Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Eweeeee, gross.

Our lives are not in the lap of Gods,
But in the lap of our cooks.

Lin Yutang,
The Importance of Living

When I made the decision to enroll in Culinary School, I never imaged that I would be totally grossed out when I took a class there. Well, I knew I would be grossed out when it came to deboneing poultry and fish, or when I had to sample anything that had shellfish in it, but I never thought a lecture class could sick me out.

Well, it can. The first class of my nearly $20,000 education is Sanitation and Safety, and our first 3 hour lecture was on food-borne illnesses and how it achieves full growth, and the side effects when you have said illness. Thank God I didn't eat before class, because talking about diarrhea would have made me lose it, especially when you're talking about the process of how you get the diarrhea from gross people in gross kitchens. Unfortunately, most food-borne illnesses happen from your own kitchen. At home, we have no safety standard. The health department is not going to show up at your door and demand to inspect your kitchen. Most people do not use bleach water on every surface in their kitchen, or to rinse their dishes. Most of us don't constantly use thermometers to check our foods to make sure they are out of the danger zone of 41-135 degrees. Mostly I learned that it doesn't take much to make you sick. And that if where you are eating has a disgusting chef or kitchen, you are basically fucked.

Luckily, our instructor is great and her course syllabus is easy to follow. Now if we could only have adult sized desks, I would be a much happier girl.

Last night, I had another 3 hour lecture in my Concepts and Theories on Classical Cooking class, but this time it was on stock. Chicken, beef, fish, and vegetables. Stock is NOT the same as broth, which my Chef instructor was quick to point out. I did learn that I have been making chicken and vegetable stock wrong all these years. Shit. Anyway, most of the 20 vocabulary words I have to memorize are in French, and nearly impossible to pronounce, even when I had the pronunciation right in front of me. That should make for an interesting final, right.

Interesting fact: most kitchen terms are racial slurs.
Example: The strainers we use in professional kitchens are called china caps, which are cone shaped and have larger holes to get the big bits of food, and the very fine mesh strainer, also cone shaped, is called a chinios, which is French for Chinese.

I have to say, I had my doubts about returning to school after being out of it for 16 years, but I am really liking it. More than likely it's because I'm not taking those damn core classes we all have to take as freshman, and because at the ripe old age of 33, I know what I want to do. I had no clue at 18 what I wanted to do with my whole life. I just wanted to party.

Plus, I think Jay would severely punish me if I bomb out. We have a lot of student loans to pay off regardless.


Fat Sparrow said...

The Spouse Sparrow and I used to be restaurant managers. Our kitchen is fucking spotless. We can't watch any of those cooking shows, because we know we'll get too grossed out by someone licking something off their finger and then go back to what they were doing. Now, those people may or may not have washed their hands before they started, but I'm not willing to bet money on that Rachel Ray tramp. Oh no.

It's good to see you're enjoying cooking class.

Brooklyn said...

I am sooo excited for you. Keep posting everything you learn and I will try not to give you food poisoning next time you come over for dinner! Also I will severely punish you if you bomb out before pastry classes. I'm serious. I'm counting on you for deliciousness.

Kelly said...

Proud of you! :-)