With the days growing shorter and the nights becoming cooler, my natural reaction to this autumnal phenomenon is to adorn the apron, plant my bare feet firmly on my kitchen floor and cook. Today the universe made the signs of my nesting tendencies abundantly obvious when our grocery store flyer found its way to my desk and had every necessary ingredient for chili at a discounted price. As beautiful as the landscapes are in Santiago, I opted for some ground beef, kidney beans and the two necessary ingredients for my chili that others may frown upon but they make it mine.
I find a deep sense of comfort in my kitchen. While chopped onions feverishly jump in the Dutch oven and the rest of the ingredients lay in wait to join the party, the smells of happiness assuage any other feelings I may have carried home with me from the remnants of my day. The food in the pot is not just food – it is my sanctuary and my resolve to end the day on a positive note, regardless of how it began or how it ensued.
Cooking and baking are a tonic for me. They are a natural drug I can always count on to make me feel like myself again. And they are not just there to pull me from a sullen mood but also there to heighten my well-being on the good days, which thankfully far outweigh the bad days.
I have often pondered the idea of taking a leap of faith and pursuing this passion to make it a career but I am always left with fragments of an unfinished conversation that always takes place in my head. ‘If I do it for a living, will it just become a job and will I lose my passion for it?’ I would hate to have something I take so much pleasure in become a prosaic way to pay the bills.
Until I become brave enough to get within range of that bridge, I will not even entertain the thought of jumping off of it. For now, I will remain content with the wafting smell of chili from my kitchen, the collection of frozen soups in my freezer and the anticipation of the already-marinating pork tenderloin for dinner tomorrow.
“Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” ~ Julia Child
Let me answer that for you, because I did it: yes and no. It very much depends on the job but cooking remains therapeutic for me to this day, after years and years of doing it professionally. But it is very different to cook professionally – the actual way of going about it is different – than cooking in one’s kitchen, and the days, typically in the 10 hour on your feet range on a good day, become really hard on your body. It’s not a profession for older people. I left the full time professional kitchen when I approached 50. Now I still do it, but free lance, on my time and needs. And yes, I still love it and there is nothing more soothing than chopping vegetables or kneading dough.
I would love to be a personal Chef. I think it would be the best of both worlds. I work the front of house in Hospitality, so I am no stranger to long hours but I don’t want to lose that special time I feel in my kitchen.