Monday, April 24, 2006

I married a perfectionist!

And boy, am I glad!

What am I babbling about today? Cappuccino!

Many decades ago, back when I was a pilot on the Forrestal, the Navy sent that ship to join the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. We had liberty in ports including Athens, Barcelona, Naples, Malta, Palma de Majorca, and (my favorite) Cannes. Carol, along with other squadron wives, flew to Europe and met the ship in many of those ports.

One of the things we most enjoyed was the French and Italian continental breakfasts—especially the croissants and cappuccino!

Twenty-plus years later, when our older daughter graduated from college, we took our two girls on a month-long trip through Europe, visiting some of the same places Carol and I had seen years earlier. (We traveled on “Eurail passes” —unlimited rail travel for 30 days. And we introduced them to those wonderful continental breakfasts and coffees.)

We raved so much about how good the cappuccino was that our girls gave us for Christmas one year a Mr. Coffee two-cup espresso machine. We enjoyed that for many years, and a Sunday morning tradition became croissants and cappuccino. The coffee was good, but just not quite the same as that smooth, rich European “real” cappuccino.

Oh, and Victoria, TX, still does not have a Starbucks where we can buy their version of the real thing.

Carol, my perfectionist wife, did her research. She learned that the REAL cappuccino requires burr-ground coffee beans, not blade-ground. Who knew? And of course, the beans themselves and the roast are important. She read up on the perfect tamping pressure required to compress the ground coffee just enough so that the steam and water will barely penetrate it, producing that thick, creamy black liquid called espresso. She learned about steaming and frothing the milk to achieve just the right temperature to change the enzymes in the milk without scalding it.

Then she researched and bought an Italian-made machine that will do all those things. It was delivered last week.

Yesterday morning we had croissants and some of the best cappuccino I’ve tasted in the last 20 years!

Carol doesn’t even drink coffee. She says it always smells so good that the watered-down, slightly bitter taste is disappointing. But espresso—properly made—tastes as good as coffee smells. THAT, she will drink!


Yeah, perfectionism can be annoying sometimes to a guy like me. You know, for me “good enough” is usually, uh... good enough. But there are times when being married to a perfectionist is... well, perfect!

Hey, she married ME, didn’t she? What does THAT tell you?


Anonymous said... had me until that last line...


I kid. Because I can, you know. I happen to be perfect, erm, a perfectionist, too.


Unknown said...

Another post that leaves me grinning - I love the way you write!

Wives are wonderful - I recommend them!

Karyn Lyndon said...

that she's spent the better part of her life working on a project that will NEVER be completed?

Duke_of_Earle said...


Well! That (sniff) IS one opinion, I suppose. At LEAST you acknowledge that her marriage to me has been the "better" part of her life. And I'm SURE you meant quality, not quantity.



Emmy Ellis said...

Aww bless Carol!

Zinnia said...

I used to get some sort of coffee at the mall where I used to live. It tasted spicy, like cinnomon, cloves, etc and was very strong. Whip cream and cinnamon went on top of it. So wonderful.

RYC: I thanked you on my latest blog, but I wanted you to know that your comments about FREE SPIRITS were printed out last night so I can hang them on the wall by my desk. :-D

kenju said...

It tells me she has excellent taste!

Karyn Lyndon said...

uh...yeah, right...