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Breaking Up Is Delicious!

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By James Geneau

Many moons ago, I was dating someone who I was completely enamored with.  It had been three weeks and I thought everything was going well.  One evening, I was treated to a home cooked meal.  One I watched being cooked before me while we shared a great bottle of wine.  It was fettuccine carbonara.

Fresh pancetta was cut and cooked in garlic and onions.  The smell was intoxicating.  Added to that, were fresh mushrooms and some olive oil to get some more fat into the already decadent concoction.  The grand finale, a whole lot of fresh cream and some fettuccine noodles tossed into a steaming pile of gooey delicious perfection.  It was a wonderful meal with some great wine.  The next day, I received the news.  I had been dumped.

I was stunned.  What happened?  A great meal of orgasmic quality and then adios?  Why would they bring me up so high then dump my sorry ass like that?  I was stunned and it scared me for months until I discussed it with my new roommate a few months later.  She, yes she, and I were sitting at the table one day and we got on the topic of the worst break-ups.  I shared my story of the pasta of horrors and she looked and me and said without any reflection…”Why you were served a break-up meal silly.”

Break up food, or as my roommate and I later defined as “dump dishes”, are those great single meals you master in your early years as your culinary coup de grace to leave a lasting and painful impression on the one you simply no longer yearn to be with.  In my early twenties, there were a handful of these meals served to me before my roommate opened my eyes to the world of dump dishes.  You see, nobody ever wants to end the relationship as the underdog.  Society has created a human race where power is king, and being the leader of the pack, even if it is a pack of two people, is key.  The evening my roommate and I stumbled upon this phenomenon, I decided to make the same carbonara sauce for her to try.  It was settled after two bites – this was the dump dish to end all dump dishes.

And so, over the course of the next 12 months, she and I mastered our dump dish.  We were both single with no interest in each other.  She dated frequently and every so often a new person would appear for a few weeks in the living room watching movies or playing poker.  We often cooked meals for ourselves and any real dates we had were often out on the town.  One thing was for certain, when I would walk in the door after classes and smell onions, pancetta, and garlic coming from the kitchen, the writing was on the wall.  Poor Bill, Tom, Mark, Mike, Kevin, Nathan or Chad was about to receive their last meal and I was always ready to get the hell out of dodge as soon as I saw that wink from my roommate in the kitchen.  It was funny really.  I mean, how do you say later Dave to a guy you know you will never see again after he puts down the fork?

But that was the essence of the dump dish.  It was quiet, traditional, and low-key.  It was a final evening for the dumped to have a great meal and for the dumper to enjoy their favorite dish.  I guess it can be best described as comfort food pre-need for comfort.  Once mastered, a dump dish was like a brainless thing to prepare for the dumper.  It allowed them to endure one last evening with the dumped without having to really panic or put themselves out if you will.  A dump dish can be prepared if blindfolded.

You see, the dump dish requires three main qualities in order to make it the ultimate last supper.  One, it should have very few ingredients – ones readily available or within easy access on the way home.  Dump dishes are normally served as a last minute thing.  So guys, if your girlfriend invites you to dinner 3-4 days in advance, you’re cool.  But still bring flowers.  Two, it must be easy to prepare and have no measuring.  It needs to be something you can cook in front of the dumped as if you threw it together at the last moment to show off your culinary expertise.  And finally, it needs to be sinfully delicious.  We are talking somewhere between “oh my lord this is so freaking awesome” to “you are the most amazing cook ever”.  That means high-fat, high-flavor, and high-starch.  The high starch part is very important.  After all, as my roommate would say, you want them to feel full and tired so that they will want to call it an early night.  Otherwise things can get awkward.

Now I know many of you are reading this and saying “what a terrible story” or “how could anyone be so cold?”   Well, let me put it to you this way.  Last year, a survey to young people aged 15-25 showed that the number one way to dump someone in America was by text message on a mobile device.  That’s right, a simple text message to erase someone from their lives.  Coincidentally, it was also voted the least favorite way to be dumped.  In comparison, the dump dish or break up meal is far more civilized even if it does possess certain sociopathic or related psychological issues for the person preparing it on a regular basis.  However, it does have certain advantages for the dumped.  They get a free meal, it tastes good, and they in turn learn how to make it themselves so that the recipe can be shared with others as a dump dish.  In essence, it promotes cooking and sharing of recipes.  Isn’t that what good food is about, sharing with friends, or at least former friends?

I guess it is hard to defend the dump dish.  However, I know that it is not an isolated phenomenon.  Every day, a dump dish is served to an unsuspecting victim.  But alas, with my article, the secret is out.  So now that you know all about the dump dish and the signs to see one coming.  Why not have some fun with it.  Take these teachings and use it to your advantage underdog!  Right in the middle, when they are cooking it for you, tell them you are allergic to an ingredient they are about to add to the dump dish.  Or maybe suddenly become vegan.  That will throw them a loop and get them flustered, buying you enough time to plan your own exit strategy.  Now go find a hydrant to mark your territory!


Very entertaining! If Toronto starts smelling like carbonara come Spring time, we'll know it's the populations getting antsy about the possibility of new summer lovin'!
Post Reply By Yves in EAST YORK on 2/17/2009 10:19:08 AM

James this is GREAT! GENIUS! You're a terrific writer!

PS - I officially hate Valentines' Day.
Post Reply By Sarah in EAST HAMPTON on 2/11/2009 7:02:42 PM

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