Saturday, June 13, 2009

What?

never have 4 letters given me such joy. I've rediscovered the absolute happiness of the word "what". It's many uses, the many questions or statements it can be a response for and the beauty of communicating something normally laced with profanity or annoyance with one deceptively simple syllable. What?

Used in it's purest form it truly is just a question that means, "hey, I didn't hear or understand what you just said, can you please repeat that?" But thats not really very fun, you're just wasting it.

By the age of 3 or 4 you learn of it's subtle ability to stall a situation. It's way of communicating "I heard what you said, I don't like what you said, I'm going to ignore what you said and feign ignorance." Yeah, we all did it.

Later in life, somewhere in your 30's you learn that it can be used in place of expletives, a way to nicely tell someone they suck and I'm not listening to you again. The beauty is you can do out in the open, in public, without any fear of being looked at like a potty-mouth-crude-white-trash-bad-influence. By perfecting the stalling technique and adding your own little "yeah, I know what you did" look on your face you've completed the transformation to perfection of the word to it's highest level. This is truly the way to say, "yup, I've been F-ed in the A by volunteering to walk in a local parade and now I'm sweating and jingling bells like some street fool and all I want to do is chuck candy at the white trash onlookers". What?

Yeah, you heard me.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Top 10 Mean Girl Moments - part 1

I feel that I have been shirking my mean girl duty, after all I don't know that I've shared one Judit story or even introduced you to my latest "friend" kk the albino. It's time, time to recount all those stories that went untold in another top 10 list.

10. The horror that was "the round table." Every day we had to gather for the last 30 minutes of class to see and taste what everyone had baked and take note of what the ingredient substitutions did. At first I was so excited, it was like being in my own Good Eats episode! I was having so much fun being all sciency and pretending to be smart and know what's going on. I mean I actually uttered the words "I think this has a better mouth feel and a rounder flavor". Yeah, I was that big of a dork. Well eventually this joy turned into the great bane of my existence. No matter how teenie tiny the bites were you walked out of that class feeling like a bloated beluga whale. Sick to your stomach, abdomen distended with some form of carb overload wanting to only eat protein—in 6 hours. Damn the round table.

9. The day I lost 3 pounds on cookie day. Now one would think I would have gained 3 pounds, right? After all you must taste all cookie dough to verify flavor and try the final cookie to ensure it was baked properly. Nope. Baking cookies is the best workout I've had in years. It all starts with Chef's very efficient and precise procedure for baking cookies. Let me summarize:
1. All cookies need to go on the "cool rack," starting at the bottom.
2. Once 4 full sheets ready they bake for 4 minutes, get rotated, bake another 4-5 minutes till golden.
3. Finished pans are placed on the "hot rack," starting at the bottom going up.
SIDE NOTE: there is absolutely no mixing of cool and hot pans on the racks, this is a world of segregation: cool stays on cool and hot stays on hot until cool enough to be removed (but they cannot be placed on the cool rack, that is for cool and unbaked, not cool and baked cookies. So many rules.
4. Once cookies are cool enough to be touched and still hold their shape they get shingled and moved off the rack to an appropriate counter.
5. Always remember: all pans need to constantly get rotated to ensure they're always starting at the bottom of the rack.
This entire process takes two people working in syncopation full time to perfectly execute. You know that I LOVE and respect the precision and well thought out efficiency of this system. For once I was not behind such a procedure, I was not managing the chinese sweat shop, I was the sze mihn factory worker sweating (literally) my slightly oversized but off. For about an hour and a half I repeated this procedure over and over and over and over. Oh yeah, did I mention it was in front of a 375° F oven that was opened every 5 minutes? And I'm wearing long pants, a t-shirt, neck scarf and long sleeved chef coat with apron? I think if I had this outfit that fateful BWCA canoe trip I often complain about I wouldn't have been cold and needed to put on my swimsuit and plastic bag for warmth. I digress, back to the kitchen. We were working like fiends but getting cookies in and out like it was an olympic sport (and you know I always go for the gold). Oh did I mention Chef's other rule?
6. Once you start baking, you do not leave your post. And you KNOW from the "doing dishes" complaints that I was not sitting in a room of overly motivated workers so yup, I was the one who finally started baking after 9 trays were on the rack. I'm such a sucker, you know they were just all waiting for me to do it.
I truly think this should be a workout class at the gym, I was wringing out my t-shirt like I had just completed spin class, even my socks were wet with sweat, I mean whose FEET sweat? Ugh, so gross. Open, check, close, turn, squat, shift, timer, open, pull, balance, place, close, down, shift, turn, timer, up, rotate, close, down, shift, up, check, down, shift... There was a moment where I started thinking in my head "all even numbers front to the rear two steps to the left move, one, two, three, four". Only edina grads will get that one—Ikola truly is king. I will say that I did not feel guilty for tasting any of the cookies with my calorie burning post. Screw hot yoga, I'm baking cookies.

Ok, I need a break, I'll have to continue the list later. the pool and sun is calling my name. This is what happens when I don't write all quarter! Buildup and diarrhea of the blog.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Zack Attack



The last few weeks I've had to taste over 289 different quick breads, cookies, pies and tarts—some containing lard (very meaty). Try this flour instead and taste. What does vegan sugar do to flavor (abso-fricken-lutely nothing. Really, if you have a problem because some type of bones were used to grind down your sugar and you can TASTE that contact with bones... bake your own freaking cake, I'm going to go and eat a steak, rare). Organic cream, lard, french butter, goats milk, kefir, raw sugar, whole wheat organic pastry flour, muscavado sugar, honey from the night blooming flugelflower. You name it we tasted it. And it got to us, even the glee kids amazing rendition of "don't stop believin" couldn't crack through. A fellow classmate even accused my bad attitude of preventing our cheese bread from rising. Thank goodness God sent me an angel this week and his name is Zack Morris. Seeing him on Jimmy Fallon wearing the same acid washed jeans talking about the max, kelly kapowski, the beach club, his brick phone and singing the hit song "friends forever" by the zack attack was just what I needed to get through this class. This week my attitude was saved by the bell.