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?


Posted on January 13, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. > you rarely see an older lion eating sushi


    Literally my only memories of food during my early-post-collegiate years are hot dogs, nachos and mint brownies. Thank God I met a boy who cooks! He doesn’t bake though. I think he needs to learn so his brain doesn’t atrophy. Nancy, I’ll tell him you said so. Thanks!


    • It’s kind of interesting that of the writers who replied, pubbed and pre-pubbed, how many of them said – I met a man who cooks. What does that tell you about us as a group?

      Jessa Slade writes urban fantasy books for NAL. Her newest release, Darkness Undone is being released in March.

      Her tag line is: Loves conquers all … which explains the scars.

      The coolest tag line ever.


  2. As a fellow Portlander, I laughed my way through this post, Nancy! I enjoy your sense of humor!

    I love to try new things and so does my husband (and yes, we’re over fifty and I’m a writer.) In fact, for his birthday I bought him scuba lessons. Now our spare room is a dive locker. 🙂
    I want to try ballooning this summer.

    I’m a so-so cook, but my husband is amazing! (Lucky me)


    • Sarah – I always say when you are married to a chef or any man who is a really good cook it means 10 lbs a year. The first year is fun. The fifth year is OMG, I have to diet.


  3. Canned asparagus and iceberg lettuce are tools of the devil. ‘Nuff said.


  4. My immediate goal in life is to finish my work in progress. My personal goal date is Feb 16th. I love a good meal, out or in. I always tell my husband his spaghetti is better than mine! Great post!


  5. I don’t trust studies. Can it really be true that most people stop trying new things after 35? My kids are both in college now and my plan is to ‘let the new adventures begin.’


    • Not only did they site that study for humans, but showed it held true in the animal as well. For example, you rarely see an older lion eating sushi.

      Tammy Patton is the power behind the throne. Not only is she a romance writer, she is responsible for Night Owl Romance, one of the largest review sites on the web.


  6. I come from a family of food snobs (restaurateurs and caterers), and I LOVED the food at the events you catered. I also love the way you write about Portland’s food community! I could go for a second helping, please 😀


  7. I love that your a food snob. Now I know who to ask for restaurant recommendations. You are an amazing cook! Everything I’ve tried from you has been great. And I’m so glad you like to try new things.


    • Thank you, Terri, but I have to confess if you’ve had my food, it was probably cooked by my husband.

      Terri Reed is an award winning author with Harlequin Love Inspired is currently on a blog tour for her new release, The Secret Heiress.


  8. My life goal? Independence! Not from the people in my life, whom I love almost unwaveringly, but from circumstances that control what I do with each day. I love writing and most of what that entails. i want to do more of it 🙂


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