Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I should have realized a long time ago that food is important to me. Some of my favorite memories are in the kitchen—making applesauce and canning fruit with my mom, learning the trick for the perfect pancake (when the bubbles stop closing in the center, it's ready to flip). But at some point I got it in my head that I was bad at cooking—probably because everyone in my family is so good, not because I actually was bad, and because I thought following a recipe meant I was somehow deficient in skill.

In high school, I had baking parties with friends but we mostly stuck to pizza and dutch babies. When I went off to college, I didn't cook because I was in the dorm. Lack of experience increased my insecurity, and then my roommate Kindra came along and she dragged to the nasty dorm kitchen to make polenta and homemade sauce, and artichoke with may aioli. I was jealous of her confidence with such sparse equipment, and I felt very keenly that if I loved to eat so much, I should be able to cook.

When I came back to college after a year abroad, I had my own kitchen off campus with my cousin. This is when I began cooking. We made beans and soup and our grandma's popovers. I told my brothers about my fear of cooking and they laughed at me and then bought me Betty Crocker's Cooking Basics. I never read it, but I immediately felt like I could do anything.

As a personal challenge, I applied the next year to be Food Editor for my school's newspaper, The Collegian. Never to half-ass anything, I spent 4-6 hours every week preparing recipes—I never once copied a recipe, instead I looked up 10-15 from my favorite cooking blogs and books, and then made my own ingredient list and kept track of my personal cooking method. I fully committed to my original recipes. Sometimes my experiments went badly, like when I tried halving the recommended sugar for lemon bars, but I always came through. I am proud of every recipe I published.

In my free time, I watch cooking shows—today, I watched the final episode for Mind of a Chef, and next, I'll be watching Chef's Table. I've realized that food is more than a hobby—it's kind of an obsession. When I'm bored in class, I write grocery lists, and Kindra and I still continually talk about food. Lucky for her, she's in a nutrition program—even though she hates the homeward and doesn't agree with all the health principles they dole out, I know deep down she's happy to be there.

Finally realizing this passion is why I'm looking for jobs at food magazines and blogs; It's why I wander into specialty culinary shops wherever I go; It's why I'm chose to mimic Bon Appetit as my magazine project for InDesign class; It's why I get irritated at my roommate when she throws my ceramic knife in the sink; It's why I'm writing this post.

Food is where I'm headed. I wish I had realized sooner, but I'm glad I'm realizing now.