What would you do if you weren’t being paid to do it?

That is what a friend asked his son when they were talking about what major he should choose for college. He was 13 years old.  He said he was interested in medicine and would like to be a Doctor.  Now he’s in pre-med at Yale.  That got me thinking… what would I be willing to do if I wasn’t being paid for it.

I’ve boiled it down to two creative passions.  One is creating amazing home-cooked meals.  I love working in a professional kitchen.  That’s why my kitchen at home is designed to feel like one to me. This is the one that I would, and have, get up at 5 am for. My son said to me just recently, “Mom I like to watch you cook, you look so happy. ”

Another creative passion is writing.  I’m still figuring out my favorite genre – I”m leaning towards Romance right now.  I don’t actually get up early to write.  I do my best writing after 11am and again after 9 pm.

 

After I graduated from the University of Maryland with my BS in Business Management & Management Sciences I found myself faced with a college degree and no experience outside of the foodservice industry. Well, I figured, when life gives you lemons… make pie!

And make pies I did. I got up at 5am every morning to make muffins and roast fresh turkey breast and beef. I made chicken salad and delicately fried eggplant slices. I took in the bread delivery and sliced the smoked salmon. I made gallons of coffee and wrote out the Specials menu on the chalkboard behind the counter, all before 7am. That’s when I opened the front doors of Note’ Bene Cafe and Gourmet shop in Long Branch, NJ.

That sweet little cafe that overlooked the wild and beautiful Atlantic Ocean was my passion. I didn’t own it financially, but I was emotionally invested and in love with the art and science of running that amazing little shop.

What I loved most was my time in the kitchen. Just having the freedom to create and produce amazing home cooked meals was enough to keep me going for the 12-16 hour shifts. To know that the customers came to enjoy my creations.  Unfortunately, the owner was not very good at managing money.  And very soon after our opening, she pulled me aside and said she didn’t have enough to cover payroll.  I offered to postpone my salary to cover payroll.  This lasted the whole summer.  And I still showed up at 5am happy and in love with my job.

I’ve been dabbling with writing for a long time.  I discovered my love of wordsmithing in high school while writing research papers, poetry and love letters to boys who answered back. I specialized my university studies in marketing and advertising psychology.  My plan was to work in the advertising mecca of Madison Avenue.  (that didn’t work by the way)   I wrote inspirational lines for gift mugs, amusing copy for fake jelly bean filled jars of Funny Pharmaceuticals and my claim to fame is a collection of racy fortunes for Dirty fortune cookies.  At some point later in my career, a co-worker bought me a mug for my desk.  She said, “it just sounds so much like you.”   I replied, “that’s because I wrote it”.

Writing for me is a very personal and liberating experience. Sometimes the words flow from my brain and heart.  Other days,  I need to pull the words from my brain and force it through my fingers out.  I’ve found that those days are the ones where I’m feeling self-critical and un-

So that is one of my personal passions. It is what I would do – even if I wasn’t being paid. And my family is very happy about that.

Bon Au Petite

Laura

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