Before there was the P.O. there was the business of cooking.
I could write volumes on both experiences (and I probably will) but this morning as I packed that Express Mail envelope containing my retirement papers, I drew a long relieved breath in and then let it out.
Simple. Just breathe.
I’ve been consumed with worry over this process. Too many nights tossing and turning, attacked by questions. It’s like the questions themselves are weapons against the soft reassurance of sleep. But it’s over now. My application for retirement is in the mail. On the way. Out of my control.
35 more work days.
So. The business of cooking. I had a great resume: Hyatt Regency Minneapolis to Seattle Sheraton to the Bellevue Hilton. What I lacked in talent, I made up in title. Pantry Chef to Chef de Garde manger to Executive Chef.
Garde manger (“keeper of the food” in French) at the Sheraton, opened my life to so many things. I learned to make a perfect dessert souffle’ ( “to breathe” in French) and a perfect Sauce Anglaise to finish. I made a mean Warm Brie dressing over greens and with medallions of tenderloin. I simmered thirty pound octopus and gently peeled the steaming hot knuckle-size tentacles. I squeezed the ink out of squid and shucked hundreds of Kumamoto oysters. I was fortunate to make beautiful food.
At the Bellevue Hilton I was in the presence of culinary giants. Talented people who made me look good every day. I didn’t get to cook a lot then, but I got to cook what I loved. Soup. Minestrone, Carrot-Orange, Clam Chowder, Potato Leek and my personal favorite, French Onion (and for this, you must use fine cognac … nothing else will do).
As I walked around today I let my thoughts drift to brighter corners. No more worry. No more stress. Today was all about soup. As my schedule frees up in November, I am determined to step back into the steamy days of chopping and slicing and simmering. Summer into fall and fall into winter. It will be the perfect transition. Chlodnik to beef noodle to my spicy Minestrone. And maybe I’ll even chase down the recipe I had for Puppy’s Breath Chili ! Perfection in a bowl.
Ready to trade my commute for supper and soup. If you have a good recipe, I’d love to hear about it ! Thank you for reading. I’m not sure how this shifting of gears will go, but I am grateful beyond measure for your company ♡