There's no describing the joy I get from watching almost every show on my beloved Food Network. I love Alton's random ingredient explanations...
...Anthony Sedlak's energy (but not his repetitive gesticulations!) on The Main;
...and Lynn Crawford's attitude and ideas on Restaurant Makeover (this gal is currently the only female Executive Chef at Four Seasons worldwide).
Although Giada could stand to wear some less revealing tops, and could pronounce Italian ingredients without the put-on Italian accent (i.e. pan-cetta vs. pan-ce-TTa!), her cooking really is spectacular.
My favourite, though, and I don't catch this show much, is The Barefoot Contessa, with Ina Garten.
This former employee of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House stumbled across her love for creating and cooking food, as did I, and is so inspiring to me. With an inviting, genuine smile on her face, she is constantly making delicious concoctions for her friends and family, especially her hubby, Jeffrey. He often arrives home after long business trips famished, with his arrival, of course, timed precisely to coincide with the "ding!" of her oven timer, or the squeal of her stove-top kettle. She just adores him and he appears to appreciate her so much, as well. The constant look of pure enjoyment that is plastered across her face all the time is how I feel when I am in the kitchen, trying out one of Pioneer Woman's new recipes, or one of Remy's slow cooker concoctions, or flipping through my Williams-Sonoma Bride and Groom Cookbook (one of the best I have!).
I also enjoy cooking for Wayne - in fact, knowing he'll sit down to a meal I lovingly prepared is enough incentive for me start prepping dinner right after lunch. Knowing my man's tummy is satisfied makes me feel super and I really didn't know this part of me existed until I had my very own kitchen...with lots of wicked recipes to try out.
I have always known I wanted to run a B&B one day, perhaps in my "mid-life years," but part of me wonders if this is a possibility once we get posted with the Forces. My conflict would be that we are told to move every three to five years, as far as I know, so it's probably not the best idea to try and establish this type of business until Wayne retires in 25 years. Perhaps honing my baking and cooking skills over that time would benefit the business - most likely, huh?
But it feels like this creative side of me is slowly inching over onto my Type A side, the side that likes the clean kitchen with everything in its place, not the sink full of dishes and the empty pantry that results from some cooking endeavours. As much as I love organization and order, the creative outlet of creating taste has begun to take up more and more of my brain space in the last two years. The possibilities are endless (though the budget is not!) and as I discover new foods and new tastes, new doors continue to open into cuisines and cultures I've never explored! I just discovered that I LOVE asparagus! And squash! And sweet potatoes! (But don't tell my mum, because she never could get me to to eat them...) This may sound lame to others, but it's true breakthrough for me.
I don't think I could take the pressure of culinary school (it's like Boot Camp for food!) - I think of myself more as a cook than a chef. I think approaching food from an academic perspective would really ruin it for me, since for most of my life, I've lived academically (I'm a big skeptic - if you can't prove it to me, I won't believe you). Research and facts are solid truth and a safe bet - which also ties into my fear of risk-taking. (I guess you can tell a lot about someone by how they work in the kitchen!) So this newfound love for creating meals will have to remain a passion fulfilled at home for the ones I love - and perhaps this is where the most enjoyment will come from.