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Everyone,

 

I don't really even know if this is the appropriate sub-forum to place such a post; if so, I apologize mods and please feel free to do what you would like with the post.

 

I've been away a long, long time.  The last several years have been extremely difficult.  Lost a restaurant, and for close to a decade, developed a permanent, systemic neuro condition that is disabling and a daily challenge.  It wasn't until just a couple months ago that I seriously picked a knife up after so, so long away.

 

I lost all love for cooking.  I've lost my way.

 

Since coming back as a means to fight back against some pretty severe depression of many years, an outgrowth of a lot of things but mostly, the constant, severe pain I experience, I find myself basically aping Thomas Keller or Alain Ducasse and/or his disciples, to try to regain lost technique, sense of taste, sense of what works.  First pic below is inspired out of Ducasse's Atelier book.  "Taken," is probably more honest.  Sauce is mine, but components and plating is basically an amalgam of Keller and one of Ducasse's students, from the book.  Braised lamb and tomato tartellette tatin, from Tom Collichio.  Cured salmon with garnishes.  No big deal any of them, and none of them, mine.

 

I could use some help; I don't even know what I'm asking help for, as it's almost impossible I'll ever be able to cook professionally again.  But somewhere in the back of my mind is some dream of a relais, something in the country, something less body and mind-busting as a city, competitive kitchen.

 

Basically, I'm asking for an opinion for a lineage apprenticeship, a self-appointed, self-directed desire to lean on masters of French cooking to bring me back to a sense of strength in this tradition.  I know this all seems pretty ludicrous - I'm 54, had a restaurant, etc.  But I'm being sincere when I say, I feel like a child again, wanting to learn as a child-apprentice, in the French tradition.  It will have to come via cookbooks.

 

I have Escoffier, Point, Chapel, Bocuse, Vergé, Troisgros, Guérard, Blanc,  Boulud, Ducasse, Keller, Waters, so many others.

 

I know this has been beat to death.  My bent is to start at the modern beginning - Escoffier, and the above order is pretty close to the lineage I have in mind - as I did when young, when I worked Pepin to death, work all these works to death, to find a sense of strength, a needed strength, again.  Admitting roux is "never done anymore," and the host of antiquated preparations in Escoffier's work - start there anyway, and start as a child starts, without prejudice and only the desire for mastery.

 

On the other hand, I feel ridiculous.  And there's a part that says, no finer modern "teachers" than Keller or Ducasse, for example.  Say, simply work TFL until I can say, it would pass the pass.

 

I know this is all disjointed and long.  Just reaching out, everyone.  I appreciate your thoughts.

 

 

Sea Bass Millefeuille.JPG

lamb II.JPG

Salmon Carpaccio.JPG


Edited by paul o' vendange (log)
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-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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I don't have any advice whatsoever, and it sounds like it's been a tough few years for you, for which I am sorry, but your dishes look very pretty and I'd eat them in a heartbeat. Hoping you find your groove.

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Like Tere, I have no advice.  Just all best wishes, Darienne

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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 My instinctive response is to say do not allow yourself to become scattered. I believe you could do far worse then follow TFL until you can pass the pass. 

  • Like 5

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Your plates look wonderful.

Years ago, I broke my neck and my hands did not work very well even after surgery. This was very frustrating. But, I practiced exercises almost every day. After a while, yes years, I gained more and more motor control. It's not the same as it was, but, I now have a finer sense of what I can do and what limits to try and push than I did in the before time when everything just seemed like unlimited potentiality. IMO, the trick is to keep pushing, keep trying the hard stuff and your brain will create new pathways, newly learned skill centers.

It can be very frustrating sometimes, in the day to day minutiae, sometimes it helps me to look back upon the journey to appreciate how far I have come.

 

That said, I would like to invite you to try the cold side; test yourself by working pastry for a change.

 

It takes a great deal of self-awareness to ask for help. You are definitely on the right path. There's a lot of hard work ahead, but, it will be worth it.

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Welcome back!  

 

You obviously love it, so stay focused, set goals that are realistic yet challenging and move up the ladder like you did years ago.  From your dishes you still got it!

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@paul o' vendange, I'm a housewife who loves to cook and eat, so I have no professional advice either. I've only worked professionally front of house, and from that perspective, as well as an avid eater's, can say that your photos of dishes are very appealing. I do admire your spirit for trying to overcome such a terrific setback, and wish you godspeed on your journey back to mastering your passion. :smile:

 

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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Welcome back, Paul.  I admire that you're finding a way to move forward under the weight of so much adversity.

 

I can't offer professional advice, but as a committed amateur in the French tradition, I don't think it's a mistake at all  to regain your comfort and proficiency with the fundamentals. Not only for the knowledge but for the confidence each success will give you. Fundamentals aren't just roux, but techniques that will serve you well no matter your eventual goals. Look for some new pathways so you don't feel like you're "just re-learning" such as Lisa's pastry suggestion,or sous vide, charcouterie, or confections, whatever interests you,

 

If you're up to it, make it social occasionally. Invite someone to dinner to sample the latest experiement. No pressure to impress, just to share.

 

And by all means, post your efforts here--topics like Dinner, Daily Sweet, Soup, Terrines, etc give you a no-pressure place to share your creations and get some positive reinforcement.

 

 

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I can't offer professional advice either - at least not in your profession. But I can say that I've had to fight my way back, too.

 

Eight years ago, one summer's day, at precisely 2:30 pm my whole world collapsed. I was about the same age as you, successful in my terms and  happy, but suddenly through no fault of my own everything was torn apart. I don't want to go into details, but it was personal rather than professional.

But, for too long, I was a mess. I couldn't deal with anything. Nothing made sense and I didn't care. I'd always been a kind of optimistic, reasonably strong person, but that all died. I became surly, incompetent and angry with the world.

 

I know I pissed off some people both in my real life and  here on eG by my grumpiness or even rudeness at times. But, then I felt that nobody cared. Maybe that was self-pity. Not nice, but I think understandable. Maybe I should have asked myself why should a bunch of people you don't know on a web forum care.

Then I hit rock bottom and, out of sheer desperation, one day asked a friend for help. As I should have done months before.  She said that she had been waiting for me to ask, because she knew that I wouldn't accept her help until I knew I needed it. She saved my sanity and my life.

It took time, but I calmed down, and although I will never accept or end mourning what happened, I battled through it.  And came out damaged but surviving. The hurt, the pain will never go away, but I'm alive again.

 

My main attachment to this site is that people here, without knowing it helped me through the chaos. I found I was a member of a little community when my physical community had been devastated. Like any other community, there were the people I really valued; there were a very few people who were downright nasty; a few I decided to ignore. But mostly good people just wanting to share what they know and what they want to know.  It was my little escape from my misery.

 

And gradually, I began to heal. Thanks to the people I found were my real friends and thanks to some strangers on a hedonistic food website!

It is a cliché, but time often heals. But friends make time go quicker.

My only advice, which worked for me, is to take one day at a time. Have a plan; a goal. But if it that goal seems to move away don't give up. Adjust the plan; reconfigure the goal. Remember the past, but don't live in it. I did for too long.

Asking for help as you have done is often the first step back.

Good luck

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Everyone -

 

I can't tell you in words, properly, how grateful I am for your kindness in posting these thoughts.  I'm extremely grateful and soaking it in.  I'm also very saddened to hear of your own sufferings, Lisa and Liuzhou.  Going through this daily, I feel your fight keenly, and empathize with how difficult it is.  I'm a cook, a member of a community who cares, and just want you to know I'm with you, too, as you have been with me here.  Probably a good first step back for me was to become part of my hospital system's pain clinic, and there, among other things, they offered a mindfulness program, basically a cognitive approach to mindfulness and putting pain at the center.  Honestly - I don't know about you guys - but though it also saddened me deeply to see others suffering so, it also showed me I'm not alone in this, I'm not crazy with my spinning thoughts, my lost mental functioning accompanying my physical decline, etc.  Just to know, others go through it too.  May sound weird or even selfish, but I got so insular - curtains drawn, inside solely - I lost all sense of a world outside, and lives going on. 

 

At any rate, don't want to go too long, taken enough bandwidth already.  But I'm with you guys, I'm grateful for this website and its people, and I'm grateful for your thoughts here.

 

Anna, thank you.  I've always been so keenly drawn to Chef Keller's work; I see it almost a distillation of all that is French to the purest drop, a focus of technique and artistry that is probably as perfect as I can see being accomplished.  What I've sought for, well, I guess as long as I've been cognizant I wanted to cook in this lineage, which crudely began over 40 years ago now.  So it's a great suggestion. 

 

Interestingly - and your caution on getting scattered is also well taken, because this is forever my downfall - some time ago I was looking for what Chef Keller thought of the relevance of Escoffier for today's cooks, and came across this:

 

Quote

How relevant is Escoffier to the contemporary chef?
Escoffier remains as important today as he has been in the past.  You need a strong foundation of the classics before you start creating your own.  It reminds me of learning to play the piano: You need to practice constantly and study the classical composers before you begin composing your own music.

 

-so this really started me on this notion of going all the way back, to Escoffier; then on to Point; then to his disciples; then their progeny; all the way back to a person I've tried to work from, Thomas Keller. 

 

So, Linda, you're point's also well taken.  I think you and Lisa have touched something, which is probably the daunting task of going back to doing things I - I say this humbly, and without certainty - already know; to go back and work Escoffier's house of sauces, etc., when I know this world pretty well, might be "starting over" in an extreme and perhaps less than useful way.  Keeping what I know while trying something unknown.  Interestingly, I began my cooking life in pastry, those 40 some years ago...Christmas for 12 with Jacques Pepin's cream puff swans, Christmas log, spun sugar, other goodies, come only vaguely to mind.

 

I tried to keep this short and failed here, too, sorry guys.  Past experience has at least taught me, it probably doesn't ultimately matter what road is taken - whether starting with Escoffier forward, Keller backwards, picking and choosing among any of this line of masters, whatever - it's all learning.  But my crushing need for structure, I guess, also raises its ugly head and I probably need to at least outline an intended course of study. 

 

Sorry for the ruminations again.  You've given so much to think on and your kindnesses are deeply appreciated, all.  Words can be so paltry; sincerely, thank you.

  • Like 15

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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 The structure I found [and I am working my way back from severe health problems] came from the advice of one of my medical team. Each day you must have a list of what you will accomplish.  This must be very specific tasks not vague ideas of "make some pastry"  but "make one dozen croissants". Specific to my condition was scheduled rest periods and these must be as closely adhered to as the tasks.  The point is to have structure that is measurable.   As you accomplish each thing including the rest, if required, then you check it off. This has been the best tool to get me back into the swing of things of all the rehab stuff I was given. 

  • Like 12

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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2 hours ago, Anna N said:

 The structure I found [and I am working my way back from severe health problems] came from the advice of one of my medical team. Each day you must have a list of what you will accomplish.  This must be very specific tasks not vague ideas of "make some pastry"  but "make one dozen croissants". Specific to my condition was scheduled rest periods and these must be as closely adhered to as the tasks.  The point is to have structure that is measurable.   As you accomplish each thing including the rest, if required, then you check it off. This has been the best tool to get me back into the swing of things of all the rehab stuff I was given. 

 

Anna, thanks for this, it's a wonderful idea.  I tend to do a daily prep list, trying as much as possible to once again be a "chef" by emulating the life, to the extent I can, alone at home, providing dinners of a certain quality to my family and, occasionally, friends.  Trouble is, and this I'm sure is a struggle you've dealt with and may still be dealing with - I sense your spirit is strong, and vibrant, and resting isn't easy for you? - a good part of the days I do things, I pay badly for several days, if not weeks, afterwards.  So what you write above is a wonderful idea, and one I would like to put in play. 

 

If the dream, mournful for a long time now, is to one day find my way back into my own, humble, kitchen somewhere in a beautiful, rural relais, it's been suggested to me by my psychologist (I have a good team of providers, and feel very fortunate) and others, that I consider just doing intimate dinners for 2-4 people, on an occasional basis.  Whatever happens, your idea above is well taken, important and implementable, and I want to say thanks.  And I hope you heal and cope with a very sad event in your life, as well as nature will allow.

 

Paul

 

Edit:  Anna, I'm sorry, I initially confused you with Lisa - part of my condition is a fog-state a good part of the time and I can space really easily if I am not careful, so again, I'm sorry.  

 

I am saddened to know you, too, suffer from health problems.  Thank you for your good thoughts and blessings to you on your journey back, I hope, to good health. 


Edited by paul o' vendange (log)
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-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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I'm sorry about everything. I think it's easy for some people to forget, or not understand, how an industry like this can really kick you when you're down, or if you already are, be so, so hard to get back to.

 

I get the depression - a long time ago, life decided to really law down a giant shit storm on everything in my life. I lost pretty much everything professionally, personally, financially, and of course at the same time got hit with multiple medical conditions that while not serious in the long term, were extremely painful. I had never really had an easy life as it was, but it just all came down at once - I really almost couldn't handle it. I sought help, I moved to try and re-start things, etc. So while nobody can ever really know what someone else is going through, I do sort of get feeling depressed, and it's something I never wish on anyone - I hope things are starting to look up, even slightly.

 

I don't know if anything that I say will be helpful, but I can say what helped me get back on track.

 

To me - learning rigid technique again, following in the "footsteps" of famous chefs, strict and proper with skills and dishes, immersing yourself back into the almost militant way of cooking that these idols of yours handle things, if the wrong first step. To me, you said right at first what in my opinion should be the starting line: You aren't happy.

 

What helped me was re-discovering what made me want to cook in the first place. I had to enjoy it again, and going through books, practicing my cuts, etc, sure wasn't how I found love with the profession in the first place. To me, just making food, any food, whether it was what I had been trained and taught early on or not, had to be fun. Was I probably going to screw up? Of course I was. Was I going to be as great as I was at doing X as I had been a few years ago? Probably not, but that again, was part of it. I had to discover my love of cooking all over again, and at that stage, being the rigid and organized chef again wasn't what made me happy, it had been what stressed me in the first place.

 

I had also found that what I had been cooking many years wasn't what I generally thought of,  naturally drifted to, if left on my own. All my early career I had only done french and Mediterranean - as I just cooked for 'me' more and more, I moved away from that. Years later, my style is completely different - I had it drilled in my head I *had* to cook french when I was younger, because that had just been the *thing* to do, but after being away from kitchens for a bit, and trying to get back into it and figure out why I really wanted to do it, I had found without that drilled into my head, it wasn't what I had wanted all along. Just something to think about.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that before the technique, before the worship of other chefs, before the recreating other peoples' work, be yourself, mistakes and all. That's part of cooking, and that's part of how we all learned how to cook professionally. Once I found what made me happy, and once I WAS happy being around food again, THEN came the technique and the re-learning.

 

Again, just my opinion. I can't speak for you, or for anyone else, but I'm glad I took the steps that I did. I love what I do, and I don't think I still would if I hadn't rediscovered what made me love it again before anything else - because at the end of the day, why do any of us do this? It's difficult, stressful, poorly paying in many cases - if there isn't love, then what is there?

 

I would for sure stay with just small, intimate dinners, for now. Be around friends when you make food. Be open to trying new things. Focus on the why of your cooking, rather than the how.

 

I know this is all a little contradictory to the prep lists, and rigidity of what you've been looking for, but sometimes the least likely approach can be the most helpful. It's worth a thought or two :)

  • Like 14

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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The small dinners sound like a great idea.  Not only because they’ll keep you from drifting back into isolation, but because they’ll be good training, too.  Part of the learning curve in cooking is good time management—anticipating the sequence of steps involved when executing multiple courses, and factoring that in to menu planning—deciding what can be done in advance, executing other things a la minute. Cooking a couple of courses for friends and family is a low-stress way to practice this. They won’t care if you sit down to dinner a little late!

 

Besides, one of the things that I’ve found to be true of most good chefs is that they’re driven not only by talent and hard work but also a genuine love of making other people happy with their food.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, but if food is served with generosity of spirit, it will most definitely come right back at you.

 

It’s probably one of the things that you enjoyed from your restaurant days, yes?  Experiencing that with your guests will lift your spirits and remind you of why all this hard work will be worth it.


Edited by LindaK formatting troubles (log)
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Like several others on this thread, I can't offer professional advice, having never cooked commercially beyond the occasional bake sale.But I do love to cook for others, and frequently volunteer to do so. I find that it helps me to have a good timetable of when different tasks need to be started and finished, and also, to always have in mind an alternative plan if, say, the entree is an abject failure -- the only thing to do at that point is shrug, own it, and adjourn to the local burger joint. It is, in the end, as much about the fun and fellowship as it is the food.

 

My one piece of advice would be not to fear failure. There are two possible outcomes to everything -- success, or learning.

 

Congratulations to you for your determination to return to the life you love. My very best wishes, and I shall send prayers and positive thoughts in your direction.

 

  • Like 4

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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I wanted to thank EVERYONE here for your generosity of spirit and thoughts.  I'm taking it all in and I do appreciate you taking the time to lend your help.  My pain will always be with me, it puts a "used" to be mirror of a chef, athlete (marathon , 20K Meters per day swimmer, martial artist, etc.), but I've learned it doesn't define me.  Major depression and serious depressive swings may also be with me the rest of my life, have always been prone to them but it's been more of a serious issue more often since developing this condition.  But I've learned to fight back.  I've got a beautiful wife and son, good health providers, and as of a couple of weeks ago, a beautiful new pup, Murphy, who makes for paroxysms of laughter daily.

 

I wanted to keep it brief, because I've taken up a lot of bandwidth already.  I don't want to make this seem terse, after all you've given, but I can ramble so I'll list a few things.

 

  1. My entire cooking life, the heart of why, has indeed been love, Linda.  The best mirror I can probably put up would be Babette's Feast.  The greatest pleasure I've known in life has been to feed people, and to do it as well as I can, to share foods and ways to treat them that may be new, but always, will give pleasure.
  2. I've been cooking, I think, since probably 7 or so.  Started with my mom's books, incl. some series (I think it might have been time life?) that covered foods internationally with each volume, and it was the height of my week to do weekly "international nights" for the family.  Ranged from Jewish, Japanese, French, right of memory now.
  3. By 13 or so, my mom gave me Jacques Pépin's La Technique, and I went nuts.  I heard him, when he said, learn technique, and you gain freedom.  I worked the book cover to cover, over and over.  I couldn't believe the world inside those pages, couldn't believe a kid from suburban southern California was doing this...true French cooking. Background, French blooded, had the fleur de lys above my bed by 5 or so, and was fairly fluent by the time I was 11 or so - by 14, thanks to the good graces of Mme. Lewis, whom I still love and still thank for giving me freedom in this language and culture.
  4. So, probably since then and since hearing Chef Pépin's creed, I probably have been very technique driven.  I have to watch it, because I know I can make a religion out of it and forget that technique is a means to an end - freedom to express the heart inside - and not an end in itself.  On the other hand, it's always been my strong desire to learn technique, so that I'm never hampered by what I'm longing for inside, by the inability to manifest that kernel or idea or passion, by a lack of technique.  May have mentioned it years earlier here, another in this driving line, starting in my mid-30's became uchideshi or direct, live in apprentice to a Japanese martial and zen master, in order to "capture his mind," a Japanese thing, seeking then, seeking always - to master kihon waza; fundamental technique. (Unfortunately, it's also here where I damaged my CNS with chronic injury, leading to the condition I now have.  You can't go back, c'est la vie).
  5. So, I hope this provides some context to probably what is driving this thread - a thread I hope people have found somehow, if only a little, interesting or useful, and not merely self-indulgent on my part.  Just a guy who feels he has lost his fundamentals, the ground.  The love passed sometime ago, the longer after the restaurant loss and the subsequent development of this condition.  But it's recently come alive again, some kind of absolute clearing, sun, after years of absolute darkness respecting the kitchen.  Yet I still long to come home, to fundamentals.
  6. And haven't known where a guy in my state can turn, to find it.  I know it may seem ridiculously unnecessary, or a wrong course (Matty - thank you so much.  I do hear you, and have been considering your thoughts since you posted), but I've thought of these two courses - go back to the modern beginning, really - Escoffier - and move forward.  The same way a young teen fell in love with Jacques and his work, to find that again in this line of masters (I neglected to include Madeleine Kamman, to my great regret.  I have two of her books, love them both, feel she is a master among the rest) from Escoffier forward.
  7. Or, Anna, once again, your post is deeply appreciated.  In seeking - whatever - I can so easily fly everywhere.  I'm sure that's apparent here, and I apologize for the length and wandering nature of the posts.  So, why not start with Chef Keller, treat his book as I did La Technique and Methode; exhaust what I can.

I have no idea where this leaves everything, everyone, and I'm truly sorry if I wasted anyone's time.  Love is the heart of it all, the best way I've known to do that is to give it over, whether by providing food, or teaching, whether it be French cuisine or martial arts.  The greatest fulfillment I've had as a chef was to take a small family, as they became, of young men and women in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, who knew nothing whatsoever about traditional French cuisine, teach them rigorously but with true affection, and know they can go anywhere they choose, and stand tall in a professional kitchen.  I take that experience with me, always, and I know they do, too.

 

Thank you everyone.  I hope this has been of use to some of you.


Edited by paul o' vendange (log)
  • Like 7

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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Welcome back, Paul. I suggest you say that to yourself as many times a day as it takes for you to believe you are 'back'.

 

I have been reading this thread and the excellent replies that many of our best eGullet-ers have posted but haven't had a clue how I could contribute so I stayed out of the conversation. In addition to not knowing what I could contribute though, I was still trying to figure out what the problem really is. I have now come to the conclusion though that even you have no idea what the problem is so no solution will work till you either understand what it is or just take one step forward in any direction that strikes you as FUN (or needed) in the moment and test the waters.

 

I have great sympathy for your pain. I watched my father who was in excruciating pain almost every minute of every day for all of my life (I was well into my 60s when he died at 95) and a bit more than that - and I winced every time he did which was exhausting at times. It was the most horrible thing I could imagine anyone should have to deal with - and yet he still managed to function as a fully capable and happy human being despite it all. He was adventurous and despite having only one useful arm tackled anything and everything he ever wanted to - with gusto. He figured out another way every time there was any kind of obstacle. And he learned to cook at 70 when my mother died - and did a very darned good job of it too. He cross-country skied, he did hill-climb races and rallies in cars he restored (reaching through the steering wheel to change gears), he was the only really good and honest lawyer I have ever met, he learned at least 10 languages all on his own out of books, he was a woodworker par excellence .. if he wanted to do or try something new, he never let a little thing (as he would term it - not me) like a useless arm (and it was the 'right arm' which made things even harder) and constant painful spasms stop him. I really never heard him complain. He was a hard taskmaster when we were kids and I took a while to understand why that was ... we were able bodied and didn't have the pain to deal with so we weren't going to get away with wasting what talents we had if he had anything to do with it. That was tough to deal with as a youngster, but I am certain it made me a much better, more productive and less whiny adult so I have nothing but thanks for him. As the years went on, I realized that I admired him more than I could ever admire anyone else in life. He took no pills for pain - a scotch was welcome at the end of a long day however. Dad never took 'no' for an answer. Nor should you.

 

You are the answer to YOU. I sense that you are delaying making that first step by tangling yourself up in analysis. It is like watching a frantic rabbit lost in Wonderland ... which way do I go .. which way do I go. It hurts to see you do that .. and I don't even 'know' you. Pain is horrible. Depression is nasty and can be debilitating. Get whatever medical help you may need for those conditions - but then give yourself the best medicine possible - ONE step forward, no more looking back! While you focus only on yourself and your pain, horrible as it may sound (because I know it hurts .. I am so sorry that is what you have to live with), you are not only shortchanging yourself but your family, especially your children. Do something .. do anything .. show them that anything is possible. Please. You will find what it is you seek eventually, if not today, if only you start moving in some direction. Always look forward ... not back. Keep dreaming of that relais - you can have that dream in reality!

 

So today ... one small step. Put down the books. Pick up the knife. You are talented and if you have the passion, despite the pain, you can make anything you want to happen, happen! Or, if you are still not sure what is now your passion, remember that many have changed careers mid-life - find something else and focus on that for a while. All will become clear in time - as long as do something and don't just sit and think about what to do.

 

(I hope I have not sounded too harsh - not meant that way).

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Hello everyone -

 

I would like to say thank you for everything, and Deryn, absolutely not harsh in any way whatsoever - I hear you and yes, you're right.  I can perseverate and that is just something I've been dealing with for awhile now as well.  Getting up and cooking has been the thing that's brought some joy back to myself and people I care about deeply, family and friends, so I agree - just important to get up and do.

 

I feel I've taken up far too much bandwidth with this personal issue, and would like to ask the mods to close the thread, with gratitude to them and to everyone here, in the interest of returning attention to this great site's focus and its wealth, which includes its people.  Nice to see you all again. 

 

Paul

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-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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My apologies to the 'host' and to everyone. Apparently my post was way off topic - wasn't meant to take the conversation in the wrong direction. It was, despite what it may have looked like, about 'cooking' but I appreciate why it might not look that way. Please feel free to delete it but I hope you don't lose the whole thread. Paul needs concrete advice about following a particular route back to what he has always loved - and since I am not a chef, I cannot provide that.

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