No, I’m not getting married. My husband and I walked down that path almost two and a half years ago now. I know that a lot of people say their wedding day is the best day of their lives, but I wonder how true that really is. It feels like something you’re supposed to say. It wasn’t the best day of my life. I’ve been with my husband for almost seven years now between dating and marriage and I can think of so many other moments, private moments, that we shared together. To tell you the best day of my life? I would have to think long and hard because there are so many to choose from, but I can guarantee it was a moment with him, just the two of us. Today is a day of fear and excitement, and I feel one of the most significant hurdles in my life to date. Today, I turned 30.
For some people age is nothing, but to me 30 has some significance. I’ve always been a planner. A good planner, I don’t know. When my friend and I backpacked through Europe we had it all mapped out–what countries we were going to visit, how long to stay, where to stay, what to see. We planned and saved for nearly two years. But when we got there, things changed. We didn’t visit half of what we planned to visit but saw so much more than we ever thought. When I was in college, I made a list of what I wanted to accomplish before the big 3-0. I wrote it down, in some journal that has since been misplaced in my moving around. But after I wrote it that one time, I never needed to look at it again. It was always with me, in the back of my mind, each item waiting to be checked off one by one.
- Get my masters degree
- Live in at least 5 different states (and maybe someplace international)
- Own a house
- Achieve a management level position
I accomplished one, my master’s degree just 5 months ago. I achieved the management role by 28, but there goes the economy and I’m a bit in between right now. There were things I felt I was supposed to have had by now to make me “successful”. There’s this picture in my mind of what a 30 year old’s life should look like, and part of me feels like I’ve failed.
Yet there are things I have done that I never planned. I never (as in never in my life) planned to get married. Who knew I could put up with someone for that long. Or I guess even more astonishing, who could put up with me? I jumped states a few times in my 20s, but then landed in Brooklyn and can’t find the motivation or desire to leave. I’ve started this blog, a [food] journal if you will that not only lets me talk about food but random tales in between. And that picture of the 30 year old I have in my head? I don’t want that. It’s just not me. I realized I don’t want a house, or the white picket fence in the suburbs. I want an apartment, a neighborhood where I can walk, not drive, to everything I want. I’ve met people, found causes, and fought for my beliefs. Most importantly, while still learning, I’ve figured out a bit more who I am.
It’s still hard to not feel defeated, knowing those items are still unchecked on my list, but maybe that list shouldn’t have been written in pen. Maybe it should have changed as time went on. I’m no longer that same 20 year old. Sure I have parts of her, but I’ve grown and changed. So for 40, maybe I don’t make a list. Maybe I look back in a decade and see what life has brought me, rather than forcing a path.
But wait, this blog is supposed to be about food, you’re thinking. Why did I just read this crazy woman’s rant about turning 30?! Trust me, if there’s one thing I can do is relate anything back to food. So I give you a list (I like lists and plans…). My most memorable food experiences (in no particular order) before 30.
30 in 30 Food Memories
- The bottle of 2000 Chateau St Jean Cinq Cepages I drink to celebrate my acceptance to grad school, not realizing at that point how good (and expensive!) I wine I was gifted
- Visiting all three NY wine regions, then hosting a tasting party with our families and wedding party to select wines for our locavore wedding
- My first real winery tour experience, in Bordeaux, then laying on the grass outside the chateau sipping wine
- Pesto pizza in Levanto, Italy, where they’re known for their intense, flavorful, practically neon green pesto
- The first time I visited the Union Square Greenmarket, not knowing how big a part of my life it would be
- Attending a wine festival in Bremen, Germany and learning that the German red wine is fantastic, they just don’t export the good stuff
- The first time I ate at Blue Hill at Stone Barns where my husband told the waiter to “challenge us” and we ate blowfish and sheep’s brain, among other amazing courses
- My first trip to the North Fork when we didn’t know a thing about NY wines vs now when the wineries feel like home
- Dinner in Quimper, France where they speak zero English and our waiter actually oinked (snorted) at us to let us know pork was one of the specials of the day
- Having dinner at my grandparents’ house as a child, not knowing what I was eating, then going outside to find the rabbits weren’t in their cages anymore
- My first sip of Kona coffee at Greenwell Farms, knowing the extra baggage fee for bringing 15lbs of coffee home was worth it
- Blueberry picking, almost every summer as a child, near Cape Cod; how few blueberries that made it into my bucket vs how many made it to my mouth
- Seeing that Brussels Sprouts grew on a stalk (I never really thought about it before)
- My first Philly Cheesesteak, at Dalessandro’s in Roxborough (Pats and Genos has nothing on them!)
- Having the best feta of my life in a street cafe in Athens, Greece and realizing I could get used to his place
- My grandmother’s potato pancakes as a child, a food that always makes me feel better, no matter how old I get
- The first time I tried sushi, when my friend literally shoved a piece into my mouth, and I was instantly in love
- Learning to can, and how it’s taken over my life!
- When I was about 5 years old and wouldn’t eat my food, my mom threatened to dump the food over my head; and that’s how I ended up with oatmeal in my hair (I cleaned my plate after that)
- Eating mangoes every morning that literally feel from the trees right outside our plantation house in Hawaii
- First Birthday Dinner with my husband at One if By Land, Two if By Sea and having the lightest gnocchi I’ve ever tasted
- Eating the best steak I ever had, topped with a fried egg, smothered with brown gravy and french fries in a small smokey bar in Lisbon, Portugal, at about 2am
- Visiting the Polish Market in Passaic, NJ with my mom and grandmother every Easter weekend as child, then when I moved out on my own, having my own kielbasa waiting for me to take home on Easter morning
- Learning to make my own wine…at a winery, not in a bathtub 🙂
- Eating steak and kidney pie with smooshy peas at my stepfather’s parent’s house in New Castle, Northern Ireland
- The first Bay Ridge Food Co-op meeting I ever attended, the things I’ve learned and more importantly friends I’ve made
- Drinking coffee and eating cheese fries at Tiffany’s Diner (RIP) until 5am during the early days of my husband and my relationship
- Eating Churros con Chocolate on La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain and feeling so cool, until we got the check (a hot chocolate should NOT be 15 euros!)
- Pancakes every Saturday as a child (sometimes Mickey Mouse shaped!) and then not being able to eat pancakes for years after
- 12 course tasting menu with wine pairings at Spago in Maui; it was our honeymoon so we splurged