Sunday, 5 February 2012

Snow Day!!!

I stepped into February with bright eyes and a spring in my step. When I stepped out the door on Wednesday morning I was greeted with a thousand snow flakes descending on my cheeks and lips with soft cool kisses. The sun was gently glowing behind the veil like cloud cover and I was accompanied with snow all the way to school. Once in the locker room I began to fold into my Chef whites when the culinary student girls bounded into the locker room shrieking at window shattering volumes, “School is cancelled!!!”

Is it true? Are you sure? Who told you? When did this happen? Do we go home? Do we still have theory class? Is this for real?

Skeptical and hopeful we ran to theory class to here it from the chefs. The class room was bubbling and popping like a pot of soup simmering on the stove with excited hopeful conversation. Chef Christian came in first, he tried to hold his composure but as we gazed at him, our eyes all asking the same question, he only smiled and giggled and gave a nod. Snow day!!!!

We didn’t all tumble out of class at once though, we sat bouncing in our seats excitedly waiting for our theory class to begin so it could end, so we could all go home. With the cafeteria closed for lunch the Chefs thought it be a good idea to teach us how to make a soufflé and then for us to eat it. The chefs made a passion fruit, cheese, and chocolate soufflé. All three soufflés were delicious, each texture and flavour unique and enticing. The passion fruit was as sweet as undiluted nectar, it made my lips pucker and my face twist like a lemon. The chocolate had a mild and earthy texture and taste, it was subtle and pleasant and would go well with a robust cup of coffee. The cheese was by far my favourite. Popping with flavours of parmesan, black pepper, nutmeg, and eggs whipped into submission it was fluffy and smooth and filled my mouth like morning sunshine through a kitchen window.

With the succulent flavours still dancing around my mouth I followed the rest of my class to the locker room to change out of my whites and walk home before the storm really started to pick up. I walked home in the beautiful snow. It settled on the breast of my coat and clung to my eye lashes. I stopped at the corner of Richmond and Queen to get a candid photo of our great and brave former Prime Minister, John A McDonald as he sat, unaffected or bothered by the on slot of snow dusting his sharp top hat.

Once safely at home I celebrated the first snow day of my last year in school the only way I know how: with macaroni and tomato juice for lunch just the way my mommy makes it with dash of pepper and salt. For dessert I had two very cheerful and yummy Rainbow Chips Ahoy cookies. All afternoon I sat by the window, watching the snow fall, reading a book, and slowly nursing cup after cup of coffee. Mmmmm, snow.

When evening fell the snow flakes turned to the size of loonies and were floating down in large fluffs. Looking across the street I watched them waltz gracefully, mid air their stage and the street lamp their stage light. With soft amazed sighs I applauded their performances and wished for more.

Since that delightful snow day it has not stopped snowing. We have had continuous snow fall whether light and graceful or heavy and mean, PEI is slowly becoming more and more blanketed with my favourite precipitation.

The snow has been something for me to look forward to all week. Class has been less than sunny. I am in chocolate rotation and it has been a difficult week. Chocolate is like a water colour painting. It has a mind of its own, and if you don’t prepare for every fleck o colourful personality trait, you will end up with a mess and have to start from scratch. Tempering chocolate is not for the faint of heart. You have to be patient but quick on your toes. Once the chocolate is ready to be poured, pulled, drizzled, or piped it can’t sit around and wait for you. Your moulds have to be painted, your trays, tools, heat guns and marble slab have to be spotless, free of any water contact and ready for action. But once you fall into a rhythm with your chocolate, and whispering sweet nothings doesn’t hurt either, you will get along handsomely and the result is rich, perfect, delectable chocolate.

I did have aspirations of working on my chocolate box this week but with all the chocolate orders, Valentines demands, and countless fall backs in stubborn untempering chocolate my department is far behind our personal goals. That is one thing that really got me down this week, I was hoping that we could use this time to work on our portfolio and chocolate boxes but our duties came first. I am optimistic that this week will be better and I look forward to conquering chocolate.

Chef Richard and I shared a very special moment this week. I was showing him my blue prints, templates, and general vision for my chocolate box. I plan to make a simple rectangle box and pipe on Delft detail, tulips, wooden shoes and other iconic Dutch symbols. Along with the piped detail I am attempting to write Dutch words for chocolate and other sweet phrases around the edges. Chef read aloud the Dutch phrases and words and as he came to the last word he slipped into high German and said, “It looks very good. It will be very delicious.” I replied in high Dutch. “Thank you very much.” For that brief moment Chef could share with me a bit of his mother tongue, and I could share with him a bit of my heritage tongue. It was familiar, a taste of home.  

My weekend was extremely quiet. I took the weekends as an opportunity to catch up on some sleep, make Valentines cards, and dive into some much needed pleasure readings. Today at church we had a potluck and it was so wonderful to actually cook a meal for people. I have been making pastries for 6 months and it so refreshing to chop tomatoes, grate cheese, and add copious amounts of rosemary, oregano, marjoram, pepper, basil and parsely to a hearty bowl of pasta. Mmmmm. However, I know that as a pastry cook I have an expectation to uphold, so I came with a tray of chocolate cupcakes as well.

Apart from the odd raised voice at a particularly stubborn bowl of dark Belgium chocolate, I have had a fabulous week. I look forward to what ever challenges come my way this week. Come hell or high water, as they say, I am ready!

                            Raspberry Dark Chocolates

                              Milk Chocolate Caramels

                          John A. McDonald, chillin' like a villain in the snow.

1 comment:

  1. Chillin' like a villain! Haha

    Those milk choc caramels look heavenly!