Thoughts on a Train

Food can be the simplest and also the most deeply interesting parts of our lives. Sound cliché? Yes, but it's as true as the paper I'm writing this on. Oh wait. Seeing as I'm writing this on my blackberry while waiting for the Washington DC Metro to take me to work, this is certainly not paper, and I certainly get the feeling that I'm going to have to work quite a bit harder to prove my point.

Now that the train is moving and I'm standing, holding on for dear life, I can only imagine this becoming even more challenging.

I'm here in DC not even two months into my first real job. Less than a few months removed from my old life as a student and ball of stress in Michigan, I have new and bittersweet feelings about life. Stress? Out the door. I mean I have a job -- in my life that's when the stress ends! But the old life in the flexible and ever changing atmosphere I grew accustomed to as I plowed through my grad school at Michigan is also gone forever. Let's say I'm adjusting.

As I am finding out, when you start your career, people constantly want to know what you actually WANT to be doing with your life, as if the current thing couldn't be further from your hopes. Inevitably, I've been asked this at least 5 times in the past month. After receiving the look of horror from my co-worker when I told her that I always thought Human Resources would be fun for a few months, I thought I would redeem myself by telling her the truth. I told her being a chef or a writer. This returned the previous smile to her face, and she went on to bash HR as a profession to the rest of the present company.

The next week I met a super nice young guy in New York City (a friend of a friend) and as we chatted, he asked me the same question verbatim. Hoping not to invoke the same reactions as at work, I gave him the latter response. Being enthusiastic and creative, he immediately said, "why not do both? Be a food critic! Write about what you eat." How novel was this? A light went off for me: how fun would THAT be? As I thought about it more, I knew I wasn't going to change careers anytime soon (contrary to the last 2 paragraphs, I actually like my job). And the thought of a Bon Apetit or New York Times type food critic seemed too elitist and structured and perhaps most importantly, hated by the world. I am a food creator and food lover at heart. I would always favor the side of the creator, wanting to understand the motivations and culture behind a dish equally as much as the styles and techniques.

Food impresses me. World cultures are built around cuisine, and many people derive entertainment and pleasure from eating at restaurants and cooking for friends and family. But at the same time, food is as simple as the bowl of cereal I had for breakfast today. It is the building block of every day for every person on earth. We are healthy or unhealthy based upon what we eat, and it affects all of us the same and all of us differently at the same time. A complex system of tastes and temperatures and textures that can make our mouths water, make us sweat, make us gag, make us sick, make us healthy, make us happy, make us sleepy, get us in the mood, inspire us, amaze us and enlighten us. It drives our bodies, drives our days, drives our lives and drives entire cultures. Yet it's so simple.

Through my own story and my own eating adventures at home, cooking and in restaurants, trying, combined with those recipes and experiences of my friends and family and even people I've never met -- like you -- I hope to write about food through the lens of lives. And so woven will be my Auto-Foodography.

Please always feel free to send me recipes, restaurants and stories that you love or that characterize your love. I'll try them out and post what I love about them!

Six shaky stops later, I’m at my station. I should probably put this device away and start rushing toward my day.

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