Monday, March 1, 2010

Gold Diggers & Guilt

Wow. So much for more frequent posts, so much for putting this new old computer to work and so much for keeping my word. It's been nearly a week since I've rambled about anything on here, and I'm not sure where the time went. Looking back I guess I have been quite busy. No, I don't have a job, a spouse, a pet or kids to keep up with, but I was busy. (Don't get me started on the whole 'single people have nothing to do but help me with my needs' theory that too many tend to accept as fact). Before I climb atop a soapbox, let me just get to what I can recall of the last six days.

You may remember that I shut down the shuttle service that I had been operating. This was not without a high level of guilt. Sure, it felt nice to sleep a little later and to have the freedom to bust out in song uninhibited while driving, but I was still feeling a significant level of remorse on Monday morning. To make things worse, I overslept. So I was speeding across town (how many times have I posted that same basic phrase in the last month?) and trying to out maneuver the putters around me. The music was blaring what I'll loosely call an inspirational song (Don't Stop Believing), but I wasn't much for singing along. I was feeling like a dog and thinking that I should have reversed the 'no passengers' decision and picked up the person who had asked for daily transportation. I kept thinking WWJD. Didn't mom raise me to be a giver? Am I being a jerk? And then a miraculous thing happened! The song ended and the next one that came on was surely heaven sent (She take my money when I'm in need. Yeah, she's a triflin' friend indeed. Oh, she's a gold digger way over town that digs on me). It was as though a higher power was speaking to me and letting me know that it was okay. (Before you start hating or thinking that I'm terrible, it could happen. He used a donkey, didn't He?) So I let it go. I'm over the guilt of not wanting to drive a near stranger around. It's okay to look out for myself sometimes, and I'm through with being used. I turned up the volume, bobbed my head while the song finished and then replayed it. The guilt had been replaced with something close to glee, and if you think that's terrible, I apologize.

After the epiphany on the drive over, I made it to class before the door was shut and entered into the world of Hitler. For those who may be new to the blog, we started class on Monday with an instructor/chef who was allegedly a tyrant. The war stories shared in advance with my group had us all frightened. I've spend the last five class days with her, and if she is a female Adolf Hitler, then I must be a male Eva Braun, because I'm in love. The lady (instructor/chef, not Eva) rocks! Yes, she is structured and demands a clean kitchen (I scrubbed a trashcan this week and have never had such sore hands), but she knows her stuff. I've caught myself wishing that time would slow down so that we can stay in class longer to learn more from her. Between the quizzes, daily homework and countless recipes, I feel like we crammed ten days into five. I worked less when I had a job (especially after August 12th). This fact coupled with my increasing age may explain the tiredness and the lack of posts. Then again I could just be rationalizing (a certain old friend says I'm quite adept at it).

We made sponge cakes the first day - and not the Amelia Bedelia kind either. These were edible - not my favorite but edible. We made a simple syrup and buttercream frosting to go with them. Chef's method of making Italian buttercream was intense. It involves boiling sugar with water until it gets hot enough to form a soft ball when rolled between the fingers. Chef doesn't use a thermometer to test readiness. She sticks her hand into the boiling mixture and pulls out the sticky sugar on her fingers to test it. I did not type that incorrectly. She puts her hand in the boiling pot to grab the hot sugar with her bare flesh. After demonstrating her extreme cooking method, she stepped aside and allowed each student to mimic her. And by 'allowed' I mean 'forced'. Talk about fear factor. It was either go against everything that your sane brain is screaming at you or lose points and face the wrath. In the end we all stuck our hands in the boiling sugar and lived to blog about it. There were only three cases of second degree burns.

Just kidding on the burns. Though were was some outright screaming, we were fine other than the anxiety. The most important part of the method is dipping/holding your hand in ice water immediately before and after the hot dip. My finished cake is below (classic sponge, vanilla simple syrup, strawberry buttercream, questionable piping).

I've heard of 365 days of Christmas, but if you didn't know better, you would think that every day is my birthday, and the same could be said for every other student in the class. The happy birthday and your name line is required practice on our cakes and homework.

I've mentioned the daily homework a few times, but let me expound a bit more. We have math homework. An example could be something like this: This recipe (listed and shown on the paper) yields 24 6 oz servings. We need 132 4 oz servings. What is the recipe conversion factor? Based on the original given recipe, how much of each ingredient will we need for the new recipe? It can get confusing at times. Aside from math we have our cake boards that we practice piping on. The cake boards are like Big Chief tablets for grown ups. The required verbiage is happy birthday and your name, and we recently added a few basic borders and rosettes to the board. This is a nightly practice and can be either calming or infuriating depending on my frame of mind at the onset.

Also since the last post, we were assigned groups (mine then dropped by one), a certain someone missed an entire week of class, I ate funky food, baked bread and delivered another birthday cake, but I'll save that for the next post (Hopefully it won't be another six days before I make it back). It's late and I want to have a little better sleep pattern this week than last - and I don't want to be called wordy.

Happy grubbing.


  1. Your mom did a wonderful job raising you, and I've even mentioned it, a while ago. You are not bad. Witty, somewhat pithy, but a good guy. Even JC had his limits. Glad you are enjoying school. Miss ya!

  2. Leslie, It may be your comment or the meds I just downed, but I'm feeling pretty good about now. Thank you. I miss you too. And thanks for the vocabulary lesson (pithy). - D