I live alone having moved out of my parents’ house years ago. My mother is a great cook and yet a limited resource for culinary knowledge, and to some extent a lost opportunity for learning as a result of my youthful naïveté. Maturity and the hindsight that comes with it are great aren’t they? The cook in me has emerged through a combination of her influence, necessity and frankly reasons not yet known or fully understood. Her limited accessibility, in the form of my visits home or from her to my apartment, serves as a catalyst for my self-designed course of study involving reading, interviews, practice and hands-on instruction. My journey continues eight months in with even more enthusiasm than when it started.
As I become more immersed in the world of cooking I have been exposed to a myriad of perspectives, experiences and stories. It’s amazing to see how food, a fundamental necessity for life touches all of us in so many ways, some subtle, while others more obvious ranging from those who are either happy or resigned to eat countless plates of overcooked pasta, microwaved processed frozen meals, burnt or dry chicken and steak with repetitive monotony (yes this was me) to the master chef, armed with culinary knowledge and experience that allows for the transformations of simple ingredients into something greater than themselves.
For those who do take an interest in food and in particular an interest in cooking, I have observed and read about the many and varied ways people increase their skill through their continual process of learning. I have also observed that some people appear to be born with an innate ability and/or natural inclination to cook. Others are exposed through family and friends as part of their childhood and upbringing, allowing for cooking to become a part their identity over time. Some families pass down recipes and cook as part of tradition. Some people have an “awakening” and discover their passion for food later in life whether that be in their twenties, thirties or much later in life. Whether as a result of an awakening, tradition, a desire to follow one’s dreams, out of necessity or need for change, some even take the step of enrolling in classes or a formal path of education. We all are different and yet still share some intrinsic common thread that makes us similar and drawn to food and cooking. We love to cook, enjoy making people happy and often strive to make each dish better than the last.
I’m curious about the path others have taken to get where they are or where they plan to go. How did you get into food? What are your aspirations? How did you get to where you are and how do plan to get where you are going?