By Michael Croom
Food was there for me when no one else was. Now I already know what your thinking. “This guy is some over weight, depressed, loser”, but you would be wrong. I’m a passionate young man who is trying to find his place in this world. By the time I graduated high school my mind was made up on where I was headed, and that was Hollywood, CA, where the girls are beautiful, the people are liberal, and the film business is awaiting my talent. What a shock it was to find that the people ugly, close minded, and the movies are anything, but waiting for ME! No, they are much too involved with strikes, pirating, and financial problems to be looking for some no name like me. It was a rough couple of years trying to find my place in southern California much less the world. There were lots of long days standing in two-hour lines waiting for two-minute auditions for roles, agents, and managers. And with that came lots and lots of disappointment. However, this essay is not about my feeble attempt and that film industry. At the end of these long days, coming home and sitting on my couch in front of a television did not cut the amount of stress that had been built up, so I went searching for another way to let it out. After the first couple weeks of microwave meals and top ramen, I was ready for something new.
It started simplistically: frozen chicken breast with salt pepper and Italian seasoning; at first bite I knew…that it was not cooked all the way through and it was still raw and frozen on the inside. YUCK! I went to bed that night hungry, but I don’t let anything go that quickly, I was determined to make it work. I thawed out the chicken breast and repeated the recipe. It was a bit on the dry side, but a dramatic improvement from the chicken that might as well have been still laying eggs. It was all uphill from there. I began experimenting, throwing things in pots that I never imagined would taste good together, but son of a gun, I pulled it off. Before I knew it I was happy again, and this was taking the weights off my shoulders at the end of a less than successful day. Before I knew it I was touring culinary schools and looking at other options for my life that up until then I figured was laid out ahead of me. I decided to stick with acting a little bit longer and see what kind of things I could do when I really put my mind to it and didn’t give up.
It worked, I had some success and found a little bit of a groove for myself, but at the end of the day it wasn’t enough, and it wasn’t where I wanted to be, or what I wanted to do. It was the weekend dinner parties that I through, and the extravagant Wednesday night meals that I put together for my roommates and I that made me happier than anything else. I decided one afternoon that I had made my decision. I called my parents and I said, “I want to move back home and start the process of enrolling into the Culinary Institute of America.” They said, “Ok”, and that’s exactly what I did. I have now been accepted into the Culinary Bachelors program at the most recognized culinary school in the United States. I’m working the required six-month stint for the number one Catering service in its county, and I can honestly say, this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.
I don’t know if Hippocrates was a struggling philosopher and found his true passion is food, but he must have found some beauty in it to say something as profound as food being mans medicine. All I know is that food cured me. It has brought me onto the track that I have been looking for in my life. When I’m cooking for pe