My first experience in the kitchen was during my freshman year in College as a dishwasher. I also had to mop the dinning hall as volunteer service hour. After that year I went back home and helped my parents in the family bakery business doing some errands for them, but with little to almost none involvement in the kitchen. When I went back to College and the Head Cook asked me if I wanted to take the job of baker, I don’t know how I dared to say “yes” with no experience at all. I just told him I would need some help with the measurement system (kilo vs. pounds) to which he kindly explained and patiently taught me. He also took me to work at summer camp in the kitchen where the work-hours were really intense and where I practiced the skill of cooking and baking just about everything in the woods as an invaluable lesson. To make a long story short, in the end; I spent more time in the kitchen cooking, baking and washing dishes, pots and pans, than in any other college activity.
Sometimes, during exams period, it crossed my mind “what would it be like to be in College without having the need to work?” Looking back, I am absolutely thankful for the degree I got in education, but also for the culinary exposure and training I received all those years. I haven’t re-read many college textbooks after graduation, but over and over I find myself going back to my Cook Books looking for something new or just to my favorite recipes.
Above all, I have been able to be of use in a broader sense as a missionary-teacher in many school and church activities. Now, cooking in Bolivia is another story worthy of its own blog in another time, but for now I want to say: Cooking is a trade I did not imagine or plan to have in my curriculum vitae, but it has enhanced and enriched my life. It is a useful tool in any place, with any people and in all occasion. Many good things I enjoy start with “F”: Faith, Family, Friends, Fun, Flowers, Friday, Food and even Failure is good if we learn from it.
Finally, according to this quote, I have to gain some weight to be a “trustworthy” cook.
Fondly dedicated to Dean Dover and Pete Landis, the best cooks and bosses ever!