Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inconsistency seems to be one of my strong points.

I've moved. Again. Pittsburgh official.

Worked my way through Anthony's and saved up enough to drive a twenty-four foot moving truck through the eastern end of Appalachia. Maryland to Indiana to Pittsburgh. I listened to country radio the whole way up and teared up several times. Whether it was songs I hadn't heard since I was nine years old in the backseat of a minivan or the fact that I was finally going somewhere, my eyes didn't stay dry too long. I felt so proud and free and excited. I stopped on a hill in rural western PA and had a picnic of an apple, some cheese and fresh basil and realized that I could do whatever I wanted in that moment.

Moving in took about forty-five minutes total. I'm a lucky gal: after driving two hundred plus miles I showed up to 8 dudes and various friends helping me unload everything I own. I remembered that this is why I love Pennsylvania. The sense of community here is so strong--created by a shared understanding of what people are to do for each other. Factory workers' sons and farmers' daughters have created this city, and the background is obvious every time I walk down the street. Bloomfield is a neighborhood smack in the middle of the city. On a clear night, you can see downtown from my window.

I got a job through my roommate slinging pizza a few days a week not long after I moved in. The job was easy, and enjoyable for the most part. It wasn't anything more than a kitchen built in an extra room of a warehouse but I got to throw dough a few hours a day and watch cable when we weren't busy. I kept filling out applications up and down Liberty Avenue and finally got a call back from a Pub called Silky's. When I went in for my interview, I pinned up my hair and dressed business casual hoping to impress the important chef I was going to meet. When I got there, I was called to the door of the kitchen and talked to Dora about my experience as he made bacon for the day. I spent about six months there, learning a lot and running my ass up and down a steep flight of stairs to fetch backups and refills from our walk-ins and freezers. As much as I enjoyed working in a busy city kitchen, I knew that there wasn't a lot more I would be able to learn and it didn't seem like the management was open to advancement for young girls who like to make sandwiches.

I met Chef Mike on my block, where he'd sit outside his restaurant when he had a free moment. We struck up a conversation about the industry. He complained about freshoutofculinaryschool kids not knowing now to put down a decent score and I believe my exact words were "I've never made hollandaise, but I'm a beast on the line." He ended up giving my name to Chef Len at Lot 17 and I got hired there right before Christmas. The kitchen isn't gourmet by any means, but it's a pretty tight crew that knows what they're doing and I'm learning something every day. I'm glad that I've taken my culinary education on myself. I'm continually buying new cookbooks and trying out recipes. I made paella a few months ago and it turned out perfectly--it may be the best dish I've ever made. I failed to get a picture of it but I think I want to serve it at my wedding.

Meanwhile, I met a fella. His name is Jarrett Richard Butler. He's a cowboy that rides a bike and drinks whiskey straight and wears bandanas and calls me darlin. We started going out in November and I fell for him, hard. I didn't even realize it at the time, but we clicked immediatley. It was like we spoke the same language. I feel lucky to be with him... It's the kind of love I spent years creating and hoping against hope was actually real. And now I have it, every day.

So that's it for now, I suppose. Cooking and being in love with everything and waking up smiling. This morning I made french toast with Italian bread, freshly ground nutmeg, and strawberries. I'm babysitting a husky this afternoon and might sew a skirt. Risking hubris, this is the happiest I've ever been.