Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Makes YOU Tick?

This morning I am thinking of all the reasons I love cooking as a profession. I was going to say "cooking for a living" but then realized I am not really making a living as the line cook wages I've been getting are barely covering my car payment, insurance premiums and utilities. I am, however, hoping that one day in the not too distant future I'll reap the rewards for the sacrifices I am making in the present day.

This rainy morning, can there be anything more comforting than turning on the fireplace in the kitchen, maybe putting a pot of soup on the stove and curling up with a book as the soup simmers and the fire crackles?

Food has always been so comforting to me and of all the jobs out there I can't see myself doing anything different now that I've discovered how happy I am in a kitchen. Michael Ruhlman, in a passage from his book "The Making of a Chef", wrote: "I have no doubt that there are people in this world, toiling away, in offices and backhoes alike, who are fundamentally unhappy because they never tried working in kitchens."

The work is monotonous though, aside from being physical, so you have to really like it, deep down. It has to be in your blood or you can't do it. It has to be bordering on obsession, almost like a border collie is obsessed with herding sheep.

I cannot tell you how many times I have to make a caesar salad, for example, during lunch or dinner service. It's become the easiest thing to do, and I am happy to see it on the order chit as I am quick at it and I am able to save precious moments that I might need to spend on a different dish. On a busy night I probably make around 30 caesars, both as a side dish, a small or a large portion, if not more. How can I still like it? I love it though. I love it infinitely more than making the same phone call, over and over, like I did when I was an insurance adjuster. "Hi, how are you? I am calling to let you know your vehicle is a total loss. A write-off." And then proceed to explain the steps that one would need to follow during their insurance claim. Phone call after phone call after phone call. Really, I'd rather make caesar, after caesar, after caesar, for half the pay!

Tell me, what do YOU do for a living, and do YOU still enjoy it? What would make you tick, if you could do anything?!

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