Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vodka, Strawberry Wine & Another Week of Class

Between the homework, quizzes, cakes and alcohol, last week was a blur!  Wait a minute.  That sounds bad. I am not an alcoholic!  Breathe, Pento readers. The only alcohol I consumed last week was a bottle of NyQuil, and no, it wasn't all in one night.   It was spread over a few days of congested discomfort and crazy sleep patterns - thus the blur and lack of posts.  It's still a little foggy, but let me try to bring you up to speed.

Okay. Class first. The 'Controlling Foodservice Costs' course made me work harder mentally than I have in a long time. The classroom sessions are finally over and we finished that particular textbook, but we were unable to take the online exam for certification on Friday. Basically it was a computer glitch, and we will have to take the test when the issue is resolved - which hopefully won't be long.  I barely had a grasp of the information to begin with, and now we've already had a three-day weekend to forget the stuff (Happy Valentine's Day and Presidents Day by the way).

Also during the last week, it seems that I found myself in an unspoken competition in regards to scores.  One classmate in particular seems very interested in my progress and has gone so far as to pick up my face down paper to verify the score I had just told her (she asked). I was a little shocked. Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy a little competition, but I'm more concerned with learning all I can over the next eight months than with having the best scores in the class. Wait.  Who am I kidding? I love to win and plan to do so.  Bring it, sister. I'll know more of our placement after tomorrow when we should receive the scores for our projects. My next post will either be filled with masked gloating or sad rambling on the injustice of instructor favoritism and foul play.

And while we are discussing instructors, I need to say that I may have originally judged last week's chef/teacher too harshly.  Yes, he was strict, but it was appreciated in the end. He laid the smack down when necessary and verbalized some of my very thoughts concerning professionalism. At one point he actually suggested a student attempt to return to elementary school. He gave his rules and stuck to them. Multiple students were locked out of the room when they arrived late.   Thankfully I wasn't one of them. As far as his temper goes, we learned that he has a colicy four week old at home, so I completely sympathize with him. Nothing makes me go from Mr. Nice Guy to Mr. I Want To Hit Something faster than a screaming child.

Other notable events from school last week include tasting bread pudding for the first time and a Valentine's bake sale by the same group who gave us cake a few days earlier. The bread pudding was a chocolate cherry version and was pleasant.  I was only given one bite, but I would have accepted a second and third. The bake sale had some great looking desserts and some less than desirable looking 'savory' cheesecakes.  Ingredients for these included dried tomato and cayenne pepper among other things.  Needless to say they didn't get my money.  I'll change subjects now before my lack of culture shines through.

I went to a liquor store on Thursday evening.  This was a first for me, and I was clueless.  So much for hiding my lack of culture (does knowing your way around a liquor store prove culture or just that you may have a drinking problem?). I wasn't there for a drink.  I went to get some vodka, but it was for a birthday cake. I've been wanting to know how to paint on fondant, and the answer is vodka.   Mix the vodka with the food coloring gel to make a paint. The alcohol in the vodka evaporates very rapidly and leaves behind the color without hurting the fondant. I tried it (the painting - not the vodka) with not terrible results.  It was far from perfect, but I'll post a picture of the cake and an analysis in the next day or two.

Back to the liquor store.  It didn't smell as bad as I thought it would.  There were a number of vodkas to choose from after I asked the salesperson for assistance in finding them. In the end I went with a cheap 100 proof even though the more expensive brands had much better looking bottles.  This was difficult since I'm a sucker for presentation.  Buying the cheap one just seemed more responsible given my current employment situation.   I swiped my card, prayed that it would go through and made my way out the door with a brown paper bag in hand and a classic country song on my mind (she said I'm gonna hire a wino to decorate your cake...).

As stated earlier this was a three day weekend.  There was no class today, so I was able to go to lunch with some old friends from the corporate world.  It was great to see them again, but lunch felt hurried and left me missing them.  An hour isn't long enough to really catch up, and as much as we say we will keep in touch, the signs of separation are already visible. Two didnt show. On the way home I couldn't help but think of a line from another song.  Deana Carter sings Strawberry Wine, and it says 'a few cards and letters and one long distance call. We drifted away like the leaves in the fall'. It seemed fitting, so I bought the song on iTunes while driving and then came home and finished off that bottle of Vodka while Deana sang in the background. Not really, but it was a bit of a somber moment.  I'm holding out hope that our tentative plans to meet up again soon pan out. If not I guess there is always Facebook.

Before I close - some exciting news!   We finally get to leave the classroom and enter the kitchen this week!   I'm pumped and will provide pictures and commentary as frequently as possible.

Oh! One more thing. I may have created a slight problem for myself. A classmate asked if I could pick her up for school and drive her home afterward.  Each day. In my typical can't say no manner, I agreed.  The issue is that I'll have to leave early every morning.  I don't mind picking her up at all.   It's the earlier morning that may get me. We'll see how tomorrow goes, but we may have to rethink this.   Maybe I could drop her off after class if her husband takes her in the mornings, or I could just charge her a few burritos a week to compensate for the missed sleep.

Talk about some happy grubbing.

1 comment:

  1. I find myself laughing out loud (literally) more than once when I read your posts. Maybe you should write a book. =)