The first week of the new year has been precious enough to last me through the rest of it. The years of living in a money pit (while a great movie with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, not mine, thank goodness), overdrafting weekly, locking ourselves out of the house three times in one month, having the bus pass us by after a long, cold, rainy night, hearing about countless others vacations and new cars, while we have to remind ourselves that walking to the store gives us exercise, deciding if we need cat litter or flour and sugar, are behind us. They aren’t necessarily not in front of us also, but for now, the world doesn’t seem to be single-handedly against us. We still have that litter/ flour decision to make, but I’ve adapted.
We started the new year out with lobster, and oven crisp potato chips, and a game of dominoes that some gin may have impeded on. I made my first brioche (I know, really? First?), and baked for 100 the day before culinary school started. It was a strangely therapeutic beginning to an otherwise nervous situation.
My first week of school has passed, but will never be true history. I will never forget Chef saying, “cattywapus”, or drying my first metal bowl with my new classmate. I realize even though we are all in this class together, we are all experiencing things in a completely different way. Some people don’t come from the obsessive world of food, reading blogs, books, and food sites all day. Some people don’t know what Vichyssoise is. And that is fine by me. In a pre-Le Cordon Bleu-world I may have judged that lack of knowledge. Not because I know everything, but because if I know it, everyone else must. Right? Wrong! Cooking is a never-ending learning process, and that tends to scare me sometimes. I am having a favorite reading light shined on what I know, which is more than I realize. I feel I am getting more out of class because of what I already know, be it books or chefs mentioned, not knife cuts, and food-borne illnesses. You pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down? Embrace and acknowledge the things you know, don’t deprecate them, but realize you and everyone else can’t know everything. It’s like when you think of all the books you would like to read, and then think of how many books you can realistically read, given you live a normal life span. Scary! Overwhelming. On average you will only have four couches in your lifetime. Maybe less!
I am coming to grips with not knowing everything, and for those who know me personally, they know what a challenge that is for me. I can learn what makes me comfortable, and happy, and keeps me alive. And then a little more. And with you all as my witnesses, buy as many couches as I can financially afford, to appreciate for the rest of my time as a couch-sitting-human.
Okay, don’t be scared, but below is dipping butter. Don’t think, just eat it. I finely chopped and added: a sprig of Rosemary, a small handful of fresh Oregano, and 2 cloves of garlic, added a pinch of crushed red pepper and nutmeg, salt and pepper into some butter and melted it over low heat while the potato slices were cooking. You can strain out the herbs, but why? I like a friendly slap of flavor once in a while.
“I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active – not more happy – nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.”
— Edgar Allan Poe