This year marks the 195th anniversary of Montreal’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. One of the biggest and oldest in North America, organized by the Unites Irish Societies of Montreal. I love Saint Pat’s. I love the atmosphere. I love the parade. I love the coffee, of which Jameson is the secret ingredient. Not bourbon, not scotch (God forbid, Michael would tell you), not even Canadian rye. Irish whisky, nothing else. And on that I leave you with my two favorite Saint Patrick’s day revelers. Erin go Bragh.
She made a feast of a dinner to celebrate St-Pat’s, just for us. The day began with the United Irish Societies’ brunch and then the parade. When it’s a centuries old tradition you have to show up and with a surname like Malone they loved her right off. Soon she was out of sight, being introduced left and right by Jackie, showing up again only when we sat down to eat. We begged off late afternoon and went back to the loft where she had a pot roast already going. Apparently ovens have timers.
“I’m convinced that seducing a man has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with red meat,” she remarked, eyeing me as I ate.
“You’re right. It makes us content.” I couldn’t argue, it was cooked just right and delicious. The smell when we walked through the door had me salivating until it was served.
“I’ve noticed you’re indulgent when you’re content.”
“Have you?” I drank some more wine, wondering where she was going with this. “What did you have in mind?”
“Nothing. I like…this…” She trailed off, gesturing at the table and at us, searching for words.
“Don’t be facetious, I mean dinner, just the two of us. I do enjoy going out, I don’t want you to think I don’t. You take me to the best restaurants or those formal affairs you have to attend. But I like this too.” She dropped her eyes and started tracing the pattern in the tablecloth. “I like you all to myself.” It was added quickly, as if it had to be said, before she hurried into the kitchen and busied herself with the coffee maker.
I took my time finishing, letting her alone. There was clanging in the cupboards, the fridge opening and closing and the electric beater whirring. Clearing my place, I brought my dishes to the sink, admiring my own domesticity. The kitchen looked like a science experiment. “What the hell are you doing?”
“Making Irish coffee.”
“We could have had some there. You’re going through a lot of trouble, love.”
“Yes, but mine is better.”
“You’re very confident.” I stood back and watched her create, amazed again at how she can transform anything into a work of art. Tall mugs were thickly rimmed with sugar, filled with coffee and Jameson, and a generous spoonful of whipped cream was floated on top.
“And rightly so.” She set the cup in front of me, crossed her arms and waited.
The coffee was strong, the Jameson subtle and the whipped cream and sugar coated your throat as it went down. “Larissa, I apologize for having doubted you.”
“Michael, I forgive you.”
Not only did I discover her rare talent for making the best Irish coffee in the history of the world, I also discovered her marked taste for the drink. After a couple each, she was giggling uncontrollably at my own creative use of whipped cream. “What do you think of my culinary talents?”(Closed Doors, ©2017)