"I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."
Alright so I'm a big skier, and its probably the sole reason why I am one of the few people on Earth that actually loves winter. Now I'm not talking Christmas and "the first snowfall" Hallmark type stuff that everyone loves. Don't get me wrong I love all that too, but I'm talkin' gray snow piled up on the side of the road, subzero temperatures that leave a stinging feel deep in your bones. I'm talkin' dead center of winter where most start to go stir crazy with cabin fever. I'm talkin' bundling up to walk down the driveway to grab the mail. I love that stuff, and I think its because I love skiing so damn much. Its a sickness. Day after day, driving up to Gore regardless of the conditions to get a couple hours worth of runs in (I can probably ski blindfolded on that mountain). Your out there with nature, sometimes its soft and you glide atop the snow like your floating, and sometimes its gritty; where "loose granular" and man made snow crunch under your skis. Sometimes its loud with wind whipping down narrow trails and atop the summit, vacationers from Long Island and Jersey scraping around and yelling to keep their group of 15 together on the mountain. Sometimes its eerily quiet, windless and empty late in the day with the sun setting behind the mountains.
I love being in all of that. Usually I enjoy doing things with people, but skiing is one of the few exceptions where I am completely at ease with others or shredding the slopes alone. Its my sanctuary up there. Some have meditation or long walks, I have mountains to play on. Its a lot like cooking in a way, and I know I've made that same comparison with hiking but its true; there are more comparisons than one would think. Its physical: hours of continuous ware and tear on the body; constantly leaning into hard turns barreling down trails at high speeds. Pushing and digging with poles to traverse along flat ground. All these things will ware you down (especially early on in the season). Its extremely mental: sometimes you can ski down a trail without a thought in the world, but most of the time your scanning for black ice, and novice riders; or plotting your next turn and where it will take you. When you run into moguls you have to think about a path to meander around and sometimes up and over giant mounds of snow. For most people this last one will not apply but its also deeply emotional and spiritual: there are times when I take a long smooth turn just right or pop over a hill straight into a steep downhill and I just burst out laughing. There are no words to describe what I mean, its just a feeling I get when subtle little intricacies of the mountain come together harmoniously in my favor. I don't expect you to know what I mean, because I don't really know what I mean. Its just beautiful.
A kitchen functions on these very same principles: its physical--on your feet for long hours (often too long), thirsty as hell, running back and forth from the dish station to the line. Chopping, dicing, pounding, lifting, carrying all day long. Its mental--setting up your mise en place and doing all your prep to plan your day and be prepared for the inevitable shit storm coming your way...and your in the eye of it baby! Its also emotional/spiritual--when that shit storm finally arrives and your understaffed and overwhelmed, you want to cry, or curl up in a ball and make it all go away, or flee and never look back. But the highs are so high, taking an extra second to admire a nicely plated dish, or a perfectly executed and cooked piece of meat is a wonderful thing. This post is less about food and more about the crazy parallels I place on the things in my life in attempts to justify and to some extend understand the things that I do and why I do them.
That being said, I did eat food today, like always.
Dinner: shredded turkey and gravy on a French baguette with swiss. Not the most elegant looking thing I've ever eaten but after a long day of skiing you just want something that tastes good and will fill ya up, ya know? Not to mention that it was easily as hell to make.
- can of turkey gravy (no I didn't have time to make my own, it was a spur of the moment type thing)
- leftover white meat turkey
- 8 inches of French baguette sliced lengthwise
- 2 slices swiss cheese
- dab of mayo