good flex. There have been story and novel ideas floating around my head that need corralling.

I would like to thank our diligent, faithful readers...those who tagged along for our adventures...the wonderful servers who helped make our experiences memorable...and especially the cooks and chefs who shared their creations with us. We will miss you all.

She Fed:

And so it much as we’ve loved writing about our culinary adventures, it’s time for us to hit pause. Time for the two of us to have experiences without trying to frame them within a 500 word essay. Time to go out for dinner without taking a photo of each dish, without trying to remember the vintage and year of the wine. I gotta admit: it’s a bit freeing!

There isn’t one single reason or event that led us to this decision. It was a combination of several life changes. In less than 18 months we moved to a much smaller town, with far fewer dining options. We bought a new (old) house that needed (still needs) some renovating. As luck would have it, we got a last minute offer on our downtown Grand Rapids condo and sold it the afternoon before we closed on our current home. Jeremy changed jobs. Just two months ago, I accepted a new role within my company taking me off the culinary track and, more importantly, allowing me to be at home with nearly no overnight travel.

It’s funny because for the last year or so I’d been thinking of suggesting we taper off a bit. What started as an amusing adventure five years ago had become a bit of a chore. I struggled to meet our weekly deadlines during times of intense travel or heavy work. The irony is that the minute he suggested we consider pausing “He Fed, She Fed”, I immediately began second-guessing myself. Despite my complaining about deadlines and a little eye rolling as I call Jeremy “my editor”, it’s been tremendous fun to work with him on this endeavor over the years. I admire his keen eye and ability to write succinctly; he makes me a better writer.

But it’s time. Not time for goodbye, but more of a “good night.” We’ve been incredibly lucky to have met and befriended some of the most lauded and talented chefs in the world. People who truly care about food and sustainability; who support local farmers; who want to share their love of food with others. We’ve had chefs open their homes and their hearts to us. On the professional front, I’ve had the honor to work with legendary chefs, sommeliers and chocolatiers. I’ve made friendships I will always treasure and scored more than my fair share of autographed cookbooks. To say it’s been an inspiring, eye-opening and delicious trip would be an understatement.

Most surprising is how many of you read us regularly, comment on a particular post or try a restaurant we’ve mentioned. Frankly, I’m still gobsmacked anyone would give two flips about what we think about anything, let alone food and drink and travel. I actually get a little verklempt when I realize how loyal you’ve all been over the years. It’s truly humbling.

We’ve begun some new ventures. While Jeremy’s brewing beer and cooking at home more, I’ve started composting, making kombucha soda, and most recently, turning his spent grain into flour. I suspect we’ll have some interesting tales and recipes to share sometime in the future.

So in the spirit of “good night” and not “goodbye”, I’ll let the Beatles say it for me:

Good night, good night, everybody
Everybody everywhere
Good night

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