Monday, April 17, 2006
Sting me once, Sting me twice equals double stung!
Had a lovely day on Sunday for the most part--major pigging out at the annual Easter Brunch on too much garlic ham and moldy Jell-o (don't ask--it's a congealed salad thing).
Came home and settled down to study for the Dining Room mid-term and the stock test for Everything You've Been Doing Wrong So Far (aka Principles o' Cooking) and prep for the week. I ironed my chef jacket and starched my waitron shirt and was getting everything ready. (Side note: With the advancements in manufacturing technology in the last 25 years, why the hell can't someone come up with a spray starch can design that can survive a 4-foot fall from an ironing board and not frak up the little sprayer thingy? Or, maybe that's the whole spray starch can industry's philosophy...at most, you can only get 1/2 the can used before this happens and you have to buy another. In my case, I got about 1/4 of the can before it took the high dive of death. Maybe I should look at investing in spray starch commodities...can't be any nuttier than the "Lotto as a retirement plan" concept, can it?)
Anyway, I'm rooting around in the pile of (clean) laundry in the basement, and I get stung by a stupid wasp. Not good. Am allergic. Hand feels like it's on fire...it burns, my preciousss, it burns! I run upstairs to get the Benadryl, and the damn thing is STILL ON MY SHIRT. Hell, it's a wonder I didn't just turn blue and explode. I manage to get it off and lock myself in the bathroom with the Benadryl. I'm trying to get the stupid adult-proof packaging open, the Man is committing mayhem and murder in the hall for me, and I'm trying to figure out if my breathing issue is because I'm going into anaphylactic shock or because my overweight fat ass broke the land speed record for climbing the basement stairs.
So, off we go to the emergency room. About an hour and a half later (which has to be some ER record), I've been shot up with morphine and some mondo anti-inflammatory drugs, we head back home for a few hours of sleep before I have slog off to class.
5 a.m. rolls around way too soon, and I'm heading to school. My hand is way better--that anti-inflammatory thing is THE wonder drug as far as I'm concerned--and the swelling is mostly gone. (Did I mention that the damn thing stung me on my right hand, near that soft fleshy part by the thumb? Yeah.) It's bruised and somewhat stiff, so I figure I should let Chef know that I really shouldn't play with knives today, and he agreed.
During morning lineup, I receive a second sting, a most cruel sting...heck, ALL of us in class received this sting, courtesy of Japanime.
She shows up without her hat, her apron, or her 2 hand towels, all of which are considered vital parts of your uniform. She blathers something about her parents' washing machine broke, and it's at the cleaners, and she can't get it until she cashes her paycheck, yadda, yadda, yadda. Chef has been threatening to take points from all of us for uniform infractions (part of that whole "we are family" philosophy), and dammit if he doesn't decide that today's the day to enforce it. We all get 20 points per class session, and these points add up to some fraction of our total grade for the class (can you say "Hogwarts?" I knew you could). She causes each person to lose 15 points because of her lack of attention to details. We all think it's patently unfair, especially when Chef makes that "family" remark...it's one thing to forget your hand towels, because we could scrounge up an extra one or two among all of use, but hats and aprons are expensive, and we're not likely to have extras of those. And, when our resident Mother Hen reminds her during clean up at the end of class to make sure she gets her stuff, she gets extremely argumentative and cops a nasty little attitude. Again, I ask you, is it really wise to annoy 10 people who have very sharp knives and know (sort of) how to use them? We all need practice with our knife cuts...and we all can't wait until Wednesday''s class.
In the What Did We Learn Today Department: Today, we did soups. Specifically, clear soups or soups that do not have added thickeners. Chef demoed a beef consomme, a chicken broth, and French onion soup. We actually got to fire up our own pots and make a beef consomme; albeit it was the team approach, but it was nice to actually make something besides a chopped vegetable mix.
I know I've been a bit peevish about class lately, but I really am learning lots of stuff about the art of cooking. And it's always a nice surprise to find out that you do know more than you think you did when something pops up that you had picked up along the way. (Did that make sense to anyone but me? Maybe it's the leftover morphine?)
The French onion soup was fabulous--it had so much flavor and wasn't overly salty like you get in restaurants. Chef also made us cheese croutons to put in it, and told us the proper way was to float a slice of toasted bread with melted Gruyere on it instead of covering the whole bowl with melted cheese...why not both, I ask you? The more cheese, the merrier, I always say!
Cream soups on Wednesday--yum!