So, in a former life I was a pastry chef. Which is how I indirectly became a writer because I quit baking when I had children, which necessitated a move to the burbs for better schools, which meant an astonishing loss of self, which meant I started writing to stop from going crazy, and here I am.
I wasn't a great cook. I was technically competent, and I could run a kitchen, but I didn't have that creative spark that separates the wheat from the chaff. I was just good at what I did but nothing more than that. It did get old at the end. Being twenty-four and working horrendous hours is not the same as thirty-two working horrendous hours. Plus when you're younger your friends tend to be your work friends and I could go out and have fun (people in the food business go out and eat and drink for fun--imagine that!) and work on two hours of sleep. As I aged, I wanted to be in bed by ten because I had to get up at five. There were a lot of things that were great about it, and a lot of things that were horrible, and yet I still miss it, even though I haven't been in a kitchen in over twenty years.
There is a commercial bakery not far from where I currently work. I think it's a Wonder Bread factory (seriously), and depending on how the wind is blowing, some mornings I get out of my car and I'm surrounded by the smell of baking bread. It's like a cape, surrounding me. And I have a wistful moment.
I haven't given up the idea of running a small place. Of course, what I would really like is some gigantic Victorian where it's an extension of my house and people just come and eat. Like they are extended friends. Because that's what I'm looking for. A sense of community and shared love of food.
I had a wild idea the other day. What if one didn't open up a business but just opened up their house. And people sat down and ate what you served (just like you would if someone came to your house for dinner). If they wanted to they could leave some money in a jar. What they thought was fair. And there was no business permits, or health inspectors, or the hoop jumping that is inevitable when you start a business. You just open up your home. Cook it and they will come concept.
::Eyes homes for sale in local paper::