Before attending the CIA, my thoughts and daydreams were obsessed with the romanticism of every detail surrounding food. From the intoxicating aromas that leap out of the steam, to the vibrant colors and textures that dazzle the plate, and most importantly, the flavors that envelope every sense into a deep meditation with the one focus on that soul-satisfying bite. Somewhere along the road, I have lost that obsession… or rather it has been transformed from one of daydream to one of work. My thoughts have drifted from swirling tales of flavors and faraway lands to rigid scrutiny on technique and timelines. I lay awake at night, taunted by the innumerable ways to utilize today’s fava purée into tomorrow’s something spectacular- the frenzied thoughts hang around me like heavy cloak that I cannot shirk.
Like a writer without a story, I am a cook without her kitchen. A wandering vagrant ever searching for a spark of inspiration… a muse… a choice to have to make. I find myself longing for the days when I drew such pleasure from reading foodie publications and living in the daydream. But those days have long since gone and I am no longer the cook I was. I am no longer the woman I was. I guess it’s hard to accept change, especially within one’s own self… maybe it’s not such a terrible thing that I live in the reality of being a cook, rather than the fantasy. After all, I do love timelines! Is that wrong? Perhaps it’s possible that I’ve traded in my fantasies of cooking amid gorgeous produce in a 700 year old Tuscan stone and brass kitchen with a glass of wine and an old gentleman playing his mandolin on the terrace for a different kind of fantasy. Maybe now I prefer the quiet clanking of spoons on skillets, the quick bruuuhhh of the stove top coming alight with flame, and the steady call-backs between cooks and chef.
Maybe this is just a journey and there’s no one way to be… just as there is no one way to cook, there is no one way to be a cook. Maybe I can find a way to hold onto the romanticism and still make room for the timelines.