I’ve actually considered culinary school.
Well, a little.
About 9 months ago, I started thinking more seriously about what I want to be when I grow up. I worked for an agency supporting individuals with developmental disabilities in a management position, and it was extremely stressful. I knew I was ready to move on, and wondering what to do long term. While it was brief, I considered and even researched culinary school. I love to cook and eat so much, it just seemed like something natural to explore.
However, I’m picky. I liked certain conditions when I cook.
First, wine. To drink, not just to cook with. Somehow, I don’t think this will fly with restaurants. Second, music, of my own choosing. And a bunch of other kitchen staff yelling does not count. Third, I like to take my time when I cook. There’s not a bone in my body that can rush through the cooking process, and I don’t think restaurant kitchens will appreciate that either.
Many food blogs include timing in their recipes, such as prep time, cook time, total time. In the beginning, I felt like I needed to do this. However, what’s true for one person isn’t true for another. I do make sure to include some cook times with my recipes—how long to bake or sauté something for, as I think this is important and makes it easier for a reader to follow—but I don’t believe in total time.
But the most important reason—I realized that if I started cooking for a living, whether in a restaurant, café, hotel, anywhere really—I wouldn’t love and appreciate it as much as if I had it as a hobby, something to do for myself.
When I was in college, I took a class called Motivation. We learned about the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. When someone is motivated to do something out of genuine enjoyment, it is said to be intrinsically motivating. When there are external motivators, such as money, rewards, etc.—this is extrinsic motivation. Research has proven that if someone is intrinsically motivated to do something and begins receiving extrinsic motivators—such as money—they are less internally motivated to do that activity.
In other words, research backs me up on this. I don’t have many hobbies, and I can’t lose cooking!
My favorites foods…
If I had to choose my favorite meals, I would say…
- My mom’s chicken sesame. She pounds chicken out thin into cutlets, they are breaded and fried, and served with a delicious sauce on the side, typically over rice.
- Spaghetti pie. No, really! This is my dad’s favorite meal and his request on his birthday every year, and I’ve grown to love it. Cooked spaghetti mixed with parmesan forms the crust, and it’s filled with a beef and sauce mixture, topped with mozzarella. After it’s baked, the spaghetti forms a crust with a little bit of crisp, the filling tastes like a delicious meat sauce, and the mozzarella stretches for miles.
- Ice cream. All the kinds. Any kind. I could live on ice cream.
- Sushi! I prefer raw sushi, but I enjoy cooked and especially tempura. I also really love the sweet potato vegetarian roll at a local restaurant—it has a nice sweetness to it.
- Mushroom risotto—the first kind I learned to make on my own! It is ridiculously creamy and delicious and I could eat it all the time. Probably the first thing I’ll make it I want to impress someone.
I also really, really, really love brie. A friend once told me that her 6-year-old daughter plans to marry a man who knows how to make brie when she grows up. Girl knows what’s going on!
My least favorite foods…
I don’t eat olives or pickles.
I’m picky about roasted red peppers—sometimes they’re too juicy and briny (I don’t know how), and I prefer them if I make them at home.
That’s it. Seriously.
My actual kitchen…
I live in a modest apartment in Rochester, NY, with a lovely kitchen. My kitchen has laminate flooring that resembles stone, beautiful wood cabinets, and a black countertop. It’s not particularly fancy, but it is so much nicer than I could have expected.
A few of my favorite details in my kitchen.
It also does not have enough cabinet space! There’s a fair amount of overflow into the linen closet just outside my kitchen (three shelves out of five…I apparently have more use for extra cooking and serving supplies than linens) and even then, it’s pretty cramped.
I love this print in my kitchen!
I used to own a ranch-style home. I had a great kitchen with even more cabinet and counter space than I have now, plus a full pantry in the kitchen.
I also had filled the dining room, linen closet, and basement with shelves and shelves of kitchen overflow.
I’m not saying I am proud of this—I’m just confessing my affinity for all things cooking, serving, and eating.
And then telling you, dear reader, all about it. 🙂