As the curtain rises, BECKI and KARL face a white tiled counter in their small apartment kitchen. Their necks are twisted so they can effectively glare at each other. BECKI holds a chef's knife.
BECKI: The test of a marriage is whether a couple can cook together.
KARL: I thought it was whether a couple could fish together.
(BECKI slumps her head down over the chopping board.)
BECKI: Am I going to have to force you to read Dr. Phil's Relationship Rescue one more time?
(KARL scoots across to the fridge and stares at a slip of paper stuck to the fridge door with magnets.)
KARL: Why don't I re-read the ingredients you've listed to see if we've got everything properly prepped?
BECKI: You do that.
KARL: 1/2 onion, chopped.
(He strains to listen. He hears nothing.)
KARL: Say check, Becki.
KARL: 1-1/2 cloves garlic, minced; 1 chillie, minced; 1/2 tsp paprika; 1 tbsp olive oil; 28-oz can diced tomatoes; 1/2 cup 2% yogurt; 1-1/2 cups water; 1 orange, juiced; salt; chives.
BECKI: Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check.
KARL: We're naturals!
(KARL steps away from the fridge and saunters back to the counter with a swagger while BECKI heads to the stove.)
BECKI: So I'm going to sauté the onion, garlic, chillie and paprika in the olive oil on low until soft.
(KARL busies himself setting up a blender.)
BECKI: Do you want to add the tomatoes?
KARL: There's nothing more I'd like to do, honey.
(He taps her on the bum when he reaches her with the tomatoes. She steps away from the pot while he pours. The tomatoes burst into sizzle when they meet the heat. BECKI adds the 1-1/2 cups water. The soup soon comes to a boil.)
BECKI: Time to purée.
KARL: Anytime, darling (grabbing her and leading her in a waltz).
BECKI: For crying out loud! (But she smiles.)
(After carefully blending the broth in batches, BECKI stirs in the yogurt, orange juice and salt to taste then brings the soup to serving temperature.)
BECKI: Slice the baguette, will you, Karl? And fill a couple dipping dishes with this blood orange olive oil (BECKI raises a bottle in her hand)—it's the oil I used to sauté the aromatics—and some of that summer peach white balsamic vinegar we brought back from Maine.
(She ladles the steaming, orange/red soup into bowls, drizzles it with a little more blood orange olive oil and snips chives on top. Then she carries their luncheon over to the round table in their cozy dining nook.)
KARL: That went well, I think. What do you think, Becki? Did we pass the test? Are we allowed to stay married?
(He hears no response so he stares at his wife.)
KARL: What are you doing?
BECKI: I'm studying Food Network Magazine. Seeing what other marriage tests we can do.
PS This is how we made my friend Sara Önnebo's Tomato Orange Soup. To see her original recipe and much more, please visit Sara's terrific blog My Delights, "about health, food, family and other things that make my heart happy", at www.myfinnishdelights.blogspot.ca.
To leave me (and Cynthia) a message, click on the comment button below.