Husband and I met online. I figured I would get that out of the way right now.

The funny thing about meeting one’s spouse online is that actual dates — the types where you go somewhere and someone pays and you talk and eat/watch a movie/see a play/participate in a sport — feel pretty unnecessary. After all, you’ve done about as much talking as two individuals possibly can. And trust me when I say any facade you might be trying to maintain drops around 1:30 am. I don’t care who you are.

When we first met, he had flown me into his home state after I’d gotten off work. We were both nervous, naturally, even though we were fairly certain things were going to work out extremely well. When I stepped into the terminal, I looked around for him, to no avail, and decided to call to ensure he was, you know, actually there. He was, but later I learned that he saw me walking down the hallway and hid around the corner because apparently he was more nervous than me. I find this endearing.

We decided on California Pizza Kitchen for dinner, and after about a billion hour drive (see also: an hour and a half) in the world’s crappiest car (no, really), we arrived and were seated and I immediately disappeared to the bathroom to naturally text message each of my friends, ensuring them that I was alive and he wasn’t a serial killer (none of us were actually worried about that).

I don’t want to bore you with the details of our first date; it was exciting and meaningful to us but I can’t imagine it would be for you. So we’ll just go over the highlights. First, he ordered for the both of us. Yes, ordered. For me. I was baffled — no one had ever done such a thing and I was more than fully capable to make a major food decision for myself. I let it go because I figured he just didn’t understand the gravity of his decision and in the end, he chose delicious food. I think for the only time in our entire marriage thus far we went the appetizer/entree/dessert route, starting with avocado club egg rolls, then enjoying the cheeseburger pizza, and finishing it out with apple crisp, a la mode. My concern over him thinking I might be a piggie flew out the window and I matched him, bite for bite.

A few months ago, we decided to pop into CPK to have that first date meal again (well, the pizza anyhow) and were extremely disappointed when we learned it was no longer on the menu. Well, I was disappointed. Husband, on the other hand, was devastated.

Last night I re-created that pizza for him — a small birthday celebration for my best friend. I could tell his parents were entirely unconvinced when I began describing it to them; his father kept saying, “Ohhhh I don’t know about that” and his mother gave me this bewildered face. I kind of understand their trepidation. After all, the recipe calls for ingredients you won’t find at your local pizza joint, like lettuce and mayonnaise and ketchup. Don’t die – it’s really delicious, for as strange as it might sound. After we’d all dug in, my in-laws decided it was actually extremely delicious, Husband was satisfied, and I was left wanting more. It was mostly because I loved how it tasted; the mild flavor of the crust mixed with the sharp, saltiness of cheddar cheese, ground beef, and then the crisp, cool lettuce, mayonnaise mixed with just enough ketchup, and ripe tomatoes. But it was also because it reminded me of that first date — the last first date I ever had — when the man who now knows me the best of everyone ordered my dinner for me.

Stay tuned for the upcoming recipe and a low-resolution cell phone photo!