Nikki is another one of my favorite Twitter success “stories”. She and I share a love of tech, social and food! We seem to run into each other at functions that involve food more than anywhere else and I think that’s a whole lotta awesome. She always has an awesome story and has been known to keep a scandalous secret or two about people in our town.. but she won’t tell. Ever. She just sent her audition tape off to the Food Network to be a contestant on The Next Food Network Star and when she makes it, the Rooster and I will be right there cheering her on.
The past seven years my life has revolved around food. Morning, noon and night, my thoughts and feelings all surround food. And nothing else. I can’t think about anything else. I don’t have any children, but I can only imagine this is what it’s like: constantly having something you love caressing, swirling, squeezing your inner most thoughts and feelings, making you feel like you were put on this earth to help nurture it and make sure it grows. I hope I don’t offend anyone by correlating children
to my obsessive love and admiration of food, but it comes from a good place. I promise.
Every night, my grandma made dinner with a meat, two vegetables and bread. More often than not, the bread was cornbread or biscuits. That food memory is what inspires me to cook. She used nothing but cast-iron skillets and a set of Visionware (that mysteriously disappeared piece by piece over the years—mainly after holiday family gatherings). I was interested in cooking but instead of standing side-by-side matching Grandma stir-for-stir, I snuck into the kitchen in the wee early morning hours on Saturdays when the adults were asleep. I’d pretend I was the Galloping Gourmet and gestured to an invisible audience beyond the kitchen walls. One fine Saturday, I forgot about my egg, grape juice and mashed potato… concoction… in the oven and black smoke billowed from the kitchen, and the smell was gawd-awful. My punishment: I had to eat what I’d made. It wasn’t so bad. It turns out that runny egg yolks are trendy… 25 years later. I wasn’t allowed to be
unsupervised in the kitchen for another 4 years and even then, I was relegated to cheese toast, Carnation Instant Breakfast and microwaved bacon.
These days I cook much more than microwaved bacon. My food blog, Nik Snacks, chronicles my life as a home cook mixed with my professional life and all of the food, drink and travel in it. It’s my creative outlet and I get to do what I want, because it’s mine! Nothing is burning, burnt, mixed with grape juice or mashed potatoes (although that MIGHT be good, given some creativity and a slab of bacon). It’s my passion, my lifeblood. It’s what I created from scratch. It’s my baby.
When I started, I didn’t know how it was going to look or where it was going. I took a leap and let the letters and photos fall as they may. To get this to this point, it was a great big bag of the clichés’: hard work and dedication. Sweat, blood and tears colored my road to and through culinary school. It was the hardest, dirtiest, most grueling, life-sucking, most wonderful, glorifying, uplifting experience
of my life. I went through every emotion in the book to receive that 8″X11″ piece of paper that tells the world money was exchanged for education.
When I was an enthusiastic English education major at East Carolina University, I dreamt of my grandma’s cast iron. I’d planned to teach high school students and unlock potential… blah blah blah.
I really just wanted to bang on the drums all day. I wanted to cook. I’d lament to my roommate that I wanted to change my major to Hospitality Management so I could “be around food.” I dismissed my thoughts because I didn’t know that you could follow your passion and love what you do for a living.
I don’t need a Grand Diplome to tell people I am a good cook. I never have. But every time I think I want to sail about a little and see the watery part of the world, I think of my grandma’s cast iron skillets, take it out of the cabinet and take it with me on a food adventure.
Nikki writes about food, restaurants and everything in between on her blog, Nik Snacks. Bite it and write it, that’s what she does. When she’s not eating, she is private chef, a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours and a guest chef and lecturer at Best Health in Winston-Salem. Her blog can be found at http://niksnacks.blogspot.com