Old endings and new beginnings
Hey look, I’m writing my food blog. My food blog. I’ve been promising this to myself and my friends for years, putting it off, finding other hobbies and other blogs to put first, convinced the world doesn’t need yet another food blog, but now I’m really doing it. Huh.
I’ve been blogging for a while, most recently writing about and recreating interiors for Copy Cat Chic. I’ve been an unreliable sous chef since I could stand on a dining chair next to my mother, begrudgingly cracking a single egg when begged, yet blissfully spending all my free time glued to Molto Mario, marveling at the all-knowing Sara Moulton, and wondering how to convince my parents to take me to Emeril Live. Incredibly, I still managed to have a robust roster of friends.
As I grew older I became involved in 4H and FFA, raising sheep and beef cattle, with one miserable foray into chicken farming (and no, the chickens did not have large talons). I also spent a few years as the manager of a meat science lab, breaking down whole sides of beef, pork, lamb, and goat. We made thousands of pounds of specially cured bacon and ham, and introduced our customers to specialty cuts like flatiron steaks, which were all but unheard of in the early aughts. But while I’ve always been an enthusiastic eater and lover of food, I’ve only been what I’d consider a somewhat capable cook since college (where, I shit you not, I learned to boil water), and really good at it since entering the glitzy professional world of advertising as an over-worked and underpaid art director.
I started with the occasional back-pocket pasta dishes for a boyfriend and his roommate, evolving into intermittent mid-level projects like making mediocre ravioli and obsessively copying the methods for making the incredible byrek sent to us by my roommate’s Albanian mother. I would say, however, that I only began to recognize cooking, as opposed to catch-all “food”, as my raison d’être during the course of my tenure in advertising. I simultaneously loved and hated that job with every fiber of my being. It was terribly exciting and endlessly frustrating, and it’s where I learned about, among other valuable life lessons, things like the existence of stress-induced acne and migraines, and Stockholm syndrome. And because the ways in which humans cope with stress and frustration and heartache are myriad and remarkable, I spent the majority of my at-home time during my 80-hour workweeks sequestered in my kitchen, where no one talked to me and nothing bad ever seemed to happen. The remainder was spent watching SVU and drinking wine with my cat.
After a career change into finance (I know, but I’m a Gemini and that’s how we roll) and several years of adulthood under my belt, I’m finally able to be real with myself about the kind of person I am and the kind of life I want to lead. I want to slow down and put good things out into the world, I want to teach and be taught in return, and I want to connect. I hope to be thoughtful and I hope to be silly, but I really hope I can be helpful. I want to be true to myself, and I want to put my time into something meaningful and worthwhile. I don’t want mindless chatter or to worry about things that I can’t change, and I especially don’t want to beat myself up when I inevitably fail at all those things or accidentally get drunk on Mexican martinis and miss my yoga class. Again.
I guess what I want to say is, I want this to be a good place. I want it to be an exercise in writing and editing, a creative outlet and a place to grow, a chronicle of the most central tenet of my life, and a source for my friends who can’t figure out wtf to make for dinner.
In college, I was told by an old Austin hippie—someone who knew her shit—that I needed to make a mandala for myself, and create a personal statement to guide me when I feel lost as a reminder of where I stand. A manifesto, if you will, though that word always seems much too self-righteous and militant for my taste. I ignored her for like ten years, always returning to Michael Pollan’s all-encompassing yet bite-sized watershed moment of a mantra, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. But those aren’t my words, and food is so much more than what I put in my mouth, and I needed to really nail down what I’m about. I’ve arrived at the following:
I believe in butter, wine, yoga, and vegetables. Thanksgiving turkey sucks and crème fraiche is a food group. I’m a terrible gardener and I do it anyway, if only for the benefit of the bees. Go outside, and when you’re wavering, ask yourself what your cat would do.
Know thyself, be kind, be true. Practice loving-kindness. Turn toward your experience, all of it, and never turn away. Don't let the great be the enemy of the good.
Everything in moderation, even moderation.
Thanks for being here!