The Amazing Week

*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.

If the little Linda in this shot knew how great last week would be, she would've been grinning from dimple to dimple

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.

with Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas

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.

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55 Responses

  1. The personal loans are very useful for guys, which want to start their own business. As a fact, this is not hard to receive a term loan.

  2. Great post!!! When good things happen, and you don’t want to jinx yourself, we say, “poo poo (pretending to spit) mah-shah-lah” :) So pu pu mashala! Congrats!!

  3. Thanks for sharing. You are way too talented writing funny foodie follies. Scratching words and figures onto a standardized Real Estate form? Way beneath your capable talents.

  4. Congratulations on being on tv! I am not surprised at all at your success and hope it continues on and on. Your skills are amazing, hope you write a book someday so I can read from cover to cover. Your friend describe you perfectly and I haven’t seen the segment, I need to get my google on. Marcel (and the world) can learn a lot from you for sure! Keep living your dream!!

  5. phenomenal, girl! absolutely well deserved. You’re unique.

  6. You freaking rock, Linda! I’m so glad to have finally met you in person, and to find that you are every bit as kind, warm hearted, and funny in real life as I had hoped you’d be. Looking forward to watching you rise to the tippy, tippy, top!

  7. Just happened to be reviewing Reichl’s posts and saw the one where she mentioned you and your soy lecithin recipe. Wow. Big time, baby. Had to add to the congratulations.

  8. How thrilling to have so many awesome things happen all in one week! I admit to being a bit jealous, but you definitely deserve it with all of your hard work and giving up the one thing that was a certainty in order to pursue something your heart craves. Congratulations and I hope to see much more of you taking over the food world :D

  9. You know how much I love and admire everything you do. But I thought that I would say it here too. ;)

    Looking forward to your many adventures.

  10. this is fantastic. I’m so glad you decided to go into the food world because its exactly where you belong. You’re one of the 1st bloggers I always think about when I go to read blogs because I always have something to learn from you.

    You deserve your pinch me week now make it into the pinch me life you always dreamed of :)

  11. All i have to say is i wish i had the guts! Congrats! Good post!

  12. I also quit my “real” job in pursuit of a career in the food world. And it is SCARY! Thanks for this little reminder to hang in there and believe in my passion. Congratulations on all of the good fortune coming your way!!!! Can’t wait to see your foodography episode :)

  13. You did the right thing, Food Fashionista! And I know that silly saying gets overused, but when a door closes, another opens, and for you, many doors opened. And I think you do your work beautifully, balancing passions with daily life must-do’s, and you support the community so elegantly, which I think is the key to success. Don’t think of the tightrope walker who steps out without a net, think of the bird who just unfurled its wings to fly!

  14. FANTASTIC post…Ba-Bye real estate. You won’t regret it – that approach has always worked for me. It’s like when you buy your first house and ask yourself how the hell am I gonna pay for this? Ya just make it happen. Then, as you said – it ain’t no thang!

  15. Sending you a huge big mothafuckin’ YOU GO GIRL! xoxoxoxoxo

  16. I am so happy for you. Of all the blogs I read, all the people I met, you, most of all, inspired me with your work ethic, passion, and determination. Those things- passion, hard work, relentlessness- always pay of :-) XO.

  17. Wow! I wish we had talked about this when I saw you. Instead we ate too much and laughed too loud! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO GREG

  18. Congratulations and thanks for sharing – your story is very inspirational. Good for you for following your passion. LOVE LOVE LOVE Food(ography). One of the few shows that my DVR is set to record for me. :)

  19. Congrats on everything, but especially taking that plunge. As I try to figure out what I want and how to go about doing it, it’s inspiring to see someone do it with such passion, charm and success. I hope to meet you in the top third sometime soon.
    I’m sure there’s a god makeout joke about getting to 2nd base somewhere, but I’m going to leave that be.

  20. Congrats and the best of luck!! This is so inspiring, so thank you – I’ve been working in Advertising for the past 10 years, but recently launched a Wedding Design & Planning company “on the side”, and have been trying to juggle both, so I can completely relate. I dream of the day that I can leave the Advertising world forever to pursue my true passion full time – I’ll let you know when that day comes, keep your fingers crossed for me!

  21. Loved your segment on Foodography! Heard Ruth Reichl speak in Newport Beach on Friday and she praised molecular gastronomy and the excitement it brings to the culinary scene to a skeptic during the Q&A. May your flower never wilt and the boomerang broadside you on its return :)

  22. i just saw the food(ography) bit on you and i have to say, you really do exude everything that every woman should be: happy in your own skin and confident of who you are :) i’m so proud of you, and i’d definitely say all of your hard work has certainly paid off!

  23. Love this post Salty! And girl, I don’t think it’s possible for you to lose a boomerang. Even if you flung all the way into outer space, it would evently come back with Jupiter and Mars in tow.

  24. I applaud your honesty and for following your passion. I haven’t seen the Foodography show yet but I can only imagine you would be nothing short of fabulous. Still hoping to try one of your recipes one day!

  25. Awesome post, I love every bit of it!!! Congrats dear!!!

  26. Kudos to you for having the strength to follow you passion. I can only believe your future will be so d@mn bright we’ll all have to wear some shades. Congrats… and may you be so successful, you impress even yourself!

  27. Congrats Lady, you deserve it!

  28. Linda, sometimes you have to close you eyes and step off the cliff. You just have to believe you will fly, not drop.

    Somehow, with your talent I think you will be more than OK!

    And if all else fails you can make mozzarella balloons at Pike Place Market for $$!

  29. Cheers to you for jumping in with both feet! Welcome to the free-fall where terrifying and thrilling intermingle on a daily basis. So far thrilling and satisfaction are winning overall and I bet you’ll find that to be the same for you as well.

  30. Amazing post Linda. Congrats to you – so well deserved!!! I’ve been hanging on to my license for the same reason and today you have inspired me to rip off the training wheels and just go for it.

    Thanks for being a great inspiration!!
    Heather :)

  31. Yes, it was quite a week capped off by an apparently fun time at Greg’s.

    Fun aside, I was very taken by the dialogue in this post and wish you much luck!

  32. Congratulations!

  33. Linda, the courage it takes to follow your dreams at the expense of financial security is a tremendous sign and testament to who you are, who you want to be and where you want to go. The hell with it. Emotional security is so much more valuable anyway.

    I feel inspired just reading this post.

    Linda Reply:

    @MikeVFMK, word up, Mike!

  34. You very adeptly tapped into that fear all of us writers have. What IS the definition of success? Perhaps you found it already, in that liberating hit of the send button. In committing to your passion. Your blog is clearly of the most “inspiring” out there, Linda. And well, with your humbleness have outdone yourself. (But don’t let me quit my day job no matter what I say -not yet- or the only mozzarella I’ll be picking up is pre-shredded Kraft).
    And thanks again for casting your spell this weekend. You’re my new #1 voodoo guru.

    Linda Reply:

    @ChocoMeat, and you are my #1 voodoo guru, especially in vertical stripes!

  35. My love, I am so happy for you! You are an inspiration to me. We both went through the bs of that fake ass show (we won’t even mention the name), and it really is inspiring to see how you didn’t let that stop you and now all these great things are happening for u. I have total faith that your future is bright and shiny! Just don’t forget me when your big and famous ;)
    Xoxo
    Emme

    Linda Reply:

    @Emme @foodsamba, you are unforgettable, love.

  36. Why, why, why won’t they put a link anywhere? every damn person in the world has seen this now except me.
    and who isn’t happy for you? there’s plenty of room at the top. it’s the bottom that’s run amok with snippy muffin recipe re-writers..

    If you are at Disney, go to Portillos (about a mile away from you near Knott’s) and get an Italian Beef and Chicago dog for me. And maybe some chili fries. And a float. I’m a little bit knocked up and can’t eat enough beef.

    Linda Reply:

    @marisa, wait a minute, did i miss something? knocked up???? wow, congratulations, sexy.

    marisa Reply:

    I am selectively telling people in blog comments:) But seriously, go to Portillo’s when you leave tonight. It will be so much better than anything you can get in the Kingdom.

    And congrats to you and your balloons. I wish i could see!!!!

    Can you send a bootleg to special people via email????

  37. Ya know we only get one go around in this life and although scary it is our responsibility to live life like we mean it. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you are not playing it safe but playing with all your heart. I have no doubt that you will succeed in doing whatever it is you want to do. You go girl.

  38. So glad all your hard work is paying off. Your passion is so evident in all you make–how can anyone not see it? The recognition is well-deserved, too. What people see here they won’t see anywhere else–I think it’s hard to be original anymore when it comes to food but you do it and do it well. Congrats. :-)

    Saw the video in Greg’s post–so much fun to watch! :-)

  39. Great post. So proud of you for following your dream. Watch out world!

  40. first time I’ve commented but I just wanted to say how awesome it is that you cut that chord. I did the exact same thing a year ago to the day and it’s crazy hard but I’ve never been happier and I’ve never looked back.

    You keep following your passion – trust me, only good things can come from it! Congrats!

    Linda Reply:

    @Melissa@EyesBigger, funny how it’s such a wonderfully daunting feeling all at once. glad to hear of a great success story in you.

  41. There is so much good-stuff in this post I don’t know where to begin: spiritual, comedic, inspiring, informative, and loving. I have chill bumps about how fantastic your future looks and I’m sending my constant {{{{applause}}}}.

    Linda Reply:

    @Cathy/ShowFoodChef, and i yours! wish i could have seen you while here- sad you were gone. wish me luck at Disneyland today- oh the horror! :)

  42. Cheers to you, to bravery, to meeting heroes, to hustling to keep up with your passion, and especially to pushing “send.”

    Linda Reply:

    @Chris @ The Peche, thank you, Chris- means a lot coming from someone i respect as much as you.

  43. I love it! You have thrown yourself into the arms of the Molecular gods and they’re hugging back. I’m lucky enough to do what I love for a living as a screenwriter but I do nourish secret fantasies also when I am cooking. Paula Wolfert has nurtured me along, and thrust me into the world of old school clay and I’m just thrilled she cares, so I absolutely understand how you feel. We are on opposite ends of the culinary spectrum, you in the future and I am doing everything short of cooking on flint and cow dung, but I truly believe there is room for us all..you go girl!

    Linda Reply:

    @Kathy Gori, we really aren’t so opposite after all- i love flint and cow dung:)

    Kathy Gori Reply:

    @Linda, If anyone would, you would! so glad Mickey let you in..we’ve written for Disney a lot but I haven’t been to the park in
    ages.

  44. john v phipps

    A massive “Way to go, Girl” headed down south to your part of the city from Shoreline! You totally rocked it on Foodography. And must say, when we saw you bang out the balloons (after seeing Marcel make such a feeble attempt on his first solo show) we looked at each other and said “Wait! Isn’t Marcel supposed to be the highly trained professional that throws off Moderinist Cuisine technique all over the place? I’d rather see Salty Seattle on TV instead of him so we can learn some real technique”.

    We have been gearing up the last few months. Upgraded from SousVide Supreme and food saver to a Vac chamber and PolyScience Pro. Loving how that works. And ordered a starter kit from http://www.willpowders.com along with a caviar box. I am itching to make hot sauce beads. Just need some REAL training. Any chance you are willing to teach?

    Linda Reply:

    @john v phipps, thanks for your funny, irreverent, kind words. Sure am jealous you upgraded to the cryovac! I do put together crazy cuisine cooking classes on occasion- why don’t you send me an email and let me know what you’re interested in. In terms of hot sauce beads, we’d have to play around with correcting ph, but it would be a tasty experiment, especially with some oysters! (linda at saltyseattle dot com)

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