Wednesday, February 15, 2006

question of the week: what's your, "I wonder what if..?"

I was talking with someone this morning and my, I've always wondered what if, came up.

I'm not big on regrets and I don't know that I really have any, but I do have one, I wonder what if.

Mine would have to do with not going to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY when I was 20.

It was an incredibly arduous acceptance process. If memory serves it took almost 18 months. I had to quit my one cooking job to get another more "restaurant" type job. I had to write letter after letter and application after application and work at the new job for X amount of time before the school would even talk to me, have my boss write a letter of recommendation. After jumping, skipping and begging like a dog through all of their hoops, I was finally accepted in March, 1995.

I was to leave in April. I had two weeks to get funding, pack and move. When the school called to confirm my acceptance, out of nowhere I heard the words, "No, I'm not going." Come out of my mouth.
When I hung-up the phone I stood in my parent's kitchen in stunned disbelief. What had I just done? It was right before my 21st birthday and what had I just done to my future?

It has obviously all worked out and all turned out for the best. One big reason I wouldn't have been able to go regardless of the words that came forth from my mouth that day, I didn't qualify for financial aid. At that time the tuition was over $40k for one year and it was an 18 month program. I lived at home and they took my parents income into consideration even though they weren't supporting me.
The other reason it worked out, within a few weeks I found a lump in my left breast and I discovered I had pre-cancerous tissue on my cervix, all within days of each other.

Four days after my 21st birthday I was having the pre-cancerous cells removed and about a week after that I had the lump removed.

I went back to college that fall and continued in the restaurant biz for a few years off and on.
I still love to cook and love to make a mess in the kitchen. The sign of a good cook? How big of a mess they make.

However, every now and again I will wonder what if. What if I had gone to live in New York when I was 21, gone to the CIA, where would I be now?

Again, I am absolutely happy where I am now. This is just my one what if....

Anyway, that was a really long story to get to the question of, so what is your what if moment?


Jay said...

I am slowly, but surely falling madly in lust with you!

I applied for CIA when I was 25. The 40k a year tuition was quite a shock to me as well. I love to cook. I began cooking at 20 having no clue what I was doing. I took an intro class for a culinary arts program at a community college in Illinois,(Elgin C.C., which has one of the best two year culinary arts programs in the country.)

As far as "I wonder what if..." let me get back to you on that one. ;)

Party Girl said...

ah, thanks! (winks and blushes)

The $40k was a bit much. I can't imagine what it would be now.

I was always in the kitchen doing something when I was growing up, however I really "discovered" my love for cooking with a job I was working at 18. I was the supervisor in a kitchen and had free range to mix, bake, stir, tweek, and explode whatever I could come up with. Good times.

ever thought of pursueing the culinary path?

me? I've gone back and forth with it and I have a strange addiction to the Food Network, however too many restuarants have gone belly-up on me and too many flaky chefs for me to give it any more serious thought.

Jay said...

Right now my goal is stability. Restaurants are anything but. (I've mosty waited tables but have done everything involved in running a restaurant. Though, admittedly, that was years ago.) I've been researching for one of my passions, chocolate, and how to make chocolate from scratch, as in from bean to candy bar. Several of the local chocolatiers here in Madison have gone to the same online chocolate-making school and are good at it. One guy here actually trained in Europe and makes some of the best chocolate I've ever had. (makes Godiva taste like a fucking Snickers bar!) Markus Candinas of Candinas Chocolates is his name. I would love to learn from him, but I can't be in the same room with Markus for more than 5 minutes without wanting to kill him. He's a pompous prick. But he makes the best.

Someday, my dear. Someday.

Party Girl said...

I bet you'd be amazing making chocolate. also stole my inner dork for tomorrow, the history of chocolate. you're quick like a bunny.....