Jackie did her “time” on the floor of some of New York’s better dining establishments. She’d never call it her finest hour, but it paid the bills.
“Waitressing. Hiss. Snarl. Boo—12 years later, I still have the nightmares. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very necessary profession and there are people who do it very well, it just wasn’t for me. I’ve never had great things to say about my experience except that it paid for two very important things, singing lessons and FOOD!!! I traveled to eat.”
Culinary adventuring took Jackie around the U.S. and Europe. Every new city would find her in the restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, food shops, etc.—anywhere there was eating to be done.
“I remember the first time I went to Fauchon in Paris. One word: AMAZING!!! All the beautiful food in the windows. Little works of art. When I needed kidney beans to make a pot of chili con carne for my French friends, Fauchon was the only place that sold them. The saleswoman wrapped each can in Fauchon paper before putting it in the shopping bags. Outrageous. Overpriced. But totally worth it.”
Jackie ate her way around, following her tongue, literally sucking down the culture.
“Sightseeing actually aids digestion. Museums are where you go to kill time till you get hungry again. That’s after you’ve exhausted all the house tours, the restaurant window shopping, spying in cafes, watching the natives eat, grocery stores and, of course, the markets. Give me a great market—stalls bursting with fantastic produce, deli counters teeming with unusual preserved goodies, and I’m in heaven—even the canned goods are exciting when you’re in a foreign country. New worlds of fantastic food possibilities! You always see things you’ve never seen before. I do have to draw the line in certain countries. I’m no Anthony Bourdain. Some Asian markets get a little too graphic for me. I cover my eyes, like I do when I see roadkill.”