Sunday, July 11, 2010

For Our First Course...

Yep, that's it, my kitchen. I know there are some people with ones smaller than mine (I pity them) and some people with ones bigger than mine (I envy them), but for now that is the place I cook. Two people in it at a time feels cramped and more than that... forget about it. The limited counter space means that I sometimes use the top of the washing machine for whatever I need to at the moment. Plus, it's never clean...
Oh well, such is life. And that's what this blog is about; my life as I try to make it on my own. Well, sort of. Mostly this blog is about my extended love affair with food. If you ask me when I first realized that I love food and cooking, I get this blank, glazed over look. You might as well ask me when I first realized I was breathing. Food (oh glorious food!) has been one of the few constants in my life and while some of you may be saying "Well duh!", let me tell you that constants are a big deal for me. This young woman is a product of the Navy; change is the only constant in my life. Even now, as I sit clacking away at my laptop, my parents are going through a divorce. So constants are something I treasure like a new cookbook.

Speaking of which, I was very bad this week. Despite the fact that I'm trying to manage my budget better, I bought about $100 in food related books this week. Books, food, and music are my greatest loves in the world; combining any of those is pure bliss for me. There is a used bookstore nearby that I frequent and I was powerless to resist the chance to own some of the books I found. Not that I put up much of a fight, I tend to buy things when I'm feeling a bit down. Why was I in a sour mood, you ask? Well, my mother is visiting and we have been discussing the potential paths in my (currently bleak) future. One year ago I moved to Tampa, FL to attend the University of South Florida with the intention of majoring in mechanical engineering. Let me tell you now, that was a horrible choice. I stopped going to my classes during both of the semesters; out of the ten classes I took, I failed seven, including tennis. Now, according to my mother, I need to strongly consider enlisting in the Reserves. To be fair, I have no idea what I want to do with my life, so that may not be the worst plan ever, but I still don't like it. Tampa has become my home, which is new for me. I want to stay.

So here I am, with the threat of the military slowly descending upon me like a shroud and no back-up plan. Well, maybe no back-up plan. As I've already stated several times, I love food. Any career that I could make a living off of that involved food, I would jump on it in half a heartbeat. All my friends ask why I don't do that, then. If only it were that simple... Then I started to think. I started to think about all the chefs and big names in food or anything ever; they all had to start somewhere. I'll be honest with you, I'm not a very ambitious or confident person and in my mind it's always someone else that makes it because who would be interested in me? My current situation has made me realize, though, that it's about time that I got the hell over that type of thinking. Why NOT me?! Maybe I won't be the next Anthony Bourdain (love him) or Julia Child, but I'll make something of myself rather than this scared little person I am now. That's what it boils down to, really, fear. I am terrified of screwing up again, but I'll never move forward if I just wander around scared all the time.

What to do, then? Enroll in culinary school? Maybe. Cook a lot? Definitely. Let's face facts, though, I'm no gourmet. I have no idea what a tartare is, nor have I ever poached an egg. Right now my knife set is composed of (Walmart) steak knives and one fillet knife. I'm not even old enough to buy the sherry that was called for in the French Onion Soup I made last week. Never said this was going to be easy. And let it be noted, I am not starting this blog with the hope that it will be a "rags to riches" ticket (even though I did just watch the movie "Julie and Julia" and that would be amazing). This is just a place for me to record my attempt at being more honest with myself, motivate myself, and eat good food. Let's dig in, shall we?

(And for those that are curious, these are the books I bought)

The one I'm currently reading; it's actually very entertaining. Honestly, the thought of being a waiter is fairly appealing to me.

No clue what this one will be like, but it was cheap.

Middle Eastern food is SO tasty, but I don't get it very often and don't have much experience making it, so I thought I'd remedy that. This book also includes a lot of cultural things, from what I've seen. The only drawback of this book is that there are very few photos (I'm a visual eater, so I like cookbooks with pictures.)

Anthony Bourdain is awesome. Period.

A more fancy, smancy book. Again, not too many pictures, but I thought I'd try it out.

Now, I love my mother (who taught me a lot in the ways of cooking), but she cannot cook Asian food. I thought stir-fry would be a good introduction. Note to self: buy a wok.

Another cheap book. Not too familiar with French food and I'm trying to expand my horizons, so it'll be good for experience.

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