Crash and Burn

Dear Auntie Em,

I’m a senior graduating soon and my plan was to go to grad school. I got denied from all my choice schools and now have to find other options. I feel like a failure and can’t tell my friends. And now I wrote to you. No offense. Please help me.

Crash and Burn


Dear Crash and Burn,

I take no offense. I remember I loved Julia Child more than anything for her foody savoir faire. She didn’t get into school on her first try. But she didn’t need a recipe to fill the ravenous either.

I did not want to tell my friends when I was thrown from her culinary school during entrance exams. I worried they would cast asparagus on my cooking skills. But when they found out, they baked me pastries. Though I doubt your friends can contend with Sally’s schneken or Frances’ frangipane, I bet their support would be just as sweet. Misery loves company, honey—don’t forgo your friends.

Degrees can help you, but they can’t make you. Take my first husband Charles, for example. The man had an M.D, J.D, P.H.D. He made enough money for his single-malt, sure, but at the end of his life that’s all he had to keep him warm—signed diplomas and whiskey. I stopped spooning with him after his specialization in cardiology proved unable to keep my heart racing.

Yes, it is disappointing when the path before you closes. But it is not always best to follow paths, to follow the cooking recipe. Sometimes, it is best to set out where there is no path and leave a trail behind you.

Keep cooking,

Auntie Em