Saturday, October 22, 2011


Have I ever told you the story of how Mr. Wendy and I met?

At the time, I lived in Minnesota.  I'd gone to a party where a group of women had gathered around the chip bowl (I, of course, was one of them), and we were talking about dating.  One of the women had been engaged in a complex campaign through personal ads.  She'd gone on a lot of dates and was raving about the polite, successful men she'd met.

I had never been much of a dater.  Oh, I'd had the occasional boyfriend, but it was always a friend who became more.  I'd never gone out with people I didn't know, and I was reluctant to contact total strangers.

But, I figured, sometimes you have to try something new.

I poked around on the Internet for a while, and I found this website called  The idea of using a mathematical algorithm to find a mate appealed to my inner nerd.  (I was on my high school's computer team.  We programmed in BASIC.  Competitively.  Enough said.)

If just so happens that Match had a promotion for a free week.  That, my friends, appealed to my inner cheapskate.  So I filled out the questionnaire, taking pains to be completely honest about who I was, what I was looking for, and how important each factor was to me.

One of the most important things?  I wanted a fellow vegetarian.  Food is a big part of my life, and I couldn't imagine sharing my life with someone who couldn't share my meals.  I was also looking for someone smart (not necessarily educated, but smart), who was passionate about what they did (whether they made money or not), and who had a sense of humor.  Preferably dry.

I hit "submit," and up popped a long list of men.  The first person on the list was a 99% match, but I didn't click on his profile right away.  Instead, I scanned the options ... and I didn't see much to strike my fancy.  But that 99% match intrigued me.

So I clicked.  I read.  I was further intrigued ... so I sent him a message.  I included my real e-mail address, because I'd decided that I didn't want to pay money for the service.  He e-mailed back, expressing relief that I'd provided that e-mail addy.  Turns out he was doing the free week, too, and didn't plan to pay.  (We're both cheap ... part of that 99%.)

Well, we e-mailed a bit, talked on the phone, met for coffee, and the rest is history.  We do have an amazing amount in common.  But what about the 1%?

It basically boils down to 80s pop v. metal and math rock.  And onions.

You read that right:  onions.  I love them, Mr. Wendy hates them.  But because love is all about compromise, I leave them out of the food we share (the chili, soups, curries, etc.).  That's why my version of pasta e fagioli is both vegetarian and onion-free.  If you like onions (and the person with whom you break bread does, too), you can start with about a cup of diced onions in the saute at the beginning of the recipe.

Easy Pasta e Fagioli

1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans (or other white bean)
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 Tbs. olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbs. dried basil (or 1/4 minced fresh)
10 oz. fresh baby spinach
2 c. water
1 cube vegetable bullion (optional)
1/3 c. chopped parsley

1 pound small pasta (elbows, small shells, whatever)
parmesan cheese and a little extra olive oil

Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add garlic (and if you're lucky enough to use it, your diced onion), and saute until fragrant (about 2 minutes).  Add dried herbs and carrots, and saute another minute or two.  Add the spinach and let steam until the spinach starts to wilt.  Add the tomatoes, water, beans (no need to rinse or drain first), and bullion.  Bring to a low boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently until the carrots are tender.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente.

At the last minute, add most of the parsley and the fresh basil (if using).  In each pasta bowl, ladle in 3/4 to 1 c. pasta and top with the soup.  Drizzle with olive oil, and top with grated parmesan and a little additional parsley.


Wendy (aka Annie Knox) is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook.


  1. Thanks for sharing your story with us and I have another recipe to add and this one I'm eager to make.

  2. Met my husband on a blind date when I was 17, he was a Seabee and so cute! We dated for 3 months, he went back to his home duty station and sent for me 2 months later and we got married. That was 60 years ago. My mom thought it would never last,and most people agreed.

  3. What a wonderful story, Wendy! 99%? Who'd have expected that? : )

    I made Elizbeth's Cheese Monkey last night and everyone loved it! Your recipe just moved to the top of my list. I'm definitely making it this week. Sounds perfect.

    ~ Krista

  4. What a great story, Marilyn! Long before you met your Seabee, my grandma met my grandpa in a similar fashion. Love at first sight really does happen. :)

    And thank you Dru and Krista! I hope you enjoy the quick pasta/soup. It's hearty, satisfying, and so, so easy!

  5. I love this story, Wendy! And I know other people who met their match on Match. :) 99% is pretty darned close! You're sweet to leave the onions out.

  6. My boyfriend and I met on We have been dating for 5 years. He was only a 90% match, but it works.