These past couple of days, I’ve been filling out job application after job application and cranking out cover letters like it’s nobody’s business (please oh please hire me, somebody!). I applied for positions at a few of my favorite food publications out there, and more than once, I’ve written about my belief in the power of the home cook and how one doesn’t need to have chef-level cooking skills to have the privilege of calling him- or herself a chef.
It reminded me of one of the weeks I spent in New York City this past fall.
I had this brilliant idea at around 3 a.m. on a night when I had to wake up at 7:15 the next morning—you know, when all the brilliant ideas come about. I thought, man, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a food blog out there that focused solely on home cooks and the foods they make that are closest to their hearts? Professional chefs are fascinating, don’t get me wrong, but that has been done before by every food blog ever. What about the next door neighbor, the great aunt, the TV repair guy? Everybody cooks, and everybody deserves a spot in the limelight (well, the camera flash light, but you get what I mean).
I had this idea that, just like with any reporting assignment, if I could use my contacts to make friends with kind strangers who cook, maybe I could get invited into their kitchens to witness them in their natural, cozy surroundings, cooking whatever food is important to them no matter how complex or easy it is, and then interview them to get a bit of history into the dish, it could be an amazing project for me and for anyone who follows it.
As you may have guessed, it was pretty hard to find people to let me into their lives in this kind of way. I didn’t foresee that part. Oops.
But one person did, Guillermo from Spain, who invited me and some of his friends to his Brooklyn apartment to cook tortilla española, his favorite dish from home, just the way his dad taught him how to make it before Guillermo moved to the United States. His enthusiasm for food and for food heritage were perfect for my cooking project, and although it didn’t immediately pan out like I hoped it would during that 3 a.m. inspiration session, my experience documenting his cooking will undoubtedly inspire me to pursue it farther in the future.
Someday after these job applications are done and I become a famous journalist, I’m sure it will be much easier to find subjects. 🙂