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8/21/16

Culinary school starts tomorrow at 7:30AM. I’m a little nervous, but I might be confusing it with excitement. I forgot how much reading was involved in college–mostly because back when I was getting my BA, I may have skipped the reading assignments and allowed other people to be part of the discussion, which is why I was so quiet all the time… I’m aware of the fact that I’ll be doing more reading and memorizing at the beginning though, because we don’t even get to be working hands-on until next semester. 

Some of these classes are more than three hours long, which makes me wonder what if I need snacks? It just occurred to me that since we’ll be cooking, we might be making our own lunches… Maybe. I don’t know how it works yet. 

I also want to spend some time giving myself a tour of the campus even though I plan on being there for less than a year. I tend to use my free time in the piano rooms, so I specifically want to walk through the music/theatre buildings. Actually, they could be the same building, which shows you how little I know about the geography. 

You know what’s funny though? Last time I took classes at a community college, it was when I was in high school, taking American Sign Language and the piano rooms were placed oddly in front of a classroom. I mean, it could have been used mostly as a music classroom, but I just found it weird, but convenient to be placed directly in front of the only classroom I had to be in for that school. I could literally wait till the last minute to enter the classroom.

Anyways, I’m still trying to figure out the kinks. For example, I need specific shoes in the kitchen and I’ve seen professional chefs on TV, so I have an idea how they’re supposed to look. All the syllabi say the exact same thing: black, closed-toe shoes with heels. The problem is, all I have are “character shoes”, but we’re supposed to be prepared to stand for five hours, so I don’t want the heels to be high enough for me to go out on a date in. (I laugh internally at that since I never go out, let alone on a date.)

Also, I know that we all get lockers at the beginning of the year and we’re supposed to keep our stuff inside during class, but what do I do for the first day? Supposedly, we get our assigned lockers then. I don’t know, but I’d better get reading. It’s 9:30PM and I have about three chapters to read and I already have a hard enough time retaining information without TV as background noise. 

Break an egg!

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4/13/16

As promised, I remade the Strawberry-Chicken Salad w/ Pecans again. I don’t think it was as amazing the first time, but it was made and devoured: IMG_2582.JPG

So here’s what I think went wrong this time: when I went to the store, I suppose I didn’t look very clearly at the strawberries. Although how can you really analyze them? Are you allowed to open the package and take out handfuls to make sure they haven’t gone bad? Well, thanks for my lack of thoroughness in my background checks, I could’ve snuck in an M-bomb into our stomachs (“M” for “moldy”). I did my best as I was washing them out though. Anything that even looked funny, I sent to the trash can. I mean, I wish you could sue the store for that, but it’s not really their fault. And I’m sure that if they’d found a fruit that went bad, they would’ve thrown out the package themselves.

Also, I made it too early. Well, I suppose the timing wasn’t the issue. I could’ve just stored everything before mixing it with the dressing into the fridge and left it alone until we were ready to eat it. But no. I didn’t think. Instead, I dumped all the dressing into the large bowl of spinach and just kept mixing. It got pretty soggy by the time we got to it (individually).

So that was my meal prep of the day. Nothing too special. Still have lots of learning to do, which is what happened today, so there’s that at least.

Oh, you’re probably wondering why I chose Emily Dickinson’s famous coconut cake as my heading photo. Well, long ago when I was in college (so a little more than a year ago now), I was in poetry class and my professor does a lot of baking. Once, she baked her own coconut cake specifically for us, and of course it was delicious. I tried it out myself after graduating and it tasted really good. I figured, hey! I just baked something from scratch!

So then I started making cornbread because my dad loves it. My mom kept buying cornbread mix, although I might have ruined it for him because he’s just gotten old for him, I guess. She keeps buying cornbread mix though, so what else is there to do? Keep it in the pantry? Keep it in the pantry… After all, it doesn’t go bad, does it? I mean, it’s cornbread mix.

After a few more attempts, I got more comfortable with my baking, so I decided to try mixing it up a bit. I added mashed bananas to the cornbread muffins. The first time, I didn’t tell anyone, so they all found a pleasant surprise. I recall my brother–who lived with us at the time–said it was a nice touch.

At this point, I didn’t necessarily feel like I had a knack for it, per se, because I was only following the recipes exactly. It’s not like I was some genius who figured it all out myself. I’ve learned that even with the most detailed recipe though, there’s still a lot to learn about the craft. Just like anything else in life, you just gotta keep practicing it till you get more comfortable.

Then, I took a break from baking, but then my mom gave me a task: to make biscuits for Thanksgiving, so that happened. She ended up finishing it up though, because that was the same day I went to see “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 2” in theaters. I still had to explain what to do, even with the recipe right in front of her, but I still got all the credit. With all the cooking I’m doing right now, hopefully I’ll get to do more this Thanksgiving.

Oh, I also just decided that, since my mom’s birthday is in a few days, I’d bake my own birthday cake for her. I’m not quite sure what her plans are, but most likely they’ll involve her family since we live much closer to them now. I’ll have to ask her what she plans on doing, but either way should probably coordinate with them in case they’re planning something special too. I’m going to look up recipes from my usual sources tonight, so hopefully I won’t screw this up. After all, it’s not everyday your mother turns [this information is confidential], is it?