He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me.
Toronto, Ontario – 2011. Leila’s parents, Giuseppina + Karim, met in the most romantic and spontaneous of ways and Leila wanted the same epic love story for herself. After years of searching for a similar connection, she discovered that meeting men the ‘old fashioned way’ usually ended in one of two ways: the relationship either fizzled fast or she discovered they were crazy. Clearly her approach was not working so she finally opened herself up to the possibility of online dating. Three months max. She very well couldn’t bash a process if she had never tried it.
And try it she did. She went out on a lot of dates. A lot. There were dates in the park, dates at the movies, dates over drinks, lunch dates and dinner dates. Her social calendar had never been so full and what Leila found was that the world wide web didn’t house as many crazies as expected. In fact, she was meeting a lot of fascinating people of various backgrounds and experiences. But with the 3-month mark approaching, she decides on one last match before calling it quits.
She connects with Nick.
Leila and Nick exchange a few emails and she’s immediately drawn to his authenticity, his attention to detail and his clear love of food. Excited to meet him, they decide on drinks at a local dive bar. By the end of the evening, Leila is convinced of three things: he is cute, he is kind, and he is totally not into her. The conversationalist she knew from emails was nowhere to be found. This person was intelligent but quiet, he didn’t ask a lot of questions and he certainly didn’t laugh at her jokes. Arriving home that evening, she tells her parents – who were still in the habit of waiting up – that he was nice but she wasn’t expecting a call.
But Nick calls. They go out a second time. He’s still a bit reserved. Leila is sure there will be no third date. But Nick calls again. He invites her over for dinner. She is thoroughly confused. Does this guy even like me? With expectations set on low, she knocks on his door and is greeted by an apron-wearing Nick, inside are four pots on the stove and two wine glasses ready on the table. Leila is impressed, and not just with the complex salmon dish over a bed of rice with cherry tomatoes. Leila will slowly uncover the different sides to Nick. His compassion. His silliness. And after a few more dates, he’ll even begin to laugh at her jokes.
A photo essay on food is a bit broad of a theme so I decided to hone in on food in the summer! Since I associate Leila with summer and her legendary summer birthday parties, I thought it was a propos.
From the top: market in Lyon, France; breakfast in Ortakoy, Turkey; oysters and wine in Toronto, Canada; and grilled sardines in Pula, Croatia