It seems like practically every day another must have or must be on technology pops up. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr (apparently omitting the “e” makes an app much cooler), and whatever is next creates a vast social network ensuring that not a single thought, impulse, picture or embarrassing moment passes without memorializing it in the cyber-universe. That's all fine, often fun and sometimes even useful in our daily lives. But when you factor all this technology into the art of dating, it opens up a Pandora’s Box of new rules to abide by. And if you learned the old rules when push-button phones were the height of high-tech and cellular phones the size of briefcases, well, let’s just say it causes one to pause and think a bit.
I know when to give out my phone number and how much to reveal in those first nervous online exchanges. Divulging my last name, my personal email, my dating history, the timing of those are easily discerned once you meet. I’m familiar with the basic timeline for the appropriate date to ask someone to meet at your door or up for a drink. But just when do you give them your URL? Let’s face it: When you write a blog or provide commentary through other means online, you create the manifestation of how your mind really works for all eyes to see. How early do you release that on an unsuspecting suitor? I suppose if you are lucky, and the date evolves into a relationship you’ll get to it all eventually, but with advent of instant internet access, the whole enchilada is out there the minute you hand over your .com or hashtag. And with that comes a whole new set of propriety barometers to get tangled in. If I let him see my tweets too early, does that make me easy? How do you casually broach the subject? Is it “I’ll show you my blog if you show me yours,” or do you just slip your .com address into their pocket when they’re in the men’s room. Or maybe you treat it like a homework assignment after the second date: “Here’s Karin in 52-plus pithy posts over the past year. Please review and prepare comments for discussion.”
Ah well, I suppose in the end it’s all a good thing if it helps you get to know them, and them you. I just wonder if Barrett Browning were alive today, would she write “how do I love thee, let me tweet the ways…”
It’s nice to know that even with the advent of the digital into dating, some things still remain a simple and effective way to woo. Like a nice glass of wine, a cozy spot and a little something to nibble on… Now before your mind goes there, remember, this is ultimately a blog about food. So to keep company with that wine, how about some Parmesan Fennel Biscotti. These savory cookies get a little bite from black and cayenne pepper, a little anise-sweetness from fennel seeds, and tangy richness from a combination of parmesan and pecorino. They are lovely with a glass of wine, aside a bowl of soup, or as a nice addition to any breadbasket, and make the perfect little something to nibble on. What else you nibble on after that, well, I’ll leave that up to you. But please, don't post it on YouTube.
Savory Fennel Parmesan Biscotti
Makes about 40-50 biscotti
1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, plus 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on your taste
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Put the nuts in a shallow pan and roast until fragrant, about 7 minutes, tossing them occasionally. Keep an eye on them — they go from toasted to burned quickly. Let cool and finely chop.