Last week I started a new part-time job. It's exactly the type of malleable job that I was hoping to get, that would allow me the flexibility to work on my creative pursuits, while still learning and growing in the food industry. I was so happy when I was offered the position, feeling like my steel-toe-shoe-covered-foot was finally in the door! That feeling lasted...hmmm...all of maybe three days before my self-doubts began to set in. It's so hard to get excited about starting a new experience when you're a natural self-doubter, never trusting yourself and your abilities.
"What the hell am I doing here?"
I have to be honest, I feel totally out of my element. It feels just like the first few weeks of culinary school, where I kept asking myself "what the hell am I doing here?" telling myself that I didn't belong and I was going to fail. Culinary school was definitely a humbling experience for me, but also an incredibly rewarding one. When I look at how much I grew in just the several select courses that I attended, and more than that, how much my confidence blossomed, I can't help but feel proud of myself.
As much as I know there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, and that it's going to take time to find my groove and get comfortable, this beginning stage is absolutely excruciating to get through. I'm clumsy, I'm slow, I'm messy, I second guess myself, I can be forgetful, and my anxiety can get the best of me and I can slip into panic mode.
It was the same when I first started serving - clumsy, slow, messy, second guessing myself, being forgetful, and I most definitely slipped into panic mode more times than I care to recall. I remember the look on my managers face when I would mess up an order. The nicest guy would suddenly look terrifying. That look would be burned into my soul as I saw it again and again as I helplessly tried to find my feet.
"It's so easy to be comfortable and stay in a safe space where you know you can't fail, but if you can't fail then you can't grow."
I saw that same look on our head chefs face at my new job when we thought I almost used up all the chives that were meant for another recipe...and then again when we thought I almost broke the $1000 Vitamix, because I forgot to tell my group to remove the sachet before blending the soup...and oh, so much more. So, so, so much more! It's so horrible, and challenging, and stressful right now, and I want to cry just thinking about it, but it's always the most difficult and challenging experiences that end up being the most rewarding for me. Though I was a horrible, spastic server at first, I eventually became one of our most reliable and respected in the restaurant, a place I never thought I would get to. It's so easy to be comfortable and stay in a safe space where you know you can't fail, but if you can't fail then you can't grow.
I'm so damn scared of embarking on this new endeavour, but I'm also so insanely eager to meet the Danielle that comes out of this experience. I know she will come out stronger, tougher, wiser, faster, and so much more confident than the Danielle that walked in.
"The spicy makes the sweet all the sweeter, and so is the same in life."
Without the spicy and bitter life experiences, we would never have the sweet, which brings me to one of my favourite autumn recipes, my take on Martha Stewart's Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds (recipe here!). As I mentioned in the title, this will be the only roasted pumpkin seed recipe you will ever need, because no other recipe will ever come close to being this delicious! This will be the fourth or fifth mention of this recipe on my blog, because it's just that good! I can't get away from it! What makes these seeds so addictive is the contrast between the sweet and spicy seasonings. The sweetness of the sugar is brought to life thanks to the addition of fragrant sesame oil, and spicy cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne pepper. If these were only seasoned with sweet flavours, they would fall flat. The sweet needs the spicy to keep everything in balance. The spicy makes the sweet all the sweeter, and so is the same in life.
Check out my slightly adapted version of Martha's Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds here! And if you haven't started watching Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party, you need to start RIGHT NOW because it is amazing!!!