20 July 2010

directions to . . .

I guess this is a "can't sleep, so i'm just thinking to you" sort of brainstorming session on my blog. ;-)
Growing up, I guess I was always sensitive to animals, and more specifically nature. I went along the path toward becoming a biologist of some sort. I realized at a point somewhere between enjoying being a free and sociable 20something - & - an identity crisis, that I no longer wished to put in the effort to cram all the bio stuff in anymore and that it wasn't what I was wanting to learn about at that moment of my dynamic life.

LONG BREAK to kind of explore options for personal growth (and have a wonderful child)

I am now back in school, with a goal to simply be employed with my future fancy pieces of paper, that hints to others that I will potentially be qualified for specific jobs somewhere. I have always been steered toward the sciences, by myself and many others, and am attempting now to find my little niche that could help me go beyond simply gaining employment as a scientist. I have learned that I cannot be a person that separates home and work. Is it possible to not only gain knowledge while in college (haha, that accidentally rhymed), but simultaneously discover what you want to be when you grow up? [which is funny because most people would tell me that I should already be past that point]

That is the B I G question that plagues me.

Which goes back to the intro:
Growing up, I was particularly sensitive to animals, and would refuse to eat them. Wendy's hamburger @ 5 is my earliest memory. I couldn't please my parents (carnivorous father) with nixing all animals from my diet around age 9, so I ate chickens til I was around 12 or 13. I didn't really like vegetables much either, so I was probably not nutritionally sound, and this could explain a few things...

Anyway, not really until I moved to Seattle in 2004, did I start cooking. All things were a bit pricier than they were in Missouri or South Carolina, so I became very creative. I discover something remarkable! It is
c h e a p e r to buy the simplest ingredients and put them all together yourself, especially when you don't eat animals, and a lot of the produce is locally grown.
I didn't cook every meal, but it was definitely a fantastic beginning.

Then, Mr Zuben came along. I began paying very close attention to what my body and his were telling me while I was pregnant. I wouldn't call anything about it a craving, I would just sort of mentally and gastricly search for that perfect nutritive balance. I drank a gallon of water a day as well, which I still try to do, and this possibly helped(s) me to keep my nutrients flowing through my body as they should. The greatest significance to all of this was my introduction to beans. I got my hands on a cookbook entirely devoted to beans, and it changed my spin on cooking. This was the point where I possibly, finally, could no longer be classified as anemic. All the fantastic new recipes launched me into grains and seeds, as well as all the wonderful spices and herbs.

My exploration now continues, somewhat linearly, now that I grow most of my veggies (for the whole year), and cook according to what I have on-hand. Here's a pic of our spread after one day of harvesting last summer:

Obviously when this is what you stare at everyday, this is what is cooked, to hopefully make it go away. I am definitely a lot more into cooking it all up this year. We worked VERY hard in the garden last year, and gave too much of it away. I love giving things to people that could possibly make them smile, but it bothered me a little by how much we had to give away last year, because it would spoil otherwise. This year, I am cool with handing out a random squash here and there, or frantically try and sell it on one occasion recently (which is neat to think about). I okay with this, because I am using quite a bit of effort to come up with dishes to make and freeze. I lived off muffins this past semester, in the almost literal sense, but this fall will be much more diverse. Somewhat related to this, I'm trying to write a cookbook for a fundraiser for our ACS Student Affiliates group.

So now that my life has been enveloped from so many directions by produce, and therefore, I'm closer to the ground I walk on which also grows my food, I think this is the area of employment for me. I will not be a cook. That is just for personal meditation and healthful reasons. I will apparently be a chemist. When you think of a chemist, what do you think of beyond the stereotypes? Every single thing that you can experience with your senses has something to do with chemistry, and there are many divisions made from these fascinations of nature that have chemists studying them or manipulating them to "improve a way of life."

This is where I am right now, in my thought process. I'm trying to center in on the focal point to prepare myself for employment as a health-conscious chemist.

P.S. In case anyone would like to offer suggestions for my potential career path, I do not wish to work for a pharmaceutical lab or such. I do not want to make people "think" they are improving their way of life by taking a pill. There are many other types of products made by such companies, but I think I'd like to just not choose that path.


  1. A food scientist! Creating and testing products is super fun! Ever thought about a minor in nutrition? My mentor is a food scientist. She used to teach at MSU and has recently moved to Cof O in Branson but she taught me a lot of what I know and definitely facilitated my creativity with food.

  2. Other than working for a university, did your mentor work anywhere?

  3. Oh heavens yes! She worked for major food companies developing products. She also worked for kraft, the dairy council, ect. She is a registered dietitian too so she has had other jobs related mire to dietetics but her background is food science.