This is my first (somewhat) non-food-related post in a while. Non-food-related in that I’m not talking about a specific thing I made and/or created and sharing the recipe, but more about how I got into this in the first place…
It was 6 years ago today when, after an already stressful sophomore year of college, I fell out with someone I thought was a close friend of mine. That’s really neither here nor there, or the point of this post either. As far as I’m concerned that was a short-term friendship that in the grand scheme of things wasn’t meant to last and was meant to be more of a life lesson than a blessing. That’s not to say that it didn’t shake me up. Rejection, especially by someone you were once close to and cared a lot about, is very tough. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the whole situation didn’t have me depressed for quite some time. The thing is, during this period, (and I’ll admit I’ve done this for the better part of my life, even in childhood) I turned to food for comfort. However, instead of turning to my usual Haagen Dazs binge, I discovered Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa), Rachael Ray, Giada deLaurentiis, Julia Child (thanks to YouTube) and (a pre-disgraced) Paula Deen. See, while I was sulking in bed over this huge dent in my social life, I watched a lot of Food Network. It also coincided with the year in college where I moved off campus into an apartment with a friend of mine, and had to cook for myself because we were off the meal plan on campus. And the stuff I saw Ina, Paula, Giada, Rachael, and countless others cook on their respective shows looked pretty damn good. And everything they made was attainable. But it looked and tasted like stuff you’d get from a restaurant. See, up until this point, the most “advanced” thing I’ve ever made was probably baked chicken breasts and vegetables on the side. But since I’m going to have to do this on my own and my mom won’t be there to do the cooking for me, I may as well learn how to actually cook myself.
So I actually picked up a lot of skills during my “depression”. It wasn’t like I had much to do with my life, except go to class, and later that junior year, pledge meetings. By the end of my junior year of college, I had gone from my best dish being “okay” scrambled eggs to knowing how to make muffins several different ways with the same basic batter (thanks also in part to all those bake sales) and making a juicy and tender pot roast…WITH WINE, and even somewhat complex dishes like Coq au Vin, which I now feel like I can make in my sleep. A hobby was born.
The point here is this: Even a bad situation can lead to something good and life changing. For all I know, my love for food and cooking could turn into a side hustle or even a full-time gig. As a matter of fact, I’m looking into ways I can do just that. Like Iyanla Vanzant says, “The truth will set you free. But you must endure the labor pains of birthing that truth.” Sometimes bad things happen to good people. In fact, as sad as it is to say, I think most of the bad things in the world happen to good people. It’s how you handle yourself in the face of adversity that helps you build character.