>Risk. And a Recipe for Charred Chard Pizza


Friends, I need your help.
I’m at a bit of a crossroads, and I’m not sure what to do.
I feel a little bit like I’ve spent the last twelve years of my life holding my breath.
Don’t get me wrong – personally I’m happier than I’ve ever been.  I love my children, I love my husband, I love our family.
Professionally, however, I’m stuck.  
Twelve years ago, I went through a bit of a life crisis.  I was in graduate school, studying theoretical linguistics and working toward a master’s degree in phonetics.  I spent my days teaching college freshmen the basics of language and parsing vocal recordings of some of the last speakers of an ancient form of Mixtec.  In the midst of all of this, I suffered a bit of a personal betrayal, and a good portion of my idealistic academic belief system flew out the window.  I no longer cared about knowledge for knowledge’s sake.  All I could think about was getting as far away from that world as possible.  

The world was an ugly and lonely place, and I wanted something steady and reliable to counteract that reality.  I wanted a paycheck and a roof over my head.  I craved stability.  I didn’t want to postulate or theorize anymore.  
So for six years, I worked in retail management.  And for six years after that, I worked in non-profit fundraising.  And I did a good job.  But it wasn’t my passion.
Three weeks ago, I did a scary thing.  I took a risk for the first time in a really long time.  I gave notice at my current job without having anything lined up to take its place.  I was able to do this because of the stability I have in my personal life, but it’s still a little bit frightening.
You see, taking risks is not something I do very well.  I’ve been taught my whole life to hedge my bets, to always have a backup plan.  Not knowing what I want to do when I grow up?  At 36?  With two small children? Is terrifying.
Do you watch Parenthood? I had a chance to catch up on this past Wednesday’s episode this morning, and I found myself (once again) identifying with Lauren Graham’s character.  She’s working as a bartender, and goes to talk to the owner about becoming a manager in the hopes that it will help stabilize her life.  She, too, is trying to figure out what she wants to do when she grows up.  
At the same time, she has written something that she feels pretty good about, and wants her romantic interest (Jason Ritter’s character, who also happens to be her daughter’s English teacher) to read it.  She gets up the courage to take it to him, but at the last minute tries to chicken out because she’s not sure it’s good enough.  He convinces her to let him read it, and she reluctantly leaves it with him, all the while muttering self-deprecating things under her breath.  
When he returns it to her, she immediately launches into an apologetic diatribe, assuming he’s going to give her some generic praise, but in the end is going to reveal that it’s no good. 
This is where I felt like I was watching myself.  Watching this woman squirm, automatically assuming that nothing she does is quite good enough, always afraid that she’s not quite going to measure up.  I know that feeling.  I know that fear of wanting to try something new, but not knowing how or where to start.  
And when he reveals that he loved it, and he calls her a playwrite?  I cried.  The look of shock and surprise and disbelief on her face was priceless.  And then to watch it melt into relief and maybe even a little bit of pride? I hope to have that reaction to someone’s praise one day.  
I hope to find that one thing that I’m good at that also fulfills me on some base level.  
And I’m working on it.  You’ve probably noticed, if you read this blog on a regular basis, that I’m passionate about food and feeding my family well.  And that I’m also interested in encouraging others to do the same.  And that I like to write about it.
Not sure how to translate that into a job, or a career, but there it is.  I’m taking the plunge.  I’m putting it out there in the universe, and hoping that I’ll figure it out soon.  I’m hoping that the risk pays off in the end.
As for you, friends?  Positive thoughts would be helpful.  Good vibes sent my way would be appreciated.  I feel really good about this decision, but I’m also really nervous about what the future holds.  And in case I haven’t said it recently – I really do value each and every person who reads this blog.  Your feedback and comments make my day.  And if you read and don’t comment?  That’s okay too – I’m just glad you stopped by.
As for the food – I’m still cooking and still sharing that with you here.  In fact, here’s a yummy pizza we had the other night.  I had some lovely rainbow chard from our produce box that I needed to use, so I shredded it up and put it on top of the pizza.  And it was wonderful.  Letting it get a little too brown (charred chard) made it even better. 

For a printable recipe of this Charred Chard Pizza, click here.


10 thoughts on “>Risk. And a Recipe for Charred Chard Pizza

  1. >Good luck with everything. I'm sending a lot of positive thoughts in your direction. I have so much respect for your approach to food and family and think that your perspective has great value. I have truly enjoyed reading this blog (I check daily for updates)and look forward to seeing more from you. Way to follow your passions!

  2. >I feel in much the same place as you are, and have been wanting to find a creative way to incorporate my passions (music, food, writing, photography) into something of my own that could generate income. I'm looking forward to seeing where your new path will lead you-good for you for taking the risk and following your heart.P.S. The Chard pizza sounds really good-I bet the crumbly crispiness of the chard was a very nice contrast with the creamy goat cheese.

  3. >First, your pizza looks great. Second, I commend you for leaving a job that makes you unhappy. I am only 24 and have already left a field where I made a lot of money to do something I love. People ask me why all of the time. It's hard to explain. I was 20 and bringing in more money then people I knew much older and more well off then myself. And I left and have never looked back from it. I do not have stability yet. A husband or family but I know that I was unhappy in the job I was in. I felt like a bird in a cage three sizes too small. My wings itched every single day but there was nothing I could do. Since leaving I have discovered that the money never meant anything to me and I can live happily on much less. I like who I am when I come home from work. I love what I do. I love the people I interact with on a day to day basis. These are the things that are important to me. If my life changes and I need a more realistic income, I know I can earn one, but until that change is necessary – I am going to ride this out. So I applaud your bravery and wish you all the happiness you can find. And once again, sorry for the long winded response.

  4. >It's not easy to be at that crossroads. My husband is contemplating leaving his IT field so we can build our family business together. Once he does there's no going back! It's pretty scary leaving the field you study for to do something totally different. Doing what you love is so fulfilling though-I pray God will guide you to be able to combine both.

  5. >First – how much notice did you give? (IE: When are you free, my friend?)Second – you're amazing at anything when it comes to food. Your wisdom and ability to translate SCARY FOOD into New and Different Taste Sensations has changed my life. Seriously – do you think I ever would have been so encouraging to B10 to eat stuff, if it wasn't for you? Do you know that I prefer SPINACH salad now? I wouldn't have TRIED spinach if it wasn't for you.I only represent 5 people – but I know you can (have the ability) and will (have the drive) to change the lives of many more.I love you and miss you!

  6. >Pizza looks yum! And I would love love love to be able to take the plunge you've taken – what's holding me back? My husband makes more than I do so its not about the money but I am the benefits carrier for our family. I'm about to leave in 2 months for maternity leave (giving birth to our 2nd child) and I would love to not have to return in the fall. I'm jealous you could take the plunge because I'm tethered to my career for health insurance. But if you think of a solution you know where to find me – and who knows maybe putting it out there will help me too

  7. I’m trying your recipe tonight! I got to the assembly part and noticed mozzarella, but there’s no mozzarella listed with the ingredients. About how much would you recommend?

      1. Great, thanks. I ended up just sprinking enough to cover the tomato spread. Probably about 8 oz…

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