Lime Pound Cake

“Are you packing cake in your purse?”

I zipped my bag closed. “Yes.  I need it after the bars close.”

Roo looked at me, puzzled. “Why?”

“Whenever I go out with E, I end up drinking more than I should. And unfortunately, we have a history of making terrible decisions when that happens.”

“Like falling asleep, hugging a half-eaten bowl of Cheerios?” Roo joked.

“I can’t believe you remembered that.”

“Well the bowl was on my side of the bed.”

“I know.  And E hasn’t forgotten about finding me in her bed, drooling on a box of crackers.”

“You’re like the Goldilocks of after hours.”

“There were crumbs everywhere.” I sighed, bending over to fix the strap on my sandal.  I tucked it back into its clasp and stood back up. “This is why I need to bring a snack.  For all I know, E and I could relive our worst meal in college.”

“Dirty water hot dogs?”

I shook my head. “Pasta Roni with Cheese Dogs. I swear I had heartburn for days.”

Roo turned to the kitchen table and cut a slice of cake. “Here,” he said, wrapping it with aluminum foil and placing it in my hand. “Bring another slice.”

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Southwestern Salad with Lime, Cumin and Oregano Dressing

With cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, cucumbers, black beans, red onion, avocado and tortilla chips


For the past two years, Roo and I would go to a bar near his uncle’s townhouse before climbing Beacon Hill to watch the fireworks.

The first year I may have had too many drinks on an empty stomach; stumbling on seemingly flat cobblestone paths and wondering why the townhouse’s doors were so hard to open.

The second year I learned my lesson and didn’t pass on the appetizers Roo ordered. (While I may have found Jack Williams commentating on the 4th amusing1, most of the guests did not.)

This year the party was canceled, which left Roo and I to debate if we’d go downtown by ourselves or stay home.

“The Fourth is my favorite holiday.”

“Really? Because all this time, I had no idea.”

“Oh stop,” I said, crossing my arms, “you knew.”

“I know. But that doesn’t mean we should go down to the Esplanade at 6 a.m. to fight for a spot, only to suffer from heat stroke by noon.”

“I heard it’s supposed to rain on Wednesday.”

“Even better!”

“Well, what do you want to do, Mr. My-Favorite-Holiday-Is-Christmas-So-I-Shouldn’t-Even-Have-A-Say.”

“One, Christmas is awesome. There are presents, a tree that makes your house smell great, and Irish Coffees to drink in front of the fireplace. And two, we could make our own sangria.”

“I don’t know how a smelly tree can beat fireworks, but you had me at sangria.”

1 Because he acted like he wasn’t wearing pants behind the anchor desk, of course.

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Udon Noodle Salad With Spicy, Peanut Lime Dressing

There are some things you learn about your partner, only when traveling together. For instance, what each other likes to pack for a weekend away.

“Why are there bicycle shorts in here?”

“Why are you snooping in my luggage?” I asked.

“I needed toothpaste.”

“Here,” I said, as I pulled out a tube.

Roo took the toothpaste from my hand, “I still don’t understand why you need bicycle shorts for a wedding.”

“Ok!” I said, turning my back to Roo and shoving the shorts further down the bag, “Ok, you got me….I wear them under my dress.”

“Why?”

“Because Roo, some girls’ thighs rub together and god forbid it’s 100 out and you have sweaty thighs rubbing together. It’s the worst.”

“Oh. Isn’t it supposed to be 97 this weekend?”

I know.

Sometimes you discover that your partner cannot be trusted to drink any fluids while traveling. At all.

“I need to pee.”

“We just stopped ten minutes ago. There is no way you have to go right now.”

“It was the iced coffee.”

“That you drank two hours ago?”

“Yes.”

“Lys, we can’t stop. We have five more hours of driving. If we keep stopping every ten minutes we’ll never get there.”

I crossed my legs, “I read there’s a service area in ten miles.”

“We are not stopping.”

“This is ridiculous!” I said, uncrossing and recrossing my legs again.

“Are you really saying that by not stopping at a rest area, because we just stopped at one ten minutes ago, is ridiculous?”

“I really need to pee.”

And sometimes, you learn that your partner does not have the same opinion as for what counts as snacks for a road trip.

“So what did you bring for food?”

“I packed a super yummy udon noodle salad.”

“Wait, what?”

“Don’t worry. I packed real forks.”

“How am I supposed to eat that? While driving.

“I see you drive with one hand all the time!” I replied, taking the tupperware container out of the cooler.

“It’s a noodle salad. A salad you once described as super slurpy.”

“That’s what makes it so good!”

“Lys, how am I supposed to eat a super slurpy noodle salad while driving?”

I stopped shaking the ziploc bag filled with dressing and looked at Roo, “More for me I guess.”

“Why do I feel like this was your plan all along?”

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Buckwheat (Soba) Noodle Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

“Did you ever have rules when you were first dating someone?”

“No. No, I don’t think so.”

“Really? Because I feel like all girls have rules. Especially when we’re younger, in our 20s.”

“Like what?”

I paused, wondering if I should tell Roo all the ridiculous ‘rules’ my friends and I had while in undergrad. “Well…” I decided to start off slow, “Never display any sort of bodily function in front of them, like burp or fart.”

“Right, because girls don’t poop.”

“Yes.  And we also don’t cry while looking in the mirror.”

Roo nodded as he scooped up a piece of broccoli with his fork.

“Also, don’t laugh so hard that you snort or God forbid fart.”

“Didn’t you once -”

“No.”

“When we were walking back from Thai Red Pepper -”

I grabbed a napkin to blot my mouth, “No. That never happened.”

Roo stifled a laugh, “Ok, what else?”

“Don’t sleep with someone before the third date,” I replied, half focused on getting a few sunflower seeds onto the tines of my fork, “And if you do sleep with that person -”

“After the third date of course.”

I smiled, “Yes.  If you sleep with that person you must wake up before they do so you can freshen up.”

“Like get rid of swamp mouth?”

“And that oily mess you call your face, yes.”

“Well, what about dinner? You went from talking to that person to sleeping with them. Makes me think you were a bit -”

“Hey! Hey now. Alright, dinner. Well, never order noodles because no one wants to see you slurp and sputter sauce everywhere.”

Roo raised an eyebrow.

“I know, I know. They were ridiculous.”

“No, it’s not that.”

“What?”

“That last bite you took of soba. I think you got some dressing on your shirt.”

I glanced down to see a giant stain on my right breast.  It looked like I was lactating.  “Great. See? This is why we have rules.”

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