Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mise En Place

My alarm goes off at 6:15am on a Monday morning, ugh, and once again, I have to drag myself out of bed to face another day at, THE OFFICE. I recall reading the interview between a notable talk show personality and hip-hop artist where they both commented on becoming successful by being themselves. If only I knew who Myself is. To echo the words heard in a now successful brewery founder commenting on his 9-5 job, “is this what I want to be doing in the next 5 years?”, heck “is this what I want to be doing tomorrow?”

I have no one to blame but myself, as the Bible says, out of the heart flow the issues of life. So here is my issue, how does a single mother continue to support the household while doing something she loves? The question should probably be how does a single working mother keep her sanity while working at a job she hates?

What do I love? God, family and FOOD. Not that I am obsessed with the consumption of food, but I do admit to day dreaming about food from the ground to the table. Literally, how is the food grown, is organic better? How can I find a quality co-op to deliver quality produce in the middle of a Chicago winter? Should I even be eating produce from Chile with the trend encouraging local? Why is European butter better for baking? I mean food is on my mind ALL DAY. In high school, I had dreams of being an executive chef; clothed in the chef’s garb with my tall hat, dolling out exotic and tasty preparations to pretentious guests. Then my dreams came to a screeching halt when I held a few jobs in food service realizing the fast pace, hot, stress-filled type A environment of a restaurant kitchen of did not fit my introverted, autonomous type B personality, duh! Off to college I went, getting degrees in business and now working in corporate America; only to realize what I inherently knew, that making a living does not equate to making a life.

So what’s a Foodie to do?

With an apartment kitchen apparently built for a non-discriminating bachelor, counter space all of 1 square foot and a limited budget, I did the only thing I knew how; I continued to cook. After all, when you have a passion for something, you can leave it, but it will not leave you. How else can one visit far away lands and experience culture other than through the very substance that sustains life? How can you reminisce over your childhood or times of long ago without the nostalgic tour of food? Nothing else brings to mind the times with family or that special someone than a certain dessert or gourmet meal.

I noticed that I was more focused on answering the questions of “How” and “Why” which would lead me to an exceptional “What”. I peruse through countless recipes on the Internet and am instantly gravitated to the cookbook section of the library all in search of the perfect sauce, bread or cookie. What delectable edibles will peak my curiosity this week? At any point in time I can go back to my culinary roots through a traditional southern cookbook, or perhaps blaze the way experimenting on Asian fusion. What a way to embark on an exhilarating journey of all things edible.

Instead of dreading the morning alarm, I will now beat it waking up with thoughts of making a perfectly tender beef bourguignon, or figuring out the best ratio of fat to flour for that flaky, buttery biscuit. The sky is the limit when it comes to food and that is exactly where I plan to go.

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