Food Matters: Spellbound
Food tastes better at altitude, according to the world-renowned ‘Psychic MatchMaker’ Deborah Graham.
“Everything comes out fluffier,” she says. “I picked up on that in two seconds. I’m a foodaholic; I love texture, flavors. My family is Greek, so we’re always eating.”
Top meals from her first trip to Aspen:
Aspen Over Easy: Breakfast
“I love that little place. The eggs were fluffier. The waffles were fluffier. The desserts were fluffier.”
Shadow Mountain Lounge
at St. Regis Aspen Resort: Fritto Misto
“Calamari, shrimp, and another seafood, fried, with mustard sauce. The rings were so crispy and flavorful! No fishy taste. And I live in Florida—
we’re fish people.”
Wild Fig: Mediterranean
“I loved that place—amazing.”
New York Pizza: Slices
“No joke, it was better than New York. Again, I think it was because [of] the fluffiness. I want to get a slice on the way out to take on the plane.”
ONCE UPON A TIME, I spent a lot of effort chasing a guy who was no good for me. (Sound familiar, ladies?) When I wasn’t stressing about his apparent disinterest in a partnership, we enjoyed a summer’s worth of free-spirited fun, running amok and losing track of time. But the oddest thing kept happening: Every time I cooked for him, I’d ruin it. I didn’t botch meals on purpose, of course—I really, really tried. Maybe I tried too hard, because even the simplest act of building a breakfast sandwich ended in disaster. I burned the bacon and over-toasted the bread. After a few bites he pushed it away, smiled awkwardly, and I just knew. It was not meant to be.
Another time I accidentally cut the Romaine lettuce for a Caesar salad into strips too skinny to stab easily with a fork. Then, after I soaked a fat steak in an impromptu soy-balsamic marinade, he smoked up the kitchen trying to sear the syrupy slab in a skillet. I blew it again!
“I just like salt and pepper on it,” he offered, while we jabbed unsuccessfully at shredded lettuce on the plate. Can you imagine how monumentally frustrating that feels for someone who adores cooking? It seemed as if some cosmic force was conspiring to keep us disconnected (and hungry).
It only got weirder. One night I met him at a French restaurant. This was out of character; we didn’t do dinner dates. The concept of convening over food and wine, looking into each other’s eyes while whispering about what might happen later — not his jam. Le sigh.
Ironically we were at one of the most quintessentially romantic spots in the town. Candles flickered in the dining room, where warmth from an open kitchen enveloped diners deep in hushed conversation, sipping slowly from big, round globes of red wine. The place smelled of flames tickling wax, bubbling cheese, and melted chocolate. Every so often the unmistakable pop! of a champagne cork would punctuate the sensory decadence. Even the waitstaff seemed drunk off the atmosphere.
I slid onto a bar stool next to the dude, already a half-cocktail deep, and ordered my own big, round globe of red wine. We chatted and perused the menu, shifting uncomfortably under the gravity of the exotic scene. I asked this lad what looked good, and you know what he said to me?
“I’m not really into food,” he deadpanned. “I’m into drugs.”
I was reminded of this true tale turned life lesson last week, when I chanced upon meeting Deborah Graham, “The Psychic MatchMaker.” A spiritual medium and self-described “intuitive relationship expert” for 20-plus years, Graham consoles clients from Boston to Beijing with her sassy, chatty, and unapologetically no-nonsense approach. She is the face of an eponymous TLC reality show and has a regular guest slot on the “Waking Up with Taylor” show on SiriusXM Radio.
Graham was scheduled to host a swanky, $95-per-plate tasting dinner at the St. Regis Aspen Resort on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, and I’d been invited as a media guest. In collaboration with Remède Spa’s enhanced wellness program, the multi-course meal with wine pairings would explore ways in which participants might shed negative energy and use food and sensory experience as a tool to move their lives forward — in relationships, yes, as well as in realms of career and personal growth. Surely Graham, a self-professed “all-around matchmaker,” would sprinkle plenty of tough-love nuggets along the way.
I received a text at noon on Saturday: Graham’s plane was delayed and she wouldn’t make it to Aspen in time. The supper was off. Cripes!
The Universe works in mysterious ways, though, and that’s how I ended up meeting Graham for an early morning interview on Feb. 14, instead. In lieu of the canceled pairing feast, Graham had arranged to entertain invitees and other potential private clients from a St. Regis suite. I would be her second-to-last appointment before she boarded a midday flight back home to Boca Raton, Fla.
“Whether you’re rekindling a relationship or looking for a new relationship, you have to shed the old and worn, create new space, and get ready for whatever is coming your way,” Graham says. “When you root into the earth and (its) energy, you’re connecting to a higher level of consciousness.”
Food, a fundamental human need along with love and sex, is the ultimate avenue for connection, she explains.
“Today I’ve had my phone ringing off the hook,” she continues, with most clients asking, “‘Should I take him to a special dinner?’”
Graham wrinkles her brow. “No! Cook dinner! Make it special. Put love into it. I don’t care if you’re making an artichoke, put intention into it. The intention is (stoking) that home fire. The window to your soul — and heart — is food.”
Making time and space for creativity, then, is crucial for healthy relationships — and our health.
“When I go to Starbucks, I can tell when they didn’t put love into it. That coffee tastes bitter as hell!” Graham exclaims. “If someone puts love into it, then it tastes sweet. If you put anger into cooking or if you’re rushing, like, ‘Oh, I just have to get this done’ — it’s not going to be a great meal, you know? It’s about putting that love and energy back into (the food).”
That gave me pause. Might I have subconsciously sabotaged those elementary meals so long ago? Later Graham would use her gift to offer scary-specific wisdom about other aspects of my life, enhanced by her common-sense guiding principles. Sweet affirmation!
“We live in a disconnected world,” says Graham, author of the 2015 book, “Get Your Head Out of Your App: A Psychic’s Guide to Attracting and Keeping True Love.”
“We communicate through emails and text messages. Siri, when you speak into it, writes the wrong words! It’s not about buying someone a $100,000 ring. It’s about joining, showing the love, and creating.”
What if you try — and fail — to connect with someone through food? Turn inward, Graham says. A missed connection, by definition, requires two components.
“It starts with yourself — all relationships are 50/50,” she concludes. “I tell my clients, ‘Love the one you’re with — yourself.’ A lesson learned is a lesson earned.”
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“We believe in the power of women, so we turned to what we know, winemaking, and tried to make our own small contribution to the discussion,” co-owner of Ponzi Vineyards Anna Maria said. “We had to do something.”