I think every one of us and some stage or another in our lives has undergone a transformation of sorts; whether it be emotional, physical, work related or whatever has rocked your world. I know I certainly have. In fact, I’ve had several transformations, as I suspect, have you. This has possibly been one of the most traumatic and terrifying years of my life, but it has been a year that has also given me so much. And for that I’m grateful.
I’ve always known that the kitchen is my happy place. It’s the space in which I can create exactly what I want. It might take me several attempts (refer to previous blog on the whiskey marmalade fiasco), but it’s my flavours that are filling those bottles. I don’t have any brides or corporate client’s bitching about seating plans and floral arrangements. In the kitchen, it is just me, my pots and pans, my imagination and of course, my late dad’s kitchen knife.
I wasn’t always a success in the kitchen, in fact I was quite disastrous. I grew up in the hotel industry for goodness sake and the kitchen was a phone call away. Dinner used to arrive on a tray and I had no say in what I was being served. To this day I cannot eat Chicken Maryland – it’s that whole fried banana thing. No thanks. When I was still dating my ex-husband, he got fed tuna pasta every time he came for dinner. It was the only thing I new how to cook, and that’s because a lady I worked with felt sorry for me and gave me her recipe. The first time I ever cooked rice, I put the entire packet in the pot…did the same thing with the spaghetti. I remember one night I was having a date come over for dinner. I had no clue where to even begin. I phoned my father (landline darlings. Cellphones had not even been invented yet), and he talked me through the entire process. We stayed on the line the entire time the chicken was roasting and veggies were cooking. I will never forget this as long as I live. Of course, he did have to tell me to switch the oven on at the wall first…
Besides my dad’s knife set (which is older than I am, and I’m going to be 50 in two weeks time), I also inherited his ability to imagine what I wanted something to taste like. However, this little talent only surfaced later in life, but surface it did and it is allowing me to create some really exciting flavours with my bottled goods.
This past weekend, we were selling at our favourite market in Hazyview and a woman strolled passed. We got chatting and she’s on holiday from the UK. She sampled my Ceracha sauce and gave me a really odd look. She then said “this is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted”. When somebody has that kind of a reaction to something that you have made…there are no words to describe that feeling. And yes, she bought a bottle. Another lady visited my stall and after sampling said “I’ll take one of everything.” A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine bought a bottle of my whiskey marmalade for her hubby. She informed me that he is a marmalade aficionado and would give me feedback. I thought I was going to puke I was so neurotic! You know what? He loved it. In fact, he came and bought two bottles at the market on Friday night.
It’s those little nuggets of love and appreciation that mean the absolute world to me. When it’s been a hard day, when I’m feeling less than capable and doubting every decision I make, it’s those words that bring me back to myself and it’s those words that give me the courage to peel another orange or dice a mountain of garlic.
As terrifying as this journey is, it’s one I’m taking and it’s taken with every step in faith. Life is too short not to follow your bliss.