I was asking birthday girl’s boyfriend whether she liked Nutella, and was rewarded with a resounding yes (for which I was glad, because I’ve been dying for an excuse to make a Nutella cheesecake for ages). The answer was then followed by a jokingly-made caveat – actually, he liked Nutella so she must like what he liked! I probed as to whether he would know whether birthday boy liked Nutella, and pre-empted the correct response – he would like what he liked too. A very informative conversation (at least someone at the table would like Nutella).
Interestingly, after this light-hearted exchange, I witnessed one of my colleagues receiving a massive bouquet of pink roses for her wedding anniversary, and her indignant comments that followed:
“I hate pink and I hate roses! This husband of mine! I have been married to him for 30 years and he still doesn’t know what I like. He sent me these pink roses just because he likes pink roses and imposed them on me!”
Sometimes a choice is dictated – perhaps dictated is a strong word; affected – by the preferences of others who are important to us, either that we were indifferent in the first place, or that we were too polite to say “yuck” in their faces. Sometimes, we grow an adhesion to these preferences, and end up liking something we perhaps maybe didn’t in the first place. Sometimes, the line between an actual personal preference, and a preference influenced by a significant other, is blurred.
But I agree with my colleague. Pink, yuck, and roses, yuck.
I also asked “what goes well with Nutella”? One response was “bread”, an answer which I can only respond with exasperation – exasperation at the fact that it was a correct answer, but it was not an answer which my question had implied for. Further prompting resulted in “banana”.
In the end, from consulting both birthday girl’s boyfriend and birthday boy’s girlfriend, I gathered: she likes cheesecake (and what her boyfriend liked, so hopefully Nutella). He actually wasn’t as keen on Nutella, but liked cheesecake and chocolate, and said he would eat banana if I managed to incorporate this fruit element into the cake. So I settled for this: a banana curd filling between a layer of Nutella cheesecake and a layer of plain cheesecake, marbled on the outside, double-dripped with chocolate ganache, then topped and garnished with nutella/banana macarons and a handful of babybreath dropped where I felt like it.