you’re international, so international

After a quick little jaunt over to Asheville to visit my cuzzzzins and reunite with Mad Dog, I came back and BAM! I was a sophomore [for normal students they do 2 terms of labs and 1 term of academics their first year, then 1 set of labs and 2 academics their second year. cuz i can already read and write rull good, they don't make me take no real classes or nothin'].

So! Being a sophomore means you get new uniforms which is AMAZING because you no longer have to do laundry halfway through the week and you rock the light blue collar on your coat which allows you to look at the little freshman with nothing but the utmost distain. But it also means they force me to take another pair of the most god awful work shoes ever. Those bad boys are going right to goodwill. danskos4life.

First class: International Cuisine

This was a huge change of pace right off the bat–it’s a service-centered class, which means we produce the food for the freshman dining room (remember when I was graded on opening a bottle of wine? that class). We got our first taste of dealing with ticket times, working a line, plating, all that good stuff. It wasn’t 100% authentic–the food was all prepared in advance, kept hot in a steam table, then just plated to order. But it was the perfect way to ease into things.

Each day of class we were “in” a different region of the world: Japan, Thailand, Spain, Greece and Turkey, Americas, Africa. We started off with lecture, covering a loooong list of terms and discussing the culinary history of the region and how imperialism, wars, and other major world events impacted the food people ate around the world (hint: spain made their mark allllll over the place).

The food was great–and diverse for sure. A new term means new classmates, so there were a few hiccups along the way (the paella–my love!–was a disaster) but by and large everything was tasty.

japan: miso soup (duh)

phillipines: lumpia and mandu (think wontons and spring rolls)

phillipines again: pansit (stir-fried noodles with shrimp and sausage)

in filipino culture, noodles are usually served on birthdays to symbolize long life. therefore, it’s super extra bad luck to cut or in any way shorten the noodles. that’s news you can use.

Americas: Bass with Mole Pepin (pumpkin seed mole)

awwww yea the crowning glory: ethiopian sample platter

you got your beef tibs, chicken doro wat, greens and veggies…heaven. we made our own injera (that brown spongey pancake thing on the bottom) and ohhh man it was awesome.  injera is usually made with teff flour (a grain, and gluten free!) and is fermented like sourdough, but we took a wee shortcut and used club soda and lemon juice to mimic the flavor and texture. i’m an injera fanatic and i thought this stuff was down right tasty.

pretty sweet jams, huh?

from here, we went to Advanced Dining Room [cue law and order DUN DUN]. It was all fancy-like, with french brigade style service. I won’t bore you with the details because it was absolutely terrible (and I already had experience with this style of service). It did make me infinitely more appreciative of just how fantastic all my instructors had been…this far. I’m a 27-year-old woman with a college degree and nearly 10 years of restaurant experience and I was treated like a 4 year old.  And she LIKED me. The hardest part was watching other students get berated for things there was no way in heaven they would ever know the answer to.  In a strange twist of fate, this brought out my compassionate side for these struggling individuals and it became a greater learning opportunity for me to quietly teach them things hiding in the dish room that our professor would rather screech and insult them over.

[end rant]

and then we walked through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and landed in advanced patisserie!

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: sugar britches | does that make sense?

  2. I don’t know how the heck I found this blog…but you need to email me to tell me how to make the ethiopian sample platter, so I can make it at home! Please, please do this for me, or I won’t forgive you as a human being! And I will send you lots of bad karma, courtesy of the universe! I’m not a chef at all. I probably can’t even make a pop tart. That said, seriously – email me instructions for the sample platter, bro. Or madam.

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