#35 Food Porn

I have an affinity for cooking that quite possibly exceeds my love of music. But it wasn't always that way. When asked to take a Home Economics class in high school, I sneered and signed up for Wood Shop instead. While the other girls were showing off their crookedly constructed pillow cases and bragging about their marinara sauces, I was learning to use a band saw and being instructed on how to properly wear a welding mask. My poor mom would try with all her might to persuade me to put on an apron and join her in the merriment of dinner preparation but her pleas would always be met with disdain. Instead, I'd retire to my bedroom to write love songs about boys I'd never kissed and hearts I'd only hope to steal. I was a grunge kid, flannel shirts, ripped boys jeans and black make-up. I wanted to make music, not stew. Forcing me into a kitchen was only adding fuel to the flames of the patriarchal dilemma and I wanted no part of it.

All that changed when my French class took a field trip to the fanciest restaurant in town and I was surrounded by extravagance unlike I'd ever experienced. Chandeliers hung from the high ceilings, ceramic fireplaces roared and filled the plush dining room with warmth and ambiance. A delectable multi-coursed meal was served with pride by dapper gents wearing cummerbunds and bow ties. That was the day I vowed to learn to appreciate the finer things in life. I also vowed that my next job would be in that very dining room. I wanted to elegantly serve food and Champagne to the well-to-do folk of the upper mid-west. Generally speaking, when I have a goal in my head, I do everything in my power to secure what I want. In this instance, I started with a job application. When that was ignored, I presented myself on their doorstep and introduced myself, gushing over the meal I'd experienced with my French class, stating that I would be a steward of their tutelage and an asset to their business. They agreed to give me a job as a housekeeper. It wasn't as glamorous a beginning as I'd envisioned, but I was in the door. I've always been a bit of a neat freak, so this was actually a good job for me. I could really show off my talents for dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing even the most stubborn of toilets, but deep down I knew I was destined for more. After a few months of being a merry maid, never calling in sick, or missing a rogue bathroom hair, evidently they saw greatness in me and I was asked if I'd like to try something different.

I remember how important and dignified I felt the first day I put on my floor-length black skirt with a slit up the side (just high enough to possibly improve my tips by 5% or so) and stepped out into my dining room. Yes, it was my dining room- because when I was on the clock I owned that shit. It was absolute bliss working in that environment, but I also gained a new appreciation for what went on behind the scenes. I often found myself gravitating into the kitchen to sneak a peek at what the ill-tempered but charming chefs had up their sleeves for the next course. Soon, I was helping to fillet fish, make roux, whip cream, and do any other task that was asked of me. I had a lot of questions and eventually the chefs saw that I wasn't trying to be annoying but that I actually possessed a genuine interest in their skill-set. I happily worked that job every summer for 12 years. During the off-season, I would gallivant around Eastern Europe, but come summer, it was show time! I can honestly say that I learned more during my stint as a waitress than any of my failed college attempts had ever taught me. 

I've been considering doing a sort of food video blog where Mercy Danger, clad in a hot pink apron with an acoustic guitar slung over her back, comes on screen and cooks, sings, and tells dirty jokes- but the idea is in its infancy. I could take you all foraging with me and then whip up a little mushroom amuse bouche, while crooning away on my latest musical composition. I wonder if I'd get more than 2 viewers (you know who you are) or if it would lead to wild success? The bottom line is that sometimes there can be two things in your life that you are passionate about and that shouldn't stop you from putting your best foot forward with each of them. I think about what I would have missed out on if I had obsessed over only music... or only cooking. Life is about balance. Now, I'm off to go make stew.

1 comment

  • Peg Langlois

    Peg Langlois NH

    WOW! I knew in Sophomore year of high school that I would become that home economics teacher that you successfully avoided! Haha! I always wanted to know WHY things are done in a certain way. That's why teaching was perfect for me...teaching the WHY of things was my calling. <3

    WOW! I knew in Sophomore year of high school that I would become that home economics teacher that you successfully avoided! Haha! I always wanted to know WHY things are done in a certain way. That's why teaching was perfect for me...teaching the WHY of things was my calling. <3

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