Archive for February, 2011
Hi, all. Report from week 4 of culinary school: The past two Wednesdays were our cook tech classes. That means that we actually got to do some cooking. Pretty basic stuff, but we’re getting into the fun part of things.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was one of the stewards for class, which entailed getting all the needed foodstuffs and prepping them. We get a list of items, which the school stewards check off as they place each item in a bucket, and the class stewards pick up the bucket from storage. We go through the list to make sure that everything we’re supposed to get is accounted for. That gets a little tricky for someone who may not know all their fruits and vegetables.
Now, I’m pretty good at identifying produce, so I pretty much took control of the list and checking things off once we got the items into the class. Included in Saturday’s class were cherimoyas, and when I called them by their name (as in, “cherimoyas, check”), my fellow steward asked me why I was there. She meant it in a nice way. In other words, if I know so much, why am I taking these classes? Well, because I don’t know a lot of things. I went into this subject in a previous blog, but I’m bringing it up again because I suspect that I will be humbled by these classes. In fact, I already have been.
One of the things that bothers me about “classic” French and Japanese cooking techniques is that in order to make perfect shapes, as those cuisines require, a lot of food is wasted. For example, to make matchsticks or julienne, you must cut away the vegetable until you get flat sides. All that is cut away gets tossed. To me, this is wasteful. I mean, who cares if my dice is perfectly square? Who cares if the strips of julienne carrot adorning my plate are perfectly straight? Sure, it makes for a beautiful presentation, but so does my way of cooking.
I just don’t cook like that, and neither do the members of my family. I cook rustic food, I use the entire vegetable (or whatever), and it still looks beautiful. I’m aware that this is part of my upbringing and background. I was taught that food is not to be wasted, and while I don’t believe in forcing yourself to finish a plate of food if you’re not inclined to, neither do I believe in willfully throwing away food because it doesn’t conform to an über-beautiful ideal of food presentation either. As the old cliché goes, there are starving children in the world, and it’s a shame to waste food. By the same token, I would never dream of just throwing out old clothes rather than donating them (unless they’re in really bad shape, in which case, we’re moving into different psychological territory). I think that it’s taking for granted what we are fortunate enough to have.
But, for now, I will practice my French knife skills, I will agonize (and I do mean agonize) over each and every cut I make, and I will strive to learn to make those perfect little cuts. I have to…I will be tested on it. I shall conquer zee batonettes!
Have a wonderful week, everyone.
Why? Because it’s Drink Wine Day. Yep, it’s an actual holiday giving you reason/cause/excuse to drink your favorite grape. Considering how hard I’ve been working lately between my job and culinary school, and the really exhausting winter it’s been, I need to unwind. So, I plan on drinking lots of wine tonight. I don’t have school tomorrow so it’s okay if I get loopy. I can sleep it off.
I’m sure that the holiday was created by the wine industry, but I say, “So?” I see nothing wrong with it. So, get a fine bottle, a nice glass, and make a toast–even if you’re alone–to the hard work you’ve put in lately, or whatever it is you’d like to toast. How about just to life? I’d say that’s a good enough reason, don’t you?
Salut! Skol! Cheers! Chin chin!
This past Saturday was my first full day at culinary school. We got down to actual learning business: food safety, the parts of a knife, and French cuts. It was a really long day but at the end of it, I felt good. Tired but good.
In response to my cooking experience, someone said to me at the lunch break, jokingly, “So all that stuff this morning must have been really fascinating for you.” My response was that I was sure I’d learn a thing or two and that you can’t possibly know everything. And it’s true. No one can know everything about a subject. There’s always something new to learn.
Hi, all. Well, my first day of culinary school finally arrived. Like any first day of any school or job, it was all about orientation. We went over policies, procedures, requirements, assignments, etc. As I sat there with all this material in front of me, I thought, “I haven’t been a student in a really, really long time.” It was slightly overwhelming for me.
The bulk of the class (14 students in total) was made up of very young people and at least one was fresh out of college. So classes, projects, and assignments are not that far in their pasts. For me, it’s another story. I’m going to have to reach far back to grab hold of my student days to get into the groove. And between my work schedule, commute, and writing, it’s going to be quite a ride. Oh, and I’ll have to do the laundry once in a while. Not sure when that’s going to happen, though.
Now, on to more food holidays!