I work at a company that encourages learning, not just in the traditional sense, not just related to what our company does on a daily basis.
The person in charge of coordinating these "camps" wandered into my office on a Wednesday afternoon and asked me, "if you had to talk about something for 10 minutes, what would it be". After I confirmed it did not have to be work related, I immediately said, "cooking". Specifically, 5 meals for 5 days and how to survive the supper work week without takeout. He made a "hmmmm interesting" kinda noise and left. Ten minutes later he was back and said, "okay, you are up, you will talk about that for ten minutes... on Friday". Ack! Well, needless to say I told him the next day that that wasn't enough prep time :), and did it two weeks later at the next scheduled session. And did I have fun! I did a ten minute talk on pantry basics, food prep on the weekend, my LOVE of cooking, and staying sane and avoiding take-out during the week with my family of five and hearing "what's for supper Mom?" every day when I walk in the door. Then I showed the staff how to have supper on the table in ten minutes, with a little prep and a glass of red wine, I demo'd chicken quesadilla and a mixed green salad with cucumber and tomato and vinagrette dressing, (Well, I bought the dressing, but normally I would make my own :) and really felt like I made a true difference to a lot of the people in attendance.
I learned a long time ago that preparation and organization is what saves you. In the beginning, when it was just me and my son, we ate a lot of KD and grilled cheese sandwiches! Still a favorite, don't get me wrong, but that's all I knew how to do. I thought cooking was for other people, who had actual time and cooking talent! I married a chef four years later and he opened up a whole new world for me, he brought out the natural cook in me. He has now retired from that career path and moved to carpentry, and when he phased out, I jumped in, with both feet!
My dream is to have my own place, not a restaurant, I don't want to do that. I want to have a little shop, a little mercato, a market in the true sense of the word. I want to create the things I love and know others will love, and have them come in and be able to pick those dishes up for supper with their family, dishes cooked slowly and with love, to be served in their homes and on to their table. Bistro style, my place. A few tables... to sit and enjoy a great cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun or a piece of quiche and a glass of red wine. Fresh pastas and sauces, spanakopita, empanadas, Beef bourguignon (it's so much better the second time you heat it!), cheeses, dressings, pies, desserts, wines, specialty products... oh I could go on and on and on!!!!!! I would like to hold classes for people who want to learn how to let go of "I can't cook" and have some fun. I want to show people how to pair their wines with their food, and how to enjoy cooking as much as eating. Educate people on the value of slow cooking, the value to sitting down with your family at meal time, to reconnect. And if life is to busy to do that on your own, that's where my place would come in :).
Our town has a wonderful little place called the Smokehaus. Such an amazing experience every time I walk through the door, and I never tire of going there. Our local "corner store" has a small but very decent wine selection. Last week, I noticed that a new coffee house has opened up at the end of the main strip, but with little advertising, it doesn't really stand out. I will have to stop in there sooner than later, but they need to let the town know there are there! We have a wonderful bakery, makes the best bread! But other than that, our town boasts little in the way of quaint and does not make us a hot spot for people to drive out to from the City. I know we can change that. We need to bring in local businesses, artisans, a place like mine :). Apparently, we have a farmer's market, but I've never seen it! I have called the town office, (okay, it's now officially a City, but I can't call it that :), and always get really vague information on it. What!!!!!! We should be promoting that! We should be bringing in the local vendors to display and sell, and support our TOWN!!!!!! It's not just about increasing the population, we need to give the people that live there more, more culture, more choice, without having to run to the City to get it.
Having my own place comes strong commitment and a lot of hard work. Which I am not afraid of! But, right now, my priority is my family and with a young family, these plans need to be put on hold. Not completely on hold! I am always scheming and planning. I have a friend who is an amazing business woman and photographer, she is going to help me get a local presence known. She is one of my biggest fans :).
My dream. My zen place. It will happen.