Monday, October 09, 2006

Sometimes I wonder




Sometimes I wonder if I gave up too easy - if I should have clung to my girlish dreams of being an artist more tightly, or once I realized that my cooking got through to people better than my art, maybe I should have just kept on doing it. But once my kids were born, it seemed the most logical thing to do to go back to graduate school so I could get a real profession instead of cooking, one that paid more, was less hours, and less hard physical work where I did not come home aching at 2:30 a.m., stinking of calamari, sweat and garlic.

But I still wonder - lots of times I consider the careers of some of our current crop of foodies, who are all about the same age as me, and did a lot of the same things - Molly O'Neill cooked at a feminist restaurant, as did I, and Ruth Reichl lived in a co-op house, the same as me. But Molly's feminist restaurant was in Providence, and she worked at restaurants in Boston, and Ruth's co-op house was in Berkeley, while I have stuck in smaller towns, Pittsburgh, and Madison WI.

Though I still love to remember how, when my mother had finished Reichl's memoir, Comfort me with apples, she came downstairs and said, "Debby, this girl's life is as much of a mess as yours" - "this girl", at that time, had arguably been the most influential restaurant critic in the United States, working for the L.A. Times and New York Times, and had just become the editor in chief at Gourmet - mom was paying attention to the parts of Reichl's book about working at dirty restaurant jobs even though she had a college degree, and not being able to choose between two boyfriends.

But maybe I'd be nationally and internationally famous now, too, like Molly and Ruth, if only I had tried to make it in the big city. When I read Tony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, I just kept thinking that the restaurant biz in Madison is just not that corrupt, and there's nowhere near as much money involved - so maybe not. Or maybe, as my mom also said, it's a long life, and there's plenty of time to have several successful careers.

2 comments:

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Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Cooking is nice. It touches people.

If you want to be an artist, do that too, if you can find time, even in small ways.

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