Wednesday, April 25, 2007
So much for the resolution to blog more and more lively blog posts…where’s Cousin Oliver when you really need him.
The Mother Who Never Cooked is back in the hospital again…amazingly enough, she had someone call me this time to let me know. Actually, we’ve been very good about our telephonic correspondence and have talked almost every day…except yesterday, wouldn’t you know it. Anyway, she went in for a doctor’s appointment, and he did an EKG while she was there. The doctor evidently got a reading that concerned him, because he loaded TMWNC up in his car and drove her to the emergency room himself. Granted, the ER was in the building next door, but I think he gets major points for the above and beyond. So, she under observation for a day or two, and if nothing untoward happens, she can go home either today or tomorrow.
I spoke with the Chiclet yesterday to find out how she did in the local round of a skills competition. This is a national competition for technical/community colleges, and the winner of the local/state round gets to compete at the national level. She got second place, which I thought was great, but she was bummed…the first place winner was another student at Fine Technical College, and the Chiclet said that student was the only real competition, so she was feeling like she came in 2nd place out of 2 instead of a larger range.
The other 2 competitors came from Other Technical College (we saw them when we went the Xtremely Fine Beef Purveyors back in October ), and the Chiclet said they were really not ready for primetime competition.
All competitors were given 3 hours to prepare a soup, salad, and entrée with vegetable. Unfortunately, the requirement of a whole menu was not properly communicated, and the Chiclet and the Winner were caught unawares that they had to prepare anything but an entrée. But, being from the Head Chef school of hard knocks, they pulled it out. Chiclet said she was thrown off kilter by the requirement that they make their own stock, which is doable during the 3-hour time limit, but it would have been a lot easier if the stock had been provided. And, some of the requested ingredients for the entrees were missing as well.
The Chiclet made a ballotine, which impressed the judges that any competitor even attempted this, because it involved de-boning a turkey or ostrich or something like that. Here’s a recipe that is similar to what she did, including deboning instructions.
Make stock, debone a bird…you can see how this might be a bit time consuming.
She said that it was a bit upsetting when the 2 students from Other Technical College finished in about an hour and an hour and a half, respectively…kind of like when everyone in the room finishes the test before you, and you’re still desperately plodding along with the square root of pi or pie or Boston Cream Pie, or something like that. However, she said that when she saw their food, she understood why they were done so quickly. One of them had roasted a chicken, cut it in half and put it atop a bed of scorched vegetables. Just whacked it in half, no trimming of the wing tip or anything to make it pretty or easy to eat. While that might be an appropriate presentation for Hank’s Backyard BBQ and Bait Shack, I don’t think it was a wise choice for a food competition.
The Chiclet was pretty upfront about why she got second place and the missteps she made along the way. She said that there were several points during the 3 hours that she just wanted to “pack her knives and go home,” but she stuck it out. Personally, I’m not sure I could have done it…again, the pressure I felt during culinary classes was nothing like any stress I’d ever endured on a job or in school the first time around. Odd, I know, and I have no explanation for it that probably doesn’t require months of intensive psychotherapy.
According to the new issue of Atlanta Magazine, the one, the only Alton Brown, my favorite culinary hero, has a house in Marietta, Georgia, which is about 30 minutes from home. I think my new favorite hobby is going to be stalking the Wild AB. I think I can lure him in with some strategically placed slices of foie gras or maybe some brined pork chops.
I know I’ve been the worst about blogging and even cooking for that matter, but I’ve collected a bunch of recipes and techniques that I’m itching to try, and I’m planning to start them this week/weekend, maybe even with photos!
Thanks to Linna for the shoutout on the Good Eats Fan page and posting the red velvet cake recipe, and for poking me about not blogging. I'll be better! : )