Culinary School: Week 2 February 22, 2010

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My nephew, Jack, was one when he took his first step and I was lucky enough to be in the room when he did it. I watched the flash of excitement in his eyes and the brilliance of his expression as he forged ahead into the unknown. He didn’t know quite what was ahead of him, he didn’t even know how he was going to get there, but he stepped anyway. Wabbly, yes — but he stepped anyway.

By the time we’re adults, of course, this kind of adventure seeking wears off a little. We’ve learned to settle into routines that help us avoid danger, complication, and if we’re lucky, regret. The downside, of course, is that we inhibit new experiences — experiences that might thrill us, teach us or change us.

These are the thoughts racing through my head as I stand in the middle of the classroom kitchen. I’ve been standing here for the better part of an hour chopping random vegetables and trying to achieve the perfect batonnet, julienne and brunoise. I’m surrounded, of course, by a dozen or so other culinary students who are doing the same thing. We’re all stepping forward, each of us has a different reason, but we’re stepping forward.

I finish cutting with surprising ease. I say that because I’m completely astounded that I have managed not to mangle any of the vegetables or cut off any of my fingers. Of course, it’s not like I haven’t done this before. I’ve probably chopped thousands of onions in my lifetime, but somehow the enormity of the room and the seriousness of the situation make by mind go blank.

But like any kid in their second week of school, I’m starting to get used the the way things work. Dish doing, for example, follows a very orderly procedure — much like an assembly line. Rinse, wash, rinse, dry. It’s almost exactly like what I do at home, minus the days in between where the plate sits in the sink completely unwashed. Okay, it’s nothing like what I do at home.

Readers, we all know I’m prone to exaggeration, but I have to tell you that this adventure is a lot of work. In addition to the 8 or so class hours every week, I am spending a good 6 hours outside of class studying. My eyes are squinty from lack of sleep, my hair has started to take on a life of it’s own, but I’m happy. I’m very happy.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

5chw4r7z February 22, 2010 at 9:37 am

I love the virtual tour around your “classroom”.
good stuff.


Barb Tertley February 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm

You make me want to go back to school again. Not to get a grade or a degree, but just to learn. Maybe go back to take a fine arts class or try sculpture. Life runs fast and you definitely should not cross the finish line without pushing your experiences. Thanks for the inspiration.


Courtney February 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Barb, you’re right, life runs fast. Take that sculpture class! You just never know where life will take you. : )


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