I was a lucky kid growing up. I had two amazing sets of grandparents that I spent a ton of time with. Both of my grandmothers were amazing cooks, and I spent numerous hours in the kitchen with them. First watching, and in awe of all of the amazing things they would always make. Then I was old enough to help them cook, and that's when I gained an appreciation for cooking. They both made everything from scratch and memory. We all knew better than to ask for recipes, because they didn't exist. In fact they still don't exist, and now that they have both passed on I've tried my best to recreate some of the dishes they made. Some of them have been successful (i.e. Nanny's potato salad), and some of them I've had to give up on because it will just never be the same (i.e Grandma's bean soup).
I was pretty young when they started having me help out in the kitchen. I was a pretty great sous chef if I do say so myself! I used to tear bread for stuffing, pick beans for soup and peel potatoes (Okay, so this one time I took a chunk out of my thumb with the potato peeler. Don't worry, I was fine...but Nanny was more concerned with whether or not I had gotten blood on the potatoes than she was with the fact that I was now missing a piece of my thumb. It's been my favorite scar ever since.). They taught me the basics of cooking, and I'm forever grateful for that.
Now that I'm an adult, the kitchen is my happy place. Well, the kitchen I picture myself having someday is my happy place. My last two kitchens in DC and my parent's kitchen are sooooooooo small. I need to picture the aforementioned dream kitchen in order to be able to cook in those kitchens without going a little crazy. Once I get to the imaginary kitchen, I'm instantly calm. Some people despise all of the prep work for cooking. Slicing, dicing and grating....oh my! I LOVE IT. Doing all of the mundane prep work is cathartic. Maybe it's the fact that you're usually stabbing or cutting something with a sharp knife, but once I start all of the stress from the day just melts away. After that initial prep work to officially release the stress, I feel like nothing can go wrong from that point. Usually, nothing does. I have a pretty good track record for turning out tasty dishes. Well, at least that's what I've been told, and I'm choosing to believe that no one's been lying to me!
My last year in DC was not the best for me. Finances were the toughest they'd ever been, and work was slowly but surely killing a little piece of my soul (it sounds over dramatic, but unfortunately that's how it felt), but if I could end my night by cooking myself, and usually my roommate, a great meal, I felt like everything would be okay, and I could keep going for another day. This feeling night after night eventually gave me my latest and greatest epiphany. Culinary school. Why not? Cooking is one of two things in my life that I've consistently loved doing. I can be a very indecisive person sometimes. Not because I'm a flaky person, but because I get overly passionate about things very quickly, and it then takes me a while to realize that maybe whatever I'm passionate about at the moment isn't the right fit for me. I dare someone to ask me how many times I considered changing my major in college. Cooking though...it's always been a constant thing, and it always will be. It's going to be a little while before I can start school, but you know that when the time comes I'll be here to tell you all about how awesome it is. So stay tuned......