You’ll recognize Meg Tilly from countless films and TV shows, including classics like The Big Chill and the film that earned an Oscar nomination, Agnes of God. She’s writing now, too, and her latest release is Solace Island, her first romance under Meg’s new psuedonym, Sara Flynn. If you’ll be with us in Atlanta at RT17, you can meet Meg at the RT Giant Book Fair Saturday, May 6! In the meantime let’s hear about Meg’s different kind of love story.
I wanted to stay home. Not write. Wanted to watch my husband putter around the kitchen cooking his delicious chicken stew, breathing in the fragrant smells that were filling the house with homey goodness. He was making buttermilk biscuits as well, which I would slather generously with butter and add a drizzle of honey. My mouth was watering thinking about it.
I used to do all the cooking when we first met. I’d been cooking since I was five. It was what I was used to. But then, one day, I was so tired of cooking and eating the same things over and over, I asked my husband if he would mind preparing a dinner for the family twice a month. I was a little nervous to ask him. We had only been dating for a year and a half, living together for a year. I didn’t want to scare him off. Was prepared for him to say no.
But Don leapt into the thrill of the challenge. He went online and found a plethora of fancy recipes, determined to wow me with his skill and expertise. Then, he hopped in his car and raced to the store, recipes in hand.
He was gone for a long time.
When he returned he dragged in bags filled to the brim with all the ingredients he required. He’d also purchased a snazzy red-and-white striped chef’s apron—which he promptly donned¾ as well as matching potholders.
I checked in on him an hour later. “How’s everything going, honey? Need any help?”
“Nope. Got everything under control,” he said, wiping the sweat off his brow, whizzing around the kitchen, chopping and dicing, one tiny little carrot at a time. “Dinner will be ready at 5!”
“Okay,” I replied, but I could tell by the looks of things that five o’clock was a pipe dream.
I picked the boys up from school. My daughter, Emily, was already off at University. “Don’s making dinner,” I told the boys.
“Why?” Will asked, looking concerned.
“Because I asked him to,” I said, feeling a trifle defensive. “I just, I’m a little tired of my cooking, and I thought it would be nice¾”
“Is he a good cook?” David asked, going straight to the root of the worry.
“I don’t know,” I said, “but he’s trying his best and has been cooking since two this afternoon. So, even if you don’t like it, be nice.”
“Okay,” the boys said, looking serious, as if I had asked them to walk barefoot across hot coals. But they really loved Don, and I knew they wouldn’t let me down.
Five o’clock came and went. As did six o’clock, and seven. And things had gone from bad to worse, for now the house was filled with the smell of fish. Fish cooking. Fish cooking for a very long time.
My boys weren’t partial to fish.
Dinner was served dangerously close to bedtime. The boys were wonderful. All three of us managed to rather masterfully choke some of it down, while Don watched anxiously, red-faced and drenched in sweat from all of his exertions. It tasted terrible.
I think he had managed to use every cooking utensils and appliance I had in the kitchen. The place looked like it had been tossed by a tornado.
That night, lying in bed, he asked for the truth. Staring up into the darkened ceiling, I contemplated telling a white lie, but if I did that, then maybe he would make that dreadful dinner again. I might be able to stomach it again, with generous gulps of water, but the boys, I couldn’t do that to them.
So, I told him the truth. But did he give up? Decide that he’d leave the cooking to me?
He doubled down. Bought more recipe books. Decided he was going to cook every Friday, to give me a break.
Cut to fifteen years later. My husband is a fabulous cook. He is so good that when we have company over I generally let him do the honors. Our friends call him a “Master Chef” and a “Gourmand Chef,” and are very excited whenever we invite them over to dinner.
And when I am in the need of comfort, like today, because Solace Island is going to be released soon. I am about to go public, confess my love affair with romance novels. Am feeling apprehensive about my abilities. Was I able to write what I love? It’s a weird feeling to know that my book is now in the hands of reviewers who might like it or might want to throw it against the wall. Will readers find my book? Will they read it? Will Solace Island entertain them as much as it entertained me?
I don’t have the answers to any of those questions.
What I do know is this. My husband is making a delicious chicken stew and buttermilk biscuits. And just thinking about this calms me and makes me feel surrounded with blessings.