I Delivered 50 Babies in Scotland

Irena Chalmers, (second from the right) graduation

Irena Chalmers, (second from the right) graduation

Imagine me: a midwife.

At the time, Her Majesty’s Government insisted that a British nurse had to deliver 50 babies before undertaking special training in a specific branch of medicine. Because I wanted to  study neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, (brain and spinal chord), I enrolled as a student at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and after a few months, struggled, alone, through the endless snow  — on my bike — to find the Moms.

I drank a lot of tea.

Waiting.

Thus I learned the labor-intensive process of writing a food book.

My NAME IS…

I just heard a politician say that he is reintroducing himself. (He had recently been released from prison.) “What a good idea!,” I thought.

I’ll do the same thing: the introducing part, not the prison bit.

To begin at the beginning, my name is not Ilona Chompers. It is Irena Chalmers.

I began my professional life as a British nurse and have been caring about the food and the people who eat it or need it for many years.

I’ve worked in and around restaurants, and recreational and professional cooking schools for what seems like forever. Continue reading

Sustainable Cuisine

Food is the common thread that unites us all. It is love made tangible.

No matter what our physical surroundings or our religious and cultural beliefs, we all have many things in common. We all experience the emotions of sorrow and joy, rage and repentance, love and hate, fear and, occasionally, courage.  And everywhere, throughout every part of the world, we gather together to eat and drink at the end of the day. It is this sharing of food that defines us as family and unites us as members of the human family. Continue reading

Recipe for Success: Soup Peddler

David J. Ansel, The Soup Peddler

David J. Ansel, The Soup Peddler

David J. Ansel, the Soup Peddler, wrote this inspirational story for my first Food Jobs book. I loved it then, and think of him whenever I make a pot of soup.

“A scant three years and four months ago, an idea occurred to me whilst sitting on a porch swing at a magical house in South Austin, Texas. What if I could make a living cooking food and taking it to people’s homes? At my wits end with trying to figure out anything I could do for a living instead of being a mediocre computer programmer, I figured it was worth a try. Continue reading

Great Food Jobs 2 A Winner

Gourmand AwardI just received the astonishing news that Great Food Jobs 2: Ideas & Inspirations for Your Job Hunt has received the 2013 Gourmand Special Award of the Jury, having competed with books from countries all over the world in the category of Careers and Vocational Guidance for Food Professionals. It is currently shortlisted in the Gourmand Best Book in the World for Food Professionals Award too!

Great Food Jobs 2 can best be described as an almanac of eminently useful career guidance mixed with tasty bites of utterly useless gastronomical nonsense, including weird sushi combinations and odd bakery names such as “Nice Buns.”

It is a companion to Food Jobs: Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers. Both publications should be viewed as complementary but completely separate from each other. Great Food Jobs 2’s content is entirely new and original.

I wrote my first single subject cookbook in 1969. It contained only 48 pages. The retail price way back then was $1.50. Today, the Kindle version of Great Food Job 2 is $7.69 for 355 pages or $17.95 if you prefer to clasp the book in your hands.

It’s taken all this time for me to realize I’m still writing single subject books whether in the form of A-Z Almanacs or A-Z Ideas and Inspirations for Culinary Careers.

Great Food Jobs 2 was written to inform and entertain, to give as a gift to a food job seeker or job seeker in general.

I most sincerely hope you will pick it up, read it and review it. It is my life’s work.

Cordially,
Irena

Searching for a Sustainable Cuisine

farmed-and-dangerousTo spread their message of “food with integrity,” Chipotle is launching a television comedy series on Hulu. The four program episodes are titled Farmed and Dangerous and, according to their press release, takes a satirical look at industrial agriculture.

“The series follows a fictional industrial giant called Animoil that develops a new petroleum-based animal feed called PetroPellet. The product promises to reduce factory farm dependence on oil by eliminating the need to grow, irrigate, fertilize and transport vast amounts of feed needed to raise livestock. There’s only one downside: the cows that eat the pellets have a tendency to explode (with cheap but amusing special effects).”

Sustainable agriculture is to farming what recycling is to manufacturing. Everyone is for it, as long as it is Continue reading