I thought I knew what I was doing (and I did to a certain degree), but then suddenly I'm looking every which way, holding my hands up to my head and wondering what on earth is going on.
I've been walking along, head held high, self-assured, confident that I've explored every path, comfortable in my neck of the woods. I know what lurks in those shadows and I know to steer clear of them. I've even navigated people around this land and shown them the many wonders.
Then one day I decide to walk to the edge. Except there's no edge and I come across this amazing expanse of unexplored grounds. It's exciting but I'm out of my depth. It rambles and roams, then I come across twists and sudden changes. I'm lost and very confused.
You see, that's what happens when one day you decide that you want to be a food writer. You want to be taken seriously and you want to be good at what you do, so you study journalism and train as a chef. You get taught that flavour, technique and presentation are paramount.
(I didn't enjoy the training and I never ever wanted to be a chef. But I did it anyway, because it took me where I wanted to go. Once I was there, I talked about the things that mattered to me the most: food with a story, provenance, husbandry, seasonality, people who understand...)
But there's another dimension to it all.
Trouble is, it's mind-boggling. But I've started anyway. A lovely friend of mine feels quite at home here in this new-to-me land, and two weeks ago gave me a tablespoon of kefir grains. Ke-what?
I was ke-what! myself until about two months ago (for some reason lacto-fermented foods don't quite hit the glamour mark in magazine spreads). Fast forward to today and we're drinking kefir smoothies every afternoon, I'm grinding my own buckwheat and spelt grain and I made coconut mayonnaise for our caesar salad this evening.
For now, I'm working on educating myself. I'm reading. Too much some might say. And I'm off to a lacto-fermentation workshop in Sydney this weekend by Stirring Change. There are still spaces available in Cultured III, which teaches you everything you need to know about making cultured condiments from scratch.
I'll share with you my insights very soon, including why I'm finding it so boggling, and why I'm pressing ahead regardless. I'll also share the conclusions I'm slowly drawing as I make my way through this mad, but quite riveting, new world.
How about you? Have you entered this new world yet? Does what I'm saying make any sense at all? Or are you quite happy with the path you're on?