Saturday, December 15, 2012

Soldiering On

You know how there are those certain events in your life in which, when they happen, you know you change in a little, tiny, nearly imperceptible way?

The news of the shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut is one of those events for me.  My heart hurts desperately for every single one of those families that will not have their little ones with them at Christmas.

I can't even think of how to reconcile the shooter's actions with what I've believed to be true in this world.  I used to think there were some things that were sacred...that nobody, no matter how sick, would knowingly shoot people in a mall or a church or a school... or any place little kids were.  All of that has been shattered...where are the safe places now?

Every day I understand this world less and less...and I know I'm not meant to.  Things unfold as they should.  But I wonder how I go on from here.  Is it disrespectful to those who've died if I say I want to turn off my computer, internet, the news...and bake gingerbread cookies?  A sweet potato cheesecake?  That I want to try making crepes?

These are things I would have liked to post about here...but somehow it feels like I'm burying my head in the sand.  So, we just carry on.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Better Late Than Not At Any Time

Well, aren't I a bit dilatory?  I could offer a hundred excuses on why I've not posted for a few weeks, but I won't waste your time.  I just haven't posted here...that's all.

What's new:

I'm still enrolled in culinary arts school.  I've just finished the third week of the second term.  My 4.0 GPA first term was enough to land me on the President's List, and I'm motivated to keep that streak alive.

Second term looks like this:

Garde Manger
Cold Food Principles
Culinary Nutrition
Food Service Lab 2
Introduction to Business

The classical culinary arts definition of the French phrase "Garde Manger" is something along the lines of "food produced in the cold kitchen".  This broad interpretation includes: salads, salad dressings, cold sauces and soups, sandwiches, charcuterie (cold meats), condiments, pickled and marinated foods, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, pates and terrines.

So yeah, the first six weeks of this class has been and will be productive.  Every day I and my classmates are preparing a recipe out of our textbooks.  The first week was vegetables, and I tackled:

Roasted Garlic Crostini
Stir-fried Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms
Brussel Sprouts in Pecan Butter
Butternut Squash Puree
(As you can see, none of these dishes were "cold" dishes...per the definition of Garde Manger, but alas...)

Week two was Salads and Salad dressings: Chantilly sauce, Orange and Pineapple Salad with Boiled Dressing, Endive, Apple, and Gorgonzola Salad, and Mango Chicken Chutney Salad.

Next week is Hors d'oeuvres, and I've got Rumaki!

I can't say I'm learning a lot (although some, mostly from mine and my classmates' mistakes), but it's great that the first two and a half hours every morning fly by because we're doing something!

Culinary Nutrition is the class that is blowing my mind right now.  I've done my share of reading about food and health: Gary Taubes, Marion Nestle, Michael Pollan, etc. etc.  But the pure straight up fact and science behind nutrition (and our messed-up choices) really amaze me...and I hope to share my insights soon.  Our instructor had us do this fabulously visual lab on the sugar, sodium, and fat found in ordinary food.  Sometime I will duplicate it and post about it's too awesome not to. 

Hm.  Yeah...well.  I think my holiday eating will look a little different this year.