Food. Where do I begin? It starts somewhere between boiling salted water until it was dry just to see what would happen and staring, longingly, for hours at the glossy pages of my mother’s Betty Crocker cookbook. I’d hover around my father, working over our little white enamel gas stove throwing bits of leftover chicken, the last of the cabbage, and squirts of teriyaki sauce into a pot to turn out something comforting for us on a rainy Portland night.
In college, my palate seared after a year of suffering through carbohydrate-sprayed cafeteria lettuce, I managed to cook all my meals in a dorm room, to the marvel of my peers. “How DO you make a bean burrito?” they’d ask. “That chicken smells divine,” they’d cluck. And of course it was far from divine, it was chicken breast in a pan with some salt.
At one point I even pledged to drop-out of university to attend culinary school. But my family, lovers of higher education that they are, didn’t approve. Looking back, I’m still not sure why I’d listened.
Luck flew me to Spain for a semester abroad where a sense of adventure in eating was born. I dove into barnacles, snails, stinky cured pork hanging from the ceiling, curious wines, and a little something called saffron. I visited Greece and fell in love with gyros pita, olive oil, the darkest greens, and foraged herbs. Never had I ever loved a cheese as much as feta. The yogurt, the homemade wine, the lamb, it was all so much and yet never enough. Around and around Europe I went, sampling and tasting, cooing and coveting. My love for global cuisine was bred.
As a real adult I now live on the Big Island of Hawaii, in a whole new world of sub-tropical edible wonders. I’m passionate now about discovering and preserving Hawaiian food culture.
But I feel that I’ve reached a plateau with my culinary skills that can only be continued with a culinary education. Please help me continue along my path toward great cooking, and this time, I won’t let my family talk me out of it.
*This was my submission to the Food Network Great Food Truck Race scholarship contest in answer to the following prompt: “What cuisines are you passionate about? Explain how a scholarship from The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes could help you expand your knowledge of global cuisines.” Wish me luck.
PS: there is still time to enter if you are interested, deadline is 2/28/13.