I am sitting back in my dorm room at the CIA trying to cram for my first quiz in Introduction to Gastronomy with little success. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the subject matter and the Chef Instructor that teaches the course. I am just tired of reading about browning reactions, taste vs. flavor and the myriad of other things associated with cuisine. So as I sit in my PJs with the TV in the background, I am thinking that maybe I am approaching my time at the CIA incorrectly. Maybe, I should be looking at my time here less about a holistic experience involving fueling my passion for food with my thirst for knowledge. Rather, maybe I should be spending less time comparing my time here with my experiences at Stanford and more about what brings me here at this moment in time.
I applied to the CIA to become a food writer and stylist. I love beautiful things and think the way food is presented is as important if not more so, then how it tastes. In fact, in my Intro to Gastronomy class, we learned that people tend to evaluate food in the following order: (1) smell, (2) sight, (3) temperature, (4) texture and lastly (5) taste. So the adage is true that we eat with our eyes before our mouths. I mention this because in a small way that tidbit of information that was buried in my notes as I reviewed for my exam, made me feel better about last week.
I think part of discomfort with last week was intimidation. I didn’t see anyone like myself. There is safety in numbers. There is comfort with the norm. The students here all wanted to be in a kitchen or own their own restaurant(s). I don’t want either of those. I want to be a food writer and food stylist. Anyone that knows me understands that I love pretty things….heck, just look at the postings on this blog. Over half of my posts relate to design and decor. The fact that I felt in the fringe about my career trajectory made me doubt whether I was at the right place to achieve my goals. I still am not 100% sure of that, but I do know that there isn’t anything to be afraid of if this isn’t the right fit. I put too much stake in finding a perfect fit. I was (and am) a huge part of my own unhappiness. Every one of my friends who have obtained higher or second degrees all have said that their programs were not perfect fits. They just found their own niche and worked at expanding it during their time there. And that is what I need to do starting now.
So new week. New hair cut. New attitude. So let’s rewind and see what Week 2 at the CIA has to offer.
Ok, back to cramming for the quiz tomorrow. And if someone (who isn’t at the CIA) can name me the three types of food browning reactions, I will send them a box of homemade fleur de sel caramels.