Introducing our New Column: Tonoli Talk

Column Teaser
Photo courtesy of Amanda Tonoli

I am a compulsive burner of food. There, I said it. It has been eating away at me. Or rather, the burnt bits of all the attempted meals I’ve made have been — I can’t imagine food-turned-charcoal is particularly good for one’s stomach lining.

As a woman, I know where my place is — definitely not the kitchen. One time, when I was 16, my stepfather asked my then boyfriend’s parents if they had medical insurance.

He was referring to the fact that I was cooking that night.

So, where is my place? It’s here: in writing, mostly for me, but also for you. Without this outlet and being able to complain about

burnt food and group projects — we all know the horror of working with others — I might actually lose my sanity.

Right now, my place is also working at a coffee shop. One of those trendy, “you’re-
not-a-writer-unless-someone-sees-you-typing-on-your-overpriced-laptop-sipping-on-five-dollar-coffee” coffee shops. A lot of my writing comes from working there. It is a phenomenal location for people watching.

Working in customer service, like so many of my fellow college students, is enough to make you a well-rounded person — and have a newfound intolerance for stupidity.

“What may I ask is on the ham, egg and Swiss croissant?”

Well, exactly those ingredients (insert eye roll).

Or the best one I’ve gotten yet:

“Are there blueberries in the blueberry oatmeal?”

I had to refer someone else to answer that question, because I simply felt overqualified to speak to that individual any longer.

So maybe my place isn’t exactly in the customer/food service either. But that’s the joy of doing what I do. The discovery of each thing I don’t have a knack for is a life experience. And in each life experience I gain, I find material to write. I’m documenting the best years of my life, and it is all thanks to those that make me realize, “wow, my place is definitely not working with those who have to question if blueberries come in the blueberry oatmeal.”

Just like cooking, as I search for my place, I had better find some way to nourish myself in my actual adult life (since my college years are my fake adult years) or else I might die from only eating burnt waffles — which are my least favorite of the burnt food group.

My passions just happened to pitch me head first into the only career that may pay less than food service — writing. So here I am I suppose, just a girl standing in front of any number of anonymous college readers asking them to love me, or, at the very least, to keep reading my column.