Fall. Usually by now I have posted a long, contemplative post about my favorite season of cooking and well, just being. This fall has been different. For one, the weather has been most unfall-like until today when we awoke to glittering frost on the grass. Secondly, we are moving, not really by choice. Let’s just say after Keifel lost his job last year, we tried to work with the bank and let’s just say that the bank are [insert your expletive of choice here]s. We found them most uncooperative and now we are moving across town to a slightly bigger house with a better street, better neighbors and and all around groovy, rental vibe. It’s not the best way to spend my favorite holiday/season/birthday, but it is what it is. The kitchen of said rental is purple and since our appliances and accessories are black and red, we will be painting it a lovely, neutral tan to avoid that whole bordello look.
In the midst of the madness that is packing up four people (Keifel’s daughter Ishara is with us for a few months), two cats, 1500-odd books; including multiple hundreds of cookbooks; and a small arsenal of kitchen batterie, I have had a catering on the schedule for a few months that I am hopeful will go off without a hitch tomorrow night. The menu is very autumnal and not too complicated except for one item. I’ll let you guess which that is. The plan is as follows: black bean and saffron masa tamales, apple and goat cheese tartlets, roasted pumpkin and hazelnut pesto bites, cheddar and chutney finger sandwiches, brownies and lemon bars. Most of it is easily prepared ahead food, then there’s the tartlets, which are not easily prepared ahead because they are on a puff base that will wilt like cut flowers in a hot summer car. I am happy to do it as it is for friends, but as it turns out it is my last catering gig for the foreseeable future.
Yes, I’m hanging up my apron for a bit. I’m still planning to do cookies and desserts for folks but event catering is just not working out for me. It’s clearer and clearer to me that you pretty much have to go big or go home. I’m not really interested in going big. It’s a ton of overhead and hassle and licenses and permits and health department regulations and on and on. Doing the small stuff doesn’t ever really cover the cost and I almost always end up losing money or my sanity. Plus, a very wise woman, also know as the Cajun Scorpio Girl, said something offhand that got me to thinking. Actually, she said two things. First thing was that I was doing what I wanted to be doing more than anyone else she knew. I do think she’s right but I don’t think I saw it that way because what I wanted to be doing wasn’t exactly lucrative in any way that made it sustainable. The second thing she said was that perhaps I was chasing the tiger too hard. I think I know what she meant, but what I realized is that it wasn’t so much that I was chasing the tiger too hard as it was that I am chasing too many tigers. There’s the teaching tiger, the catering tiger, the food-writing tiger, and the “Oh-my-god-I-have-to-do-something-that-makes-some-money-so-we-don’t-starve” tiger.
Now, let’s look at these tigers objectively, all penned up together like a weird, Seussian cross-section of Victoria’s brain. Which of these things do I love, which do I do out of duty and which do I do out of habit? Good questions all, and I will get back to you on an answer. The other question is which of these things are preventing me from doing what I really want to do? The easy one is the catering. I hang on to stuff and utilize time which could be put in the service of more writing and perhaps more working for the man to actually earn a buck as needed. Stepping back from catering right now feels like a step forward, if you see my point. I don’t know if it’s forever. I do know I need to do this for my sanity. It also doesn’t mean I won’t ever “cook big” again. But, maybe it’s for a party I’m giving or for family or as a volunteer. And those are all things I love and have very different pressures. Anyway, after all that navel gazing, it feels like the right thing.
So, it means I should try to write more. That is the tiger I want to be chasing. I will also be chasing the “OMG…money” tiger for a few months as I go back to a 3-jobs life to get us over the hump. Not my idea of a party and definitely not the way I would spend my favorite season of the year given all the choices that might be, but, again, it is what it is and I am lucky the three jobs involve working with folks I really like and doing things which don’t make me want to throw myself down a well at the end of the day. I’m willing to run with it for the time being.
I have again managed to write almost a whole post which only tangentally skims the surface of “food writing.” Maybe I have created a new genre, ha, or not. I have actually been cooking (there’s proof below). I made some Hallowe’en cookies for delivery today which made me awfully happy.
Everyone needs a little Cthulu-lookin’ octopus in their lives.
Getting a teeny script tip has made all the difference on these gravestone cookies.
My fave of this batch. I was especially pleased with the eyes.
So, yes there was cookie making and tomorrow there will be catering and then Halloween there will be watching of Metropolis with Keifel and a decadent popcorn treat and then next week there is my birthday and moving. And after all that? More writing, one hopes. Wish me luck, or at least goad me if you don’t see more words here soon. Apparently, I need some assistance to light a fire under my own ass.