Striped Bass with Sauteed Pea Tendrils in a Green Curry-Coconut Broth
with Jasmine Rice Cakes
Jasmine Tea Crème Brulee.
He recalls that night fondly, “I've always loved tuna sashimi and the jasmine rice cakes were wonderful. Mom and I made them a few times after your training and they were always a treat.”
As it turns out, that first party was the only time Gordon ever tasted my food. Nonetheless, he loves to entertain! Over the years, Gordon regularly emails me with “an unusual request” for a distinctive cuisine event: An ice-cream party for his colleagues at work, a going away party for dear friends from his church, a pool party for 75 of his closest friends.
Gordon has been in a wheelchair since he was 8 years old, a result of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He is now close to forty-five. A tracheotomy tube in his throat assists him in breathing, and though he used to be able to swallow, the disease has taken that away from him, too. Gordon speaks slowly and quietly, but is always charming. It’s worth waiting to hear him. With limited mobility he can type and works for a networking company. He controls his wheelchair with a joy-stick.
The going away party at his church was one of the first times he socialized when he could no longer swallow. “I was so worried how people would react if I didn't eat, and was scared that I would lose such an important part of socializing. You prepared a wonderful meal at church, and between your understanding as well as that of my friends, I realized it would be OK. Phew.”
The disability does not prevent him from relishing the hospitality that food creates. “You know, probably better than I, that food is a sensual experience, and such an important factor in building relationships. From sharing food off each others plates to cooking for someone, food is so integral to friendships. I know that is one of the many things that attract me to you and your gifts. You prepare, present, enjoy and respect food in a way I wish I could.”
After each event, I receive a lovely thank you note. He recalls the wonderful aromas, the lovely presentations, and the sounds of “oohs and aahs” as his guests enjoy each morsel. Invariably, he will have a favorite dish. In one note, after many praises, he referred to his one regret of the evening, “My only disappointment is that three people did not show up. Alas, you cannot dictate good manners.”
On a crisp fall day, the air lingering with warmth of the summer, Gordon planned for a walk in the Wellesley Horticultural Garden with his friend Patricia. He wanted to surprise her with a picnic in the rose garden. Though Gordon would not eat or drink at the picnic, we planned the menu, with corresponding wines for each course. I arranged for linens, a table and chair, and china. Gordon requested two long stem roses in a simple vase.
As they walked casually by the garden, Patricia could see the table and commented on how romantic it looked and wondered who would be dining there. As they approached, I appeared from the hedges with champagne and hors d’œuvres. They sat down to a three-course lunch, chatting leisurely and laughing often. At the end of the lunch, they walked away, Patricia with roses in hand. They thanked me for the wonderful afternoon, and presented me with one of the roses.
If you would like more information about muscular dystrophy or wish to donate for research, Gordon suggests contacting the Muscular Dystrophy Association.