*horror of horrors, this post is light on pictures.. It’s so rife with soul-bearing and topic traipsing that I didn’t feel a set of images would have enough unification to tie-in the words. Not one to leave you high and dry, however, if you are a good little reader and make it all the way to the end, you will be rewarded with a short video created by The Wind Attack, featuring Salty Seattle, and showcasing a project conjured by The Chocolate of Meats and Sippity Sup with participation by their friends, Joy the Baker and Out A Thyme.
Last week was one of those “pinch me” weeks. First I got to meet my idol, my muse, my longtime inspiration for all things nouveau cuisine- Grant Achatz. Then I had the surreal experience of watching myself on television on a super fantastic program called Food(ography). I made madcap recipes for the Food(ography) crew and they chose to feature a particularly fun one, mozzarella balloons. As it turns out, on the same night that my episode of Food(ography) aired, another wacky new television show called Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen featured mozzarella balloons too, with a different outcome. The star of the show, Top Chef Marcel Vigneron, attempts the balloons and decrees that they “aren’t feasible.” Well Marcel, if you’d like a lesson, my kitchen is your kitchen.
The real icing (duck fat) on the cake (rillettes) however, was discovering that the reigning queen of food, Ms. Ruth Reichl herself, had featured a blog post and recipe of mine on her website. As I said on my facebook account when I first heard, “that’s like god asking to make out with you.”
Thus, I feel entirely within my rights to suggest that it was a “pinch me” week, but I hope it’s real because it means that all the incredibly fun but intensely hard work I’ve been putting in is inching toward paying off. I made a secret New Year’s Resolution this year that I was too afraid to reveal to anyone until now. I gave up every last vestige, every stitch of possibility, at pursuing my former career, which was in real estate.
I hadn’t been active in that world for quite some time, but I clung on to my license partly as a safety net and also because for the longest time, I didn’t respect my own abilities enough to think I might have a chance at making a go of my true passion in life. It turns out you can’t be a really great tightrope walker if you don’t take off the training wheels and toe gracefully across the taut line. The same goes for any passion. This is not to say that you cannot pursue a goal concurrent to having a stable career outside that goal. I only imply that in order to make a flower bloom, all the energy of the plant has to go toward that flower.
On January 1st, 2011, I timidly tapped the “send” button on the email that would eviscerate me from real estate. I closed my eyes, held my breath, and waited for confirmation that my license was indeed on its way back to the State of Washington. The following week, three people approached me about buying or selling property. I could have taken that as a sign that I had made the wrong decision, but instead I viewed it as a challenge. Yes, I could have continued to make money working in a space outside my heart. I could have enjoyed financial security and continued down the path of the fancy “ladies who lunch.”
Instead, I typically spend my lunches coated in liquid nitrogen wine powder trying to fashion tuiles that taste like merlot and look like a long-stemmed rose. My blender regularly erupts, spewing essence of pea onto every possible surface, of course making extra effort to affix itself to my face and hair. The “ladies who lunch” would make quite the kerfuffle if they saw me in my ruined Pucci cooking dresses smeared with bits of white and green yet smiling ear to ear because at least I never have to endure the pain of hearing someone order a “chopped-salad-hold-the-dressing-chicken-cheese-onions-and-all-other-toppings-save-arugula-so-that-I-can-maintain-my-girlish-figure” ever again. I practice the art of kitchen calisthenics to maintain my girlish figure. That involves lifting a heavy piece of pork belly to my lips and vigorously taking a bite. It’s quite the workout.
Back to my resolution. I am very likely jinxing my fate by getting all loud and proud about telling you I don’t have a “real” job anymore. There is high probability that I will wind up as a busker in the Pike Place Market collecting crumpled bills in my Philip Treacy hat for doing stupid human tricks like blowing up mozzarella balloons. The thing is, jinx or not, I feel a lot better. I also work a lot more for a lot less. The life of a “blogger” or whatever I am, involves being on call virtually 24 hours of the day. You have to be a top-notch cook, mother, wife, writer, photographer, marketer, and shameless self-promoter all at the same time while acting like it aint no thang. Let me tell you, it’s hard. And unnecessarily-cutthroat. We want our colleagues to succeed, and yet we can’t help but feel a tiny snippet of bitterness when they do. I have always maintained that there is room enough for everyone who really wants to be at the top. Or at least in the upper third. I feel that championing my friends and compatriots only incites me to rise to the stratospheric level they are already on. It’s best to be humble, but it’s ok to be a little chuffed at the same time. After all, the measure of success is only what is inside our hearts, so if I’m happy that more than ten people like to read my pretty word pictures yet you want to pry the apple of excellence from Oprah Winfrey’s gilt-lined lips, so be it.
I suppose what I really mean to say is that I am grateful. I feel like I can keep doing what I’m doing for a bit longer, continuing to wrangle madness into the perfect bite. Yep, I’m like the Lone Ranger of the kitchen. Or maybe the Johnny Knoxville. But hey, if Food(ography) wants to call me the Lady Gaga, I’ll take that too. I got an innocuous comment on my blog the other day that turned into a sleeper-tearjerker. It was written by a talented friend of mine called Andra who has the blog, French Press Memos. She said, “I saw your feature on Foodography- you are a natural my dear- humble and charming and confident at the same time.” It resonated so deeply because it is exactly how I would like to be perceived and I was thrilled I was able to emote on that level. It’s hard to exude confidence when you feel like you’re flinging a boomerang into space and you don’t know if it will return, and yet, in this hard-knock world, sometimes you just have to cowboy up. I cowboyed up by ditching that albatross real estate license, and slowly, timidly, I’m starting to feel that the boomerang just might make its way back into my hands.