When I was ten and whining for lunch, my exasperated mother reappropriated a famous JFK phrase to be a little more self-serving: “Ask not what your mother can cook for you — ask what you can cook for your mother.” She taught my brother and me how to make a simple angel hair pasta with garlic, shrimp, and tomato sauce. I didn’t know it at the time, but this marked the beginning of my culinary education.
Despite the many life changes and transitions in the ensuing years, cooking continued to be a mainstay of my life. I baked cookies to destress from finals, made chicken soup to nourish myself and others when we were ill, crimped together dumpling wrappers for our family holiday meal, hosted friends for numerous dinner parties, and eventually cooked breakfast and lunch a few times a week for coworkers at my startup. From time to time I flirted with the idea of eventually opening up a coffee shop or a cafe, but never did anything about it. Until now.
After six years in the tech world, I’ve decided to switch gears to focus on food and cooking. I want to help nourish people’s bodies and minds. Meal by meal, bite by bite, we are truly what we eat, and I believe that extraordinary food can help us live healthier lives, feel gratitude for what we’ve been given, and build a sense of community.
To kick-off my formal training, starting on Tuesday, I’ll be attending a six month intensive culinary program at the San Francisco Cooking School. I’m psyched to be a student again, where I get to learn rapidly and question everything. I can’t wait to develop an intuition for how to balance an intensity of flavors, as well as a mastery of the many varied cooking techniques. On the other hand, I expect my taste buds to be challenged greatly. I haven’t handled raw meat in months, and will need to get comfortable with the idea of consistently eating meat again. I also have a few big food aversions (bananas, for one), and am afraid that I won’t get the most of my program if I don’t continue to expand my palate to include foods I’ve hated my entire life.
So with that in mind, and since today is Day 1 of 2017, here’s my resolution for the year: Be open, and be curious.* Oh, and here’s to a lot of good food. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Happy New Year!!
I’ll be looking for a lot of taste testers in the coming months, so please let me know if you’re interested! ? To follow my culinary adventures and what I’m learning in school, follow me on Instagram @theopportunitarian and on my blog, The Opportunitarian.
* I feel like this resolution also applies to more than just food. With getting older, I also find myself gravitating to activities that are comfortable and known, rather than trying new things. Time to buck the trend! I also like that this resolution means that I should try to be open and curious when it comes to understanding Trump supporters and the politics of this country — something we may need a lot of in the coming years if we want to continue to make progress in the U.S.