food (and wine) for fun

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Credited to Confucius–much-quoted Chinese philosopher–this line first grabbed me shortly after college. What would it be like to enjoy your profession so much that it didn’t seem like work? Choosing a job didn’t seem an option; I was a new grad and just wanted someone to hire me.

Someone eventually did and I went on to hold a number of positions (food scientist, baker, coffee shop manager) before going out on my own. Yet through it all, I’ve only worked food jobs. And I can say without reservation that following your passion leads to doing what you love. And when you do what you love, it rarely seems like work.

My opening quote came to mind as I thought back on my day. Lunch was spent with a good friend, also a former client, at Wilde Roast Cafe, a Minneapolis spot known for first-rate food. My open-face tilapia sandwich was tasty and the creamy pumpkin soup plenty creamy. The kicker was dessert: carrot cake and a scoop of Surly (as in beer) gelato. Wow. (Not had on this visit, but highly recommend any of the Alaskan beers.)

The fun continued at tonight’s Twin Cities Home Economists in Business meeting. This professional organization held its kickoff fall meeting at Warehouse Winery and because it seemed the perfect date venue, I asked my husband to accompany. We enjoyed nibbles and sips as the winery staff led us through six food-and-wine pairings. From a white wine paired with cheese and crackers to a deep, dark Cabernet alongside Parmesan-stuffed mushrooms, the wines were robust and bold. The winery itself was a hidden Minneapolis gem. Housed in an industrial park (and what was formerly a motor-repair shop), its walls sported crazy-fun art along with plenty of product.

Warehouse Winery wall

pop art looks right at home alongside wine-making equipment

Next stop was a Costco next to the winery (what’s a date night without a Costco run?) and I was thrilled to find Kerry Gold butter. After this butter was recommended by a foodie colleague, I’ve tried to always have it on hand. When our neighborhood Costco stopped carrying it, I was dreading the opening of our final package. But tonight I go to sleep knowing we have six more boxes stacked in our freezer.

Irish butter–pure gold for baking or spreading

The food fun continued when I returned home to a gift of European chocolate bars from my Wilde Roast lunch friend. She’d recently taken a trip to Ireland and was kind enough to bring me two stunning postcards and six amazing candy bars. Thanks, Mary!

pretty postcards from Valvona & Crolla–famous Edinburgh food market

candy bars from UK and Ireland–can’t wait to dive in

I’ll finish the day off by reading a chapter or two from Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man, a biography of Clarence Birdseye, the man credited with inventing the frozen food industry we know today. This may not sound like a page-turner, but Birdseye was a thinker, innovator, and all-around adventurer. I’d consider myself lucky if I accomplished even one-fourth of what he did in his lifetime.

My accomplishments will likely be less momentous than Birdseye’s, but I still count myself lucky to be surrounded by all things food. In my world, there are few lines between work and play and the same can be said for colleagues and friends. Confucious would most certainly approve.

Thoughts?

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