The night before the planes hit, Lydia Bravo cooked a pot of ribollita, the Tuscan stew of beans and greens. She and her fiancé, Anthony Bengivenga -- "she called me Antonio" -- opened a bottle of Sangiovese. They had just returned from a week in Mexico. Ms. Bravo, a nurse at Marsh & McLennan, returned to work on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
They would have been together 11 years this month, Mr. Bengivenga said. Both had been married before, both had grown children. They had found in each other a passion for all things passionate -- the films of Pedro Almodovar, flamenco music and food. All kinds of food.
Ms. Bravo, 50, was a devoted cook. She had taken classes at Peter Gumps. She had hundreds of cookbooks -- some picked up at flea markets, others on trips abroad. Whenever they went to Italy she peeked into kitchens and chatted up the cooks. At home in Dunellen, N.J., she cooked elaborate meals.
"That was really her forte," Mr. Bengivenga said. "I would help. I enjoyed being in the kitchen with her." She taught him a few things, but not nearly enough, he said.