Well, whaddya know! I’m a full-time chef! I’m up to my ears in food day in and day out. I’m managing a staff that puts out mise en place like a well-oiled machine, while saying “yes, chef” with a smile (at least to my face!) I’m cooking in pans the size of a manhole cover. When I drive home after a day’s work, I can smell the food on my hands as they clutch the steering wheel during rush hour traffic, even though I’ve washed them dozens of times during the day, and gone through dozens of plastic gloves. We are feeding around 250-300 people a day, with healthy “from scratch” cooking using whole, fresh foods—not your usual college dining fare. Harvest, located inside the gorgeous new state-of-the-art research facility that houses the NJ Institute for Food, Nutrition & Health on Rutgers University’s Cook Campus is, if you listen to our growing group of fans and regulars, fast becoming a “must-dine” destination for faculty, staff and students across the Rutgers’ campuses.
Without sounding like a brat, can I just say that I miss putzing around my old sun-lit kitchen, spending a few hours making a dish, composing the perfect plate of it, dragging it over to the window or the sliding glass door to capture the best light, then taking dozens of pictures with a real camera to capture it in all it’s deliciousness. After which I would sit quietly at my kitchen table and eat the damn thing because, dammit, I worked up an appetite and I earned it. Maybe that day, or the next, I’d sit down to reflect and write about that luxurious experience in my kitchen, what it reminded me of and what it made me feel.
I’ve been careful not to dwell on what I miss about my life before the big D. It’s not the best place to go when you are trying to focus on moving forward, moving on, letting go, being in the moment and being grateful for what “is.” The words “I miss…” threatens always to pull me into a backwards turning whirlpool that will suck me down to the depths of hyped and hyberbolic nostalgia faster than flushing toilet.
In that spirit, I want to say how grateful I am for my life, job, children, friends and family that make up my life as it is right now! In the last two years I’ve done things, felt feelings, and faced obstacles that I couldn’t have imagined I’d have to deal with. These experiences have made me grow as a woman, a mother and a friend. I’m starting to recognize my old self again, while being introduced to a new me at the same time. I may not be doing savory & sweet little projects in my sun-lit kitchen anymore, but I am doing some really interesting food at Harvest, playing with food on a larger stage, and I would like to share some of those healthy, hearty and delicious recipes with you here.
And I’d like to share a new project with you as well. Food Fix Wear.
This is a project I’ve thought about doing for a long time and finally have found the resources and time to launch it. I’m starting small, but have plans to grow it with more designs and products. From the Food Fix Wear website:
“At Food Fix Wear our designs have messages that inspire and satisfy your hunger for self expression. We celebrate food, cooking, cooks (home and pro) and the culture of the kitchen, which has many life lessons to teach us. While peeling carrots, whisking cream or grating cheese you can learn a lot about what makes you hungry in life, and what feeds and satisfies your mind, body and spirit.”
Just in time for the holidays (and a gift idea for that foodie in your life), I’ve launched my three original designs under a collection called “Kitchen Wisdom”. You may recognize these designs from my temporary tattoos that I posted a while back. I’ve given out hundreds (and they’ve been pinned on Pinterest by thousands of people) of these temporary tattoos, particulary to kids in my classes and cooking parties and I always thought these icons would make great t-shirts or look great on an apron or dish towels. So now, Food Fix Wear is the start of something I hope will grow with more Kitchen Wisdom designs, as well as with another collection I’m calling “Food is Good”:
“These designs will feature and celebrate the foods we love, the “food fix” that makes the world seem delicious. Whether you crave brown rice or brownies, chicken fingers or frogs legs you’ll find a design that will speak your “food fix” truth. The Food Is Good collection will let you express your appetite for life and wear your food fixes proudly!”
Thanks! Next post: My son’s beautiful Napa Valley wedding and an Ad Hoc recipe!
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