Though there was one "DON'T" that I heard alot when I was younger that I actually did take to heart. Growing up in Maryland I, along with everyone else in my family, frequently worked at the private club in D.C. that my Grandfather managed. We prepared and served the food for lunches and private parties hosted by Washington's elite. I loved working there because it was true quality time with my family, I liked to cook, and extra money was always welcomed in my broke teenage pocket.
Though every time I worked, my Grandmother would say: "April, make sure you get your education and get a good job. DON'T end up like your Grandfather and I." When I asked why I shouldn't end up like them she answered: "You don't want to be in your sixties getting up everyday and having to work on your feet, wash dishes, and cook for other people's parties. You want to get a nice office job with a salary so that you can become the one throwing the parties and enjoying your weekends."
I must admit, all of this made sense. I knew back then that working in a kitchen was exhausting, backbreaking work. And I always had dreams of becoming an educator and working with young people in the classroom. I never had dreams of making the big bucks but I was ready for a modest lifestyle that made an impact. SO I LISTENED TO GRANDMA! I made her very proud when I received not just my Bachelors but my Masters in Education, putting me in a position to be successful and to never have to work in the kitchen again.
BUT....here I am, 26 years old, living in New York City, a 6th grade teacher in Harlem, working with amazing kids and amazing teachers. But most of the time, the place that I want to be more than anyplace else is in the kitchen. It appears that somehow, cooking, which was always in my blood, has become my #1 hobby and the source of alot of joy in my life. And now true to form, I am planning on doing exactly what I was told NOT to do. I have aspirations to someday be a chef, cookbook author, and open and run my own family restaurant. Thus keeping me in the kitchen.
I am not sure if this would be disappointing to Grandma. Though I believe in my heart that it would make her proud because when I look back on the time I spent with her and my Grandfather in the kitchen, they may have been tired but I know they were both happy. My Grandpa was in his element making most of the food (he is an amazing cook!) and my Grandmother loved the time spent with family in the kitchen. Like her mother before her, she used the kitchen as a place for family and friends to be together, work together, and support one another in times of need. I know that it was hard work but I know it made her happy and I hope that in the long run, my quest for happiness, in the kitchen or otherwise, won't be lost on her.
So this is the background...now it's time to begin this so called "quest for happiness." I hope you all will join me.