Lucy was in town the other weekend,which obviously made it the best two days of my life. To prepare for her impending arrival, I made plans to buy fresh flowers, stock the fridge with tasty snacks, and scrub my apartment until it was absolutely spotless. After a few minutes of sweeping up the dust bunnies behind the fridge, I thought to myself, “This is hard and boring.” So I stopped and decided I’d have no choice but to use my body as a physical barrier between the kitchen wall and Lucy if she ever felt the inclination to move the fridge. The best I could manage was a clean towel and letting the Roomba take a single lap around my living room.
In addition to the five-star accommodations and meals (a threadbare couch, Lake Michigan water, a stale crust of bread), I also planned an exciting and health-conscious itinerary for Lucy which included:
- Oil Pulling. Basically, you take a spoonful of oil, in this case coconut oil, and swish it around in your mouth for twenty minutes until you have made mouth mayonnaise and then spit it into the garbage. “Why?” you ask. Toxins.
- Chia Seed Pudding for breakfast. I don’t actually eat this stuff, but I thought it would be funny to make Lucy. It’s pretty good if you like bland, slimy things that bear a strong resemblance to insect larvae. The pudding sat untouched all weekend, except for the few occasions that I would pull it out of the fridge and wave it in front of Lucy’s face to gross her out.
- Constant fishing for compliments about my new Flock of Seagulls haircut that I’m still iffy about. “But really Lucy, do I look like a man?” One can’t help but be self-conscious when your very honest Vietnamese hair stylist tells you after he cuts your hair, “You looked better with long hair.” And also: “You look like a man.”
- Waking up at the obscene hour of 7AM on a Sunday morning to cook an elaborate meal for a bunch of knuckleheads.
I feel pretty guilty about the last one. It has become an annual tradition for my boyfriend to have his cycling buddies over at a ridiculous hour to watch the Paris-Roubaix race, which I explained to Lucy is a famous bicycle race, one of the “classics,” whatever that means. I think the grand prize is fifty Euros and a box of Clif bars. Can you tell how indifferent I am to this sport? As previously established, I’ve only room in my heart for one sport, where the players are handsome, rapping-acting-dancing-fashion polymaths. Thankfully, Lucy is a darling angel and gamely agreed to my ridiculous demands. So we awoke at the crack of dawn to prepare a six-course meal–specialty cocktail included–for Romeo and his friends. To his credit, Romeo, not wanting to step on any toes and keenly aware of how territorial I can be, politely asked if perhaps he could help cook? Of course not. I did, however, generously offered to allow him to chauffeur us around Chicago all weekend.
Breakfast cocktails are the best. They are a little pat on the back for being awake on the weekend before noon. This drink started with a stupid joke about juice-heads, a silly pun (Paris/pear) and a scoop of Riesling poached pear sorbet from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream on Southport. I’m not being hyperbolic here when I say eating that frozen confection was life affirming, and a reminder of how criminally underused this fruit is. Pears aren’t in season, but they feel like they should be. That pale green skin, delicate white flesh, and almost floral flavors, it’s just calling to be used in a bubbly spring cocktail.
THE PARIS-ROUBAIX COCKTAIL
Makes 1 Cocktail
Pear Nectar (Looza and Jumex make it, and you can often find it at ethnic markets and Whole Foods. If you can’t track this down, you can substitute peach nectar)
One can of lychee, syrup and fruit separated
In a slender champagne flute, pour one part pear nectar to two parts prosecco. Add about a teaspoon of lychee syrup and one piece of lychee.
Voila! Now you are ready to watch a bunch of greyhound-skinny dudes in spandex ride bicycles for six hours. Apologize to your long-suffering houseguest.