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  • Jenny Kawecki 3:30 pm on 2016/04/14 Permalink
    Tags: , , , love at first fight, true love   

    Ranking the Meet-Cutes of Classic Lit 

    The classic meet-cute can be the best part of a love story, or the most cringe-worthy. The more awkward, quirky, or downright doomed the relationship seems from that first connection, the better the chance at true, happens-once-in-a-lifetime love—usually. At least in books. And while it may be a newish term, it has been happening for ages. To prove it, here are some of our favorite examples from classic lit, ranked from least to most swoony.

    10. Romeo and Juliet (Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare)
    Meeting at a party, hitting it off, and not realizing your families are mortal enemies? Yep, that’s a pretty standard rom-com start. And while Juliet totally holds up her end of the bargain with the witty banter, Romeo just comes across as a desperate teenage boy (which, to be fair, he is). Plus, of course, they totally botch it by dying at the end.

    9. Emma and Mr. Knightley (Emma, by Jane Austen)
    We could name a number of meet-cutes that occur while one party is bawling their eyes out…of course, neither party is typically an infant. Props to Jane Austen for avoiding the childhood friends cliché and taking the introductions all the way back to Emma’s very early days on earth—but it’s hard to get those cuddly, anticipatory romantic feels when you’re imagining that 16-year age gap during Emma’s childhood. But all’s well that ends well, and it is legal and not weird at all in the end.

    8. Catherine and Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë)
    No couple says quirky and adorable quite like Catherine and Heathcliff, right? Here we have yet another interesting take on the childhood meet-cute: Catherine is a spoiled brat when she meets her new adopted brother—so far, so full of opportunities for a dramatic turnaround. Of course, things get rocky when she actually spits on him and then makes him sleep in the hallway outside her room. Even that would be surmountable, except for the teensy problem that their relationship basically never evolves from there, and Catherine still acts like a spoiled brat till the day she dies.

    7. Christine and Raoul (The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux) 
    Of course, we have to follow those up with an actual childhood meet-cute, because you never forget your first love: Christine and Raoul first meet as young humans when he dashingly rushes into the sea to rescue her scarf (points for heroism and adorable smallness). Plus, they get a sort of second meet-cute when he re-falls in love with her after hearing her sing.

    6. Lady Chatterley and Mellors (Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D. H. Lawrence)
    There’s nothing quite like meeting the future love of your life while pushing around your current (increasingly estranged) (paralyzed) spouse in his wheelchair. But when you toss in him ignoring you the entire time and add on an awkward second meeting where you judge his parenting technique, you’ve essentially got the secret recipe for a quirk-ton of true love. Or lust. Or whatever.

    5. Ahab and the Moby Dick (Moby Dick, by Herman Melville)
    Melville really knows how to set the stage for a wonderful, encouraging relationship: you’ve got one party whose only job in life is to kill the second party, and a second party who happens to maim the first party in an effort to survive. Sure, it sounds doomed, but there’s no denying it’s obsession, er, love at first sight. Because sometimes, “I love you,” sounds a lot like “I want to put a harpoon through your eye.”

    4. Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë)
    As far as setting up romance goes, Charlotte way outstrips her sister Emily. Jane and Mr. Rochester meet when he falls off his horse and she helps him up, totally unaware he’s actually her boss—a solid, steady attempt. The cuteness continues when they’re introduced for real and strike up a lovely round of witty banter, teasing, and flirting. (It’s all tarnished a bit later when it turns out he was married all along, but hey, points for a good beginning.)

    3. Anne and Gilbert (Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery)
    Oh Gilbert, how we love you and your good intentions. All he wanted was Anne’s attention; it’s hardly his fault he didn’t know Anne’s hair was a sensitive topic for her. Their introduction ends with a slate to the head and the beginning of a strong, slow-burning grudge. One pond rescue and many years of academic rivalry later, and Anne and Gilbert might finally be on the (long) road to romance.

    2. Scarlet and Rhett (Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell)
    If you thought Anne was extreme for hitting Gilbert with her slate, Scarlet one-ups her by slapping one guy and throwing a bowl at the wall near Rhett’s head. Toss in a few insults, a declaration of love for a guy who’s not Rhett, and incensed storming off, and you’ve got a near-perfect (for the reader) first meeting.

    1. Elizabeth and Darcy (Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen)
    Of course, no meet-cute can quite compare to Lizzy and Darcy’s: he’s aloof, she’s outgoing and fun. He’s grumpy, she’s a little too poor. He insults her looks, she insults his feelings about poetry. Things are looking about as unlikely as they can get—and yet, they’re so perfect for each other. It’s just going to take approximately two dozen more awkward interactions before they get there.

     
  • Kathryn Williams 1:44 pm on 2016/03/17 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , true love   

    10 Reasons We Can’t Wait for Cooking for Jeffrey 

    If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then Jeffrey Garten (better half to Ina) stands to be the most doting, puppy-eyed, besotted husband in recorded history. Anyone who has watched her cooking show knows Ina and Jeffrey Garten are just two crazy kids in lurve. Evidence: At 48 years of marriage and counting, the power couple (the first line of Jeffrey’s résumé reads Dean Emeritus at Yale School of Management) still leave love notes for each other on the kitchen counter and celebrate work successes with “Old Fashioned Bistro Dinners.” As Mr. Barefoot Contessa, Jeffrey has eaten some primo meals in his #blessed life, and now Ina is sharing his favorites (hint: there will be roast chicken) with us in Cooking for Jeffrey, her tenth (count ’em) cookbook. In honor, here are 10 reasons my husband I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

    Because… Ina. She’s the fairy godmother you’ve always wanted.

    She’s getting personal. Try not to rubberneck at this woman’s life. A nuclear budget analyst for the White House (with an MBA and a pilot’s license!) who left Washington behind to open a specialty foods store in the Hamptons and inadvertently build a culinary empire, all while staying in sweet, sweet love with the man she met at 15? Tell me more. Pen poised over pad…

    Her recipes are simply delicious. The flavors are sophisticated without being complicated. Garten has said she likes no more than three flavors in a dish, all complementing and balancing each other. As one writer said, Ina is “maximizing the familiar.” Her recipes are my most asked-for, and while I would like to take credit, I give credit where credit is due.

    Her recipes always work. I mean that. I have never made a Barefoot Contessa recipe that did not turn out as promised. It’s not just the flavors that are unmuddled, but the instructions themselves, which make for recipes that are accessible to beginners and would-be Top Chefs alike. (And, seriously, store-bought is fine.)

    They even work on the coffee table. Colorful and uncluttered, Ina’s cookbooks are made for display. Think of it as a twofer.

    Vanilla Rum Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel. Worth the price of admission alone.

    Whatever that cake is on the cover. See above.

    Bread and cheese have their own chapter. Clearly, Jeffrey and I have something in common—a bemused distaste for diets. This chapter includes tips for creating the perfect cheese course, which, as you know, dear reader, is the new dessert. I love this even more because I know Ina’s mother was a dietitian by training.

    I still dream of an invitation to dinner at her house. And certainly she invites everyone who buys her books to her house, right? That’s how she has all those friends.

    Sweet Jeffrey. Dear man in his adorable sweater draped nonchalantly over the shoulders, he is amazing. Look at his good humor when faced with a camera—and probably after a wicked long commute! Doesn’t he deserve his own cookbook after all these years?

    At 48 years going strong, Jeffrey and Ina are doing something right. Let’s hope the secret is in the sauce.

     
  • Lindsey Lewis Smithson 9:45 pm on 2016/02/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , true love, ,   

    Quiz: Who is Your Ultimate Fictional Valentine? 

    Real Valentine’s Day dates are often disappointing, which is why when the going gets tough, the tough turn to fiction for a truly satisfying, lasting relationship with someone who will never arrive 30 minutes late to a dinner reservation you made two months in advance, ahem. In any case, our quiz below will help you sort out which fictional paramour you should pick up this February 14.

    1. What is your ideal Valentine’s Day date?
    a) A proper meal with serious, earnest conversation.
    b) Whatever you can grab at the local cantina.
    c) You’re not much of a cook, it wasn’t something they taught in school. A nice restaurant with some dancing wouldn’t be too bad.
    d) A big party, with drinks and appetizers passed around on trays.
    e) A night on the couch, with some belly rubs.

    2. How do you prefer to spend your free time?
    a) Caring for your family members, or looking out for your dearest friends.
    b) Usually you end up in some far flung corner of your city or town, helping a friend.
    c) In the library.
    d) Watching polo matches, or spending evenings with the best of society.
    e) Out on a walk. With you.

    3. Favorite Valentine’s Day candy?
    a) You’ve haven’t much use for such trifles.
    b) Nothing special, sweetheart, but you will take a drink.
    c) A chocolate frog, and then you can share the card with your date.
    d) A box of Conversation Hearts; they are just such a laugh at parties.
    e) Anything in white chocolate, your diet can’t handle the richer stuff.

    4. If offered an all expense paid vacation, where would you go?
    a) A long weekend at your estate, to be near only your closest family and friends.
    b) Not the desert. Or anywhere cold. Maybe not the jungle either. Somewhere out on your own seems best.
    c) You would love to use the time to help others, or reading some fantastic new book.
    d) Let’s go everywhere, as long as we can drive, and celebrate, and be happy.
    e) The beach. No, the woods. No, a long car ride. How about the park…

    5. What song best describes you?
    a) “Lush Life” by Joey Alexander
    b) ”Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson
    c) “Oxford Comma” by Vampire Weekend
    d) “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey
    e) “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley

    6. Which reality show would your binge watch?
    a) Again, this type of frivolousness doesn’t have a place in your life.
    b) Deadliest Catch
    c) You’d prefer a book, actually. Maybe some nonfiction.
    d) Real Housewives
    e) Dog Whisperer

    7. Perfect Romantic Movie?
    a) Pride and Prejudice. Now there’s a couple that gets it right.
    b) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Come for the danger, stay for the romance (and the danger).
    c) Shakespeare in Love. When it comes to romance, you can’t top The Bard.
    d) TitanicIt isn’t romantic if it ends happily.
    e) Marley & Me. The perfect movie to cuddle up to.

    Are you in love yet? Add up those answers, put on something fancy, and head out with your perfect match.

    Mostly A’s: Mr. Darcy; Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
    You admire those who lead a proper life, with a hint of sass of thrown in for fun. Your friends and family come first, and you hope to find the same in your true love.

    Mostly B’s: Han Solo; Star Wars the Force Awakens, by Alan Dean Foster
    A scruffy rogue who will constantly keep you surprised might just be your soul mate. Travel the world—or worlds—together, either running for your lives, or saving someone else’s.

    Mostly C’s: Hermonie Granger; Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
    You spend afternoons in the library, and evenings helping out those less fortunate. Your match always has the best intentions at heart, along with a bit of a rebellious streak.

    Mostly D’s: Daisy Buchanan; The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Beautiful, frivolous, and out for a good time, Daisy Buchanan will help you see the best in life. There may be some ups and downs, but she is your shining green beacon (with a side of tragedy).

    Mostly E’s: Your Dog; Dog Songs: Poems, by Mary Oliver
    What else to you really need besides unconditional love, a few face licks, and a good long walk? A dog is just about the ideal companion, 365 days year.

     
  • Lindsey Lewis Smithson 9:45 pm on 2016/02/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , true love, ,   

    Quiz: Who is Your Ultimate Fictional Valentine? 

    Real Valentine’s Day dates are often disappointing, which is why when the going gets tough, the tough turn to fiction for a truly satisfying, lasting relationship with someone who will never arrive 30 minutes late to a dinner reservation you made two months in advance, ahem. In any case, our quiz below will help you sort out which fictional paramour you should pick up this February 14.

    1. What is your ideal Valentine’s Day date?
    a) A proper meal with serious, earnest conversation.
    b) Whatever you can grab at the local cantina.
    c) You’re not much of a cook, it wasn’t something they taught in school. A nice restaurant with some dancing wouldn’t be too bad.
    d) A big party, with drinks and appetizers passed around on trays.
    e) A night on the couch, with some belly rubs.

    2. How do you prefer to spend your free time?
    a) Caring for your family members, or looking out for your dearest friends.
    b) Usually you end up in some far flung corner of your city or town, helping a friend.
    c) In the library.
    d) Watching polo matches, or spending evenings with the best of society.
    e) Out on a walk. With you.

    3. Favorite Valentine’s Day candy?
    a) You’ve haven’t much use for such trifles.
    b) Nothing special, sweetheart, but you will take a drink.
    c) A chocolate frog, and then you can share the card with your date.
    d) A box of Conversation Hearts; they are just such a laugh at parties.
    e) Anything in white chocolate, your diet can’t handle the richer stuff.

    4. If offered an all expense paid vacation, where would you go?
    a) A long weekend at your estate, to be near only your closest family and friends.
    b) Not the desert. Or anywhere cold. Maybe not the jungle either. Somewhere out on your own seems best.
    c) You would love to use the time to help others, or reading some fantastic new book.
    d) Let’s go everywhere, as long as we can drive, and celebrate, and be happy.
    e) The beach. No, the woods. No, a long car ride. How about the park…

    5. What song best describes you?
    a) “Lush Life” by Joey Alexander
    b) ”Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson
    c) “Oxford Comma” by Vampire Weekend
    d) “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey
    e) “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley

    6. Which reality show would your binge watch?
    a) Again, this type of frivolousness doesn’t have a place in your life.
    b) Deadliest Catch
    c) You’d prefer a book, actually. Maybe some nonfiction.
    d) Real Housewives
    e) Dog Whisperer

    7. Perfect Romantic Movie?
    a) Pride and Prejudice. Now there’s a couple that gets it right.
    b) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Come for the danger, stay for the romance (and the danger).
    c) Shakespeare in Love. When it comes to romance, you can’t top The Bard.
    d) TitanicIt isn’t romantic if it ends happily.
    e) Marley & Me. The perfect movie to cuddle up to.

    Are you in love yet? Add up those answers, put on something fancy, and head out with your perfect match.

    Mostly A’s: Mr. Darcy; Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
    You admire those who lead a proper life, with a hint of sass of thrown in for fun. Your friends and family come first, and you hope to find the same in your true love.

    Mostly B’s: Han Solo; Star Wars the Force Awakens, by Alan Dean Foster
    A scruffy rogue who will constantly keep you surprised might just be your soul mate. Travel the world—or worlds—together, either running for your lives, or saving someone else’s.

    Mostly C’s: Hermonie Granger; Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
    You spend afternoons in the library, and evenings helping out those less fortunate. Your match always has the best intentions at heart, along with a bit of a rebellious streak.

    Mostly D’s: Daisy Buchanan; The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Beautiful, frivolous, and out for a good time, Daisy Buchanan will help you see the best in life. There may be some ups and downs, but she is your shining green beacon (with a side of tragedy).

    Mostly E’s: Your Dog; Dog Songs: Poems, by Mary Oliver
    What else to you really need besides unconditional love, a few face licks, and a good long walk? A dog is just about the ideal companion, 365 days year.

     
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