Food / Smiths Falls / The Wedge

Will you be mine, Dan?

Wanita and Dan Andress celebrate their years together. She gave him the chocolates. Andress’ Your Independent Grocer, Smiths Falls, Ontario PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

By MAGGIE M, Editor, Wedgee-in-Chief, theWedge.LIVE

“I want to give him chocolates,” Wanita Andress stated as she pushed a heart-shaped box of Lindt chocolates into her husband’s chest. She reversed all tradition (man gives chocolates to woman) and my plan to coax Dan to give her the sweet box for our photo capture.

Her suggestion was like an arrow into all men’s hearts.

We women must lift-up our men this Valentine’s Day–sons, fathers, husbands and other-halves. Masculinity is to be cherished.

It’s not easy to cajole two hard-working grocers into a romantic photo tell-all–especially with the staff and customers watching. Wanita and Dan threw in the towel and surrendered to my direction–or they feared I would stretch the length of their day.

Boom! The love-struck couple delivered the goods.

Dan just can’t resist breaking into a smile looking at his wife of some twenty years with abandon (off and on camera.)

It is endearing to watch this couple. The admiration these two have for each other is palpable.

“My eyes are watering up,” one manager quipped, poking his head over the take-out fridge filled with snack platters. The store was bristling with whispers, smiles and guffaws.

Wanita and Dan Andress, Andress’ Your Independent Grocer, Smiths Falls, Ontario PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

Wanita and Dan knew each other in high-school, but they remember the moment, the day of the week, some twenty years ago and the place their romance began. It was a Friday night, close to closing at Loblaw’s former location in Smiths Falls. Wanita was scurrying to buy ice cream for her dinner guests when they engaged in conversation.

There was a spark.

Dan found Wanita’s number in the phone book (the paper version) and phoned her the next day for a date. They struggled to make schedules work. He asked her out on Friday and she agreed. Then he rescinded the invitation as he had to work, to which she replied, “You fool.” He was smitten.

Thursday at Al’s Steak House in Ottawa was to be the seed to their life together.

Al’s Steak House, Ottawa, Ontario,Canada


Steve Akeson framing himself for things to come. Tasting Hut Barrista at Andress’ Your Independent Grocer, Smiths Falls, Ontario PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

Steve Akeson chose pasta as the ideal cook-at-home lovers’ dish, specifically, “Spaghetti Carbonara”; however, he used tortellini for tasting. It was a hit.

Akeson and I mused on the function of spaghetti in Disney’s, Lady and the Tramp. Remember the scene where they unwittingly found themselves at each end of a single strand?

Akeson thickened fresh-cut bacon, garlic, parmesan with a whole egg into a creamy flavor-filled sauce. This surprised me as it adds a healthy ingredient to making pasta sauce.

The recipe below is quick and easy to prepare. Couple this dish with a glass of Pinot Gris, a few candles, perfect music and you have a romantic celebration.

Don’t forget the cards! This is the most important piece. This paper item is the  first course in any Valentine’s dinner. Take turns. Watch one another’s expression as your Valentine eats up your words. You may be skipping dessert.

“I still have his first Valentine’s card,” Wanita intimates. “It was special.”

Tortellini Carbonara at Andress’ Your Independent Grocer, Smiths Falls, Ontario PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

Ingredients for lovers’ pasta. Andress’ Your Independent Grocer, Smiths Falls, Ontario PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE



  • Half 500g-pkg PC Black Label Tricolore Spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Olive Oil
  • 8 slices pancetta (about 90 g), finely chopped (or bacon)
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or parmesan)
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) kosher salt (or sea salt)
  • 1/4 tsp (1mL) freshly ground pepper

Chefs Commentary : As a starter course, this serves four. As lovers’ main course, it serves two.


  1. In large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook spaghetti for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender but firm.
  2. Meanwhile, in large frying pan heat oil over medium-high heat; cook pancetta for 3 to 4 minutes or until slightly crispy. Stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute longer. set frying pan aside.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolk and parmigiano.
  4. Drain pasta, reserving 1/3 cup (75 mL) cooking water. Add pasta to frying pan with pancetta and garlic. Add egg mixture, reserved pasta cooking water, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss until coated.
  5. Divide between two pasta bowls.


First, lay out the table cloth, pour the wine, light the candles, and turn on some Edith Piaf, or better, The Way You Look Tonight, by Steve Tyrell.

Happy celebration of love!

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