It came to me randomly last night while I was flipping through my new Julia Child book on why I love French cooking. To say it's a challenge is rhetorical, but I mean it in a different context.
I often long for the days I spent time in the Algonquin back-country; it was a time where I could get back in touch with nature and myself. I learned a lot about myself on those trips (survival, endurance, limits, ingenuity of ideas for varying contexts). I pushed myself (at times I had to if I was alone). Somehow French cooking allows me to do that. You have to focus on technique, not rushing, multitasking, thinking ahead about the end product. I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton of other adjectives. It's sometimes complex in execution, but not always in taste (the flavours melding and complementing each other). It gives me a chance to work in uncharted territory, perfect my techniques in cooking and improve my product (I'm still mastering Tarte au Citron; next will be Round 3. Lemon tart: 2, Jody: 0). And I have to do it ALL ON MY OWN. I haven't been asking for help; which isn't to say I don't need it - I'd just rather try to teach myself first. I've often excelled or become comfortable with things because of being self-taught (the by-product of being an only child, I often think) and this is no different.
I'm anxious (in a good way) that it seems I'm slowly entering the culinary world. I'm trepidatious (my last career start failed) so I'm going in baby steps. Might be the best way anyways, right?
Baking today for dinner with friends tonight. I'm convinced I'll need a nap before I go out; I'm still recovering from the weekend. Zzzzzz...