Welcome to my life…. by Nancy Brophy
A couple of months ago, three of my writing friends and I were driving to Washington state. I casually mentioned that I was not a food snob. Jessa Slade from the rear seat fake-coughed and I distinctly heard the word, “bullsh*t” underneath. And much as I hate to admit it in this one instance, Jessa is correct.
Hello, my name is Nancy and I am a food snob in a town of foodie people.
I’m not saying you can’t have a bad meal in Portland, but this a serious food town. There is not one, but four dueling culinary schools in greater Portland and Vancouver. Not to mention everybody offers weekend and evening cooking classes. My husband will come to your home and teach you and your friends how to cook. Trendy food carts, and there are hundreds of them in clusters all over town, serve diverse, excellent meals.
Fresh, local, sustainable. If you don’t hear those words daily, you don’t live here.
But I didn’t learn I was a food snob in Portland. I learned it when I was crossing the Panama Canal and was feeling a bit peevish. Nothing on the lunch menu of the cruise ship sounded like what I wanted. (I know that sentence makes me sound like a snot, but haven’t we all been there?)
The waiter offered a white asparagus salad. I love white asparagus. Did I mention I live in a foodie town? Did I mention my husband grows asparagus in our backyard? Do I need to tell you how appalled I was when the white asparagus salad used canned asparagus and iceberg lettuce?
My mother was a terrible cook and proud of it. She believed her mother was the world’s best cook. I would agree my grandmother was a creative cook. She pioneered fudge as hors d’ oeuvres, but when you live in a small town in central Nebraska, your ingredient options are limited. My mother cooked dishes like chili without chili powder, beef stew without flour, yum-yum (which wasn’t) and an appalling dish called tomato soup salad, which had chunks of Velveeta, celery and halved pimento-stuffed olives suspended in murky red gelatin. These dishes figure prominently in my nightmares.
My siblings and I learned to cook in self-defense. However, growing up in a small Texas oil boomtown, the wide range of culinary experience eluded us.
Studies show that around the age of thirty-five humans stop trying new things. For me that hasn’t been true. If I had quit new things at thirty-five here’s what would be missing from life:
- I wouldn’t understand computers and social networking
- I wouldn’t have gone to Culinary School
- I wouldn’t have moved to Denver and then found my way to Portland
- I wouldn’t have met and married my husband
- I wouldn’t have owned a catering company.
- I wouldn’t have become a writer
- I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
The writers I know are like me. They tackle life everyday regardless of whether they are 21 or 81. In fact the most adventurous tend to be well over 50. We are not our mothers. We believe, right or wrong, we can have it all. For many of us that is a life goal.
What is your life goal? Is that the path you seek or is that the path you’re on?