I had a truly frightening dream the other night. Instead of writing, I’d decided to quit the biz and enroll in culinary school.

And as I was getting ready for my first day of my new career, I was sweating bullets because I was convinced I’d forgotten how to use a whisk.

Really, a whisk?

Thankfully, when I woke up, all was right with the world, and I had a writing deadline that morning to prove it.

Now anyone who knows me well knows how much I enjoy cooking. Hands down, it’s one of my favorite hobbies. Not only am I a bonafide Food Network junkie, but I read cookbooks just for the sheer fun of it, fawn over a ball of fresh mozzarella as if it were my own child and can’t wait to get to a new city just to see what its restaurant scene is like.

But as much as I love to cook, I’m not likely to make an actual career out of it. I mean I have no interest in learning how to take a chicken apart properly (ewww!) or making my own pastry without the help of my food processor, so I’m guessing culinary school probably isn’t for me.

I must say it was pretty fun living vicariously through Katherine Darling’s experience in Under the Table, though. Without even getting my apron dirty, I got all the benefits of a culinary education without any of the hassle. Like me, Katherine used to work in publishing. But one day, she decided to jump ship (probably not a bad idea considering how bad the biz is in NYC these days) and try to parlay her love of cooking into an actual profession.

And I couldn’t give her more props for doing so because that’s a gutsy thing to do—especially when you have to go into some serious debt to do so. Unlike Julie & Julia, Katherine doesn’t learn to cook the French way by whipping through her copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Instead, she goes the old-school route and has the memories of many wrecked omelets to prove it.

While there’s nothing particularly flashy about Katherine’s actual writing style, she does know her way around a good story, and there are plenty of memorable ones along the way. That, along with some mouth-watering descriptions of what she’s making (complete with a few great recipes to boot) make this a really engaging read. So if you’re into foodie memoirs, I’d highly recommend it.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, however, I’m still glad my dream was just a dream. I’m not sure I’m professional cooking material—even if I do feel pretty confident with a whisk. 🙂