We’ll start in the kitchen, where most things start out anyway.
I haven’t forgotten about the blog, I haven’t even been particularly unmotivated. I’ve been cooking like crazy, looking for comfort in simmered stocks and baking projects… the truth is I’ve been avoiding this little corner of the internet. It’s hard to know how much to share to a public audience when your writing is about food, and as much as you try to make your life about food, circumstances come up that make you think about things that aren’t as pleasant or easy as throwing a roast in the oven. This summer was a rough one that raised a lot of questions and forced me to make several big, shaky, scramble-yer-brain decisions in order to maintain some semblance of sanity. To begin, I left my job and started working in a new kitchen.
I wasn’t getting the kind of cooking experience that I really wanted. I wasn’t learning anything new, and I felt any talent I had in me was going to waste there. That, and sometimes you just have to say fuck it and take care of yourself, because you certainly can’t depend on your boss(es) to do that for you, as was proven to me time and time again there. As some form of catharsis it’s tempting for me to spill everything on here, but for posterity I’ll leave it at that. I got an opportunity to work in a new kitchen, (which I’ll brilliantly just call Kitchen from here on out- creativity points!)– the kind of kitchen that embodies my food ideals. You know the drill- all locally sourced, organically grown, made from scratch comfort food that has none of those terrifying manufactured food shortcuts that are used in plenty of restaurants. I also got the chance to work with dough, which was something I’d never gotten to do before, so on some days I wake up early and hang out in the kitchen by myself, where I roll baguettes and form perfect little buns, get elbow deep in biga and totally destroy my hands in the process. It’s lovely, and I’ll probably never be able to wear nail polish again. C’est la vie.
It had been a few years since I was the new kid in a kitchen, and it’s funny to be in that spot again. I’d forgotten what it was like to consistently fuck things up and have to apologize for it. It can be frustrating, because no matter how proficient you feel you are in the kitchen you will inevitably screw up some major things simply because it hasn’t become an engrained process. Every kitchen is different, and you come to rely heavily on muscle memory to get your timing right and not totally lose your cool with the exceptional multi-tasking that the longterm staff make look easy.
Being new in this kitchen and watching myself falter and fail on a regular basis is pretty damn similar to what’s happening in the rest of my life right now. C and I ended our relationship, which I won’t get into here. Between that, my love life, my dad and his sickness and my family relationships, what I’m left with is one big pile of questions and uncertainty and sadness and nostalgia and excitement and weirdness. Just like at Kitchen, with that pile of stuff I have try to come up with solutions so I don’t lose my shit completely. I reconfigure how I go about things. It is clumsy and painful and half the time I think I look like a jackass. I might accidentally boil 12 pounds of radishes instead of beets. I might make twice as much dough as I was supposed to. I might knock over a pot of perfectly diced vegetables that represented a two hour project I now have to shortcut and re-do completely. As any of my friends will tell you, I might well up and cry for no apparent reason, or I might crack up and dance around and smile at babies and be a happy, well-adjusted person for a moment.
For awhile it was hard to write about food because I wasn’t eating. After I started eating again, I eventually started cooking again. But still, writing wasn’t coming to me. I’m building myself back up block by block, and creative output is the last thing I’m coaxing back to the surface (besides, you know, general happiness and coping strategies. Life!).
Also, what the what is UP with it being dark All. The. Time!? It blows, and since I refuse to build a light box and only enjoy photographing food by natural light that means I have to eat at like, 4 pm at the latest to get a decent photo. Well THAT’S not gonna happen since lately I stay up until the wee, wee hours in the nighttime and that means I eat at 9 or so. Clearly I just need to eat out more, preferably lavish meals where I can get on about cream and butter and salt. In the meantime, bear with me. Soon enough I’m sure I’ll get my sea legs back. Er, my kitchen legs. Er… life legs. Here’s hoping.