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Monday, September 8, 2014

Food Families II

As I write this, it’s Saturday night and I’m home alone.  My husband is enjoying his delayed Father’s Day present from our daughter and they’re at the Red Sox game, if the black clouds muttering on the horizon don’t rain them out.  We’ve had our hottest days of the summer over the last week, and since we have no AC, I took refuge at the movies, to see The One Hundred Foot Journey.

I went without knowing the storyline and discovered the film featured clashing cultures, Michelin star restaurants and old family recipes.  I was sold when a few minutes into the picture one of the main characters said, “Food is memory.”  During my year-and-a-half working at a local gourmet food/cheese shop, Mary, one of the owners, used to say the same thing.  There, Robert, her chef/husband made bread pudding and corn chowder that catapulted me back to dinners elbow to elbow with my five siblings at the drop-leaf table in the kitchen where we grew up.  At the cheese shop, I'd close my eyes and moan a little at the emotions these tastes evoked.

But there’s a reason seeing this movie was right for me today.  The story is all about food and passion, and we're living some of that in our family right now.

You see, our daughter took a break from college after two years, arriving home in May of 2013, subdued and struggling.  Two days later, at age 19, she began a grown-up job, working in a well-respected seafood restaurant opening in a new location.  Hired as “line cook,” she started off making salads and desserts.  A year plus later, she’s learned so much, they place her wherever they need her.  She shucks oysters, grills, sautees, bakes, steams and deep fries.  She worked sixteen hour shifts during the restaurant opening, and later, twelve hour shifts, often for days in a row.  She’s arrived home with more burns than I care to contemplate, once with several inches of her arm scalded by blueberry compote when someone in the kitchen thought it would be funny to turn her blender on high.  She’s watched chefs get transferred, people walk off jobs, staff members arrive at work drunk or high, and she’s climbed behind the pile of dirty plates to get things moving when the dishwasher’s fallen behind.  In spite of all that (which I've come to understand can pretty much be the norm in the restaurant business), now when the place is short-staffed, she juggles two stations with competence…and self-assurance. In spite of the heart-attacks her worry-wart mama has had along the way, it’s clear as glass that via this demanding road, our daughter has grown. 

And perhaps, rediscovered herself.  At the beginning of July, she sent in an application to culinary school in Rhode Island and she's been accepted for their baking and pastry program. She’s planning to commute, and today we went down there and picked up her knife set.  By the time you read this on Monday, after a nine-to-nine shift at the restaurant the day before, she’ll  have started this next phase of her life. 
So, this post is a tribute to her.  For establishing her own path.  For learning to stand up for herself.  For gutting it out through the aching back and knees, the double shifts on Christmas, Easter and the Fourth of July.  For getting up and going to work after the nights she came home thinking she never could.  For proving to herself what she is capable of.

Here’s the truth.  Wherever her path leads, all I hope, is that this next experience helps her to know food in a way that delivers sublime memory, and that she comes to understand, as her mama always has, that preparing something delicious for those you care about is a declaration of love.

And to Tim, on our 30th wedding anniversary, I’ll cook for you any day.

Don't forget the Old Broads "Broad fest!"   Comment about your favorite "old broad" on one of our blogs by September 12, to earn a chance to win a copy of OLD BROADS WAXING POETIC. Click here for more information.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations to your daughter! I don't think you have to worry about her.
And happy anniversary.

Anonymous said...

happy anniversary and best of luck to your daughter

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

A wonderful post! And good for your daughter for finding a new direction, in her own way. Oh, and happy anniversary! :)

Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

Connie said...

Happy Anniversary to you! We celebrated #29 here this summer.

Congratulations and best of luck to your daughter in this next phase of her life. I hope it goes well for her. It sounds to me like she is a hard worker and a go-getter. I have a feeling she will do quite well.

Joanne said...

happy anniversary and kudos to your daughter. I'm proud of her from your tribute. Sounds like she's found her passion. I wish her much success. And cheers to you and your husband - you are there for support, but encouraged her growth. She'll be a better person for it. Really nice post

Robyn Campbell said...

Happy anniversary, Liza! I wish for loads of happiness and much success for your daughter. What a beautiful post, Liza. So glad she found her path.

Robin said...

So much to celebrate at your house!

First, happy anniversary.

Second, that is really wonderful news about your daughter. One of the most difficult things is KNOWING what you want to do with your life. I remember struggling with it in college and choosing just ANY major to have one. I graduated with no clear ideas about what I would be good at or want to do in the future. It took a long time to figure it out.

Seems like there should be classes in high school dedicated to actually figuring out Life Options.

Jan Morrison said...

Smart girl to figure out her path - and so lucky to have chosen good supportive parents. Happy anniversary to you two!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Happy Anniversary!

I was talking to my neighbor about the subject of food and memories. He was making flounder with a side of stewed tomatoes and I said, "Oh, wow! My mom always used to make those two things together." Good times.
Food is so social too.

Carol Kilgore said...

Awesome news about your daughter! I'd say food is her passion, and I know how proud you must be of her. San Antonio has a culinary school with a shop for things made in their bakery program. Everything is awesome.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Your daughter is bound to succeed. She found her passion, tried it out, saw all the problems and pitfalls and is now going off to perfect her craft. Congratulations to her parents for raising her well.

I just received my book, Old Broads Waxing Poetic, yesterday. It is wonderful!

Empty Nest Insider said...

I'm very excited for your daughter! It's admirable how she's worked her way up, and was accepted into such a wonderful culinary school! You have every right to also be proud of yourself for raising such a capable daughter! Happy belated anniversary!


Pixel Peeper said...

Happy anniversary to you and your husband. And congratulations to your daughter for finding what she likes. I have a feeling she will do well...restaurant work is tough work.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Jeez, how did I miss this post? It's wonderful... even brought a hint of tears to my eyes. Your daughter is bound to succeed. She's already seen first-hand what a tough road the restaurant business can be, but she's happily preparing herself to continue on that road, but on her own terms. Good for her. Good for you, too, for giving her the time and space to "find her passion."

And a belated happy anniversary to you and your hubby. (And many mooooore...)