Sunday, 25 March 2012

The closing of the Chronicles of March Break Madness

The Chronicles of March Break continue with an epic two days of Charlottetown shopping. On Monday Emily and I wandered into a second hand store, conveniently 3 blocks from my house and made a day of it. Second hand stores are the best! There are treasures to be found, outfits to mix and match, and ball gowns to be worn and all you have to do is look. It was a quiet day in the store and Emily and I soon found out we were the only customers in the store. It was like we were in one big closet playing dress up. We came away with a few choice treasures and decided that the rest of the day would be dedicated to relaxing and talking. It amazes me that women find so much to talk about. It’s a super power no doubt.

The next day followed with more shopping and then I sadly took Emily to the air port. It was wonderful to have a beloved friend come for almost a week, it made me feel loved and not forgotten. Sometimes I feel like I am on the Island all alone, and I am just a vague memory to the people back home. I know they think of me as I often as I think of them, but when I get homesick and lonely it’s hard to imagine myself out of feeling like a whisper on their minds rather than a melody on their tongues.

I also took the bus for the first time this week. Charlottetown does have a bus system but for some odd reason I was afraid to use it. I think that fear comes from living in Waterloo Ontario for the past four years where I know and trust the bus system there. But I got up the courage and hopped on. The buses look like trolley cars rather than actual buses and the seats on the bus are actual park benches. Some of the newer buses have regular bus seats, but I prefer sitting on a park bench while being driven around town. The fare for such a royal ride is $2.25 and when you get on the bus you put the toll in a Tim Hortons coffee cup sitting on the dash. You know it’s going to be a quality bus ride when you pay your way into a Tim Hortons coffee cup, and it’s a Roll of the Rim no less, fancy.

Charlottetown is a whole new city when the sun comes out. Thursday was a beautiful sunny 22 degrees day. After 3 and a half months of damp decrepit winter weather, the sun has blessed us with her golden presence and melted away all the snow. People gleefully jumped out of their hibernation, sipping ice caps, licking ice cream cones, and drinking ice tea. They left the coat at home, threw on a pair of shorts and flip flops and hit the side walk, strolling endlessly and without care in the spring sunshine.

I joined the rest of Charlottetown in this glorious past time and spent the better part of Thursday skipping down the side walk, head tipped just enough toward the sun to have its lips constantly on my cheek. However, I had alternative motives. Armed with resumes, cover letters, and portfolios I hit the streets with a vengeance, walking merrily into businesses, laying my qualifications down and asking in the most polite, heart melting and enchanting voice I could, “Do you have any job opportunities available?” I smiled, I winked, I let them believe they were the only place I was applying to in town and that I loved them that much. And after we had bantered about the sunshine and I had charmed my way into their job giving hearts they took the bait, passed my credentials along to their supervisor and I left them thinking, “Wow, she is so nice, we need to hire her right now.” At least that is what I hope they are saying. I’ve applied to 18 different bakeries, shops, hotels, and general businesses, received 2 interviews and 9 declines. Sigh, the job hunt continues.

However the beautiful weather was short lived and the next morning I woke up to a light dusting of snow and bitter cold winds. Oh PEI, does your weather ever stay consistent? Friday was bitter and dry but on Saturday the dampness sunk back in and pretty soon Charlottetown looked like a ghost town once again. Windows were closed tight, the sun hung in the sky more like a decoration than an actual aid in encouraging spring, and tea pots steamed all day generously breathing their warm life giving liquid into dreary bodies. I oddly enough spent most of the day outside running errands. While on route to an errand I found myself on an unfamiliar stretch of street. It was unusually yet delightfully quiet, magically shielded from the wind on all sides, and lined with picturesque houses and two churches. What is this street where the sun always smiles, the bitter wind never bothers and the houses look like they are happy to see you? What kind of a street has two churches on it, both with beautiful brick work, old and majestic, and housing the very Spirit of God? What street has a baby blue Ladies Retirement Home, with lace curtains, and an inn the colour of olive green, barn red, and ochre with a ship delicately carved on the welcome sign? What is this magical place I found myself strolling down?
Fitzroy Street
. If I hade to live in Charlottetown for the rest of my life I would live on Fitzroy street, across from the Ladies Retirement Home of course.  

And there you have it folks, the Chronicles of March Break comes to a close tonight. I have two weeks left in school, 8 kitchen days, 1 sugar show piece, and 1 theoretical exam before my practical exam in mid April followed by graduation at the end of April. And then what? What do I do next? As Pocahontas once sang, “Where do I go from here?” I may be low on clues on where to go but I’m not hurting for ideas. I’ve thought about staying on the Island, working for the summer, and giving myself a chance to really discover the Island charm. But there are so many weddings I have to attend back home this summer, not to mention I am art coordinator for the Art Den at All Ontario Youth Convention this year. Living in PEI but flying back and forth to Ontario now and then sounds expensive. I have had no job offers in Ontario either, so I can’t go home just to be a bump on a log. Sigh, got any advice for me Pocahontas?  

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Chronicles of March Break Madness

This week had a continuous ribbon of hope, a joyous ticking count down, and the anticipation of open air. This past week was the week before March Break. After 7 months in the kitchen, several show pieces, and final assignments I am ready for a break. The kitchen was pretty slow this week with lots of room for me to finish up on some portfolio assignments. I made Chocolate Truffle Torte for the Lucy Maud Dinning room and had some free time at the end of the week to make a couple loaves of bread to take home. I also had time to work on my piping skills and make several hundred chocolate garnishes. I spent all afternoon on Wednesday piping chocolate filigree, drawing delicate loops and swirls, and free handing my own designs. I needed 12 perfect garnishes for my portfolio and I managed to pipe out 300! When I got home from school I noticed my arm was very sore and tender. It felt like I had pulled a muscle and I realized that I had pulled a muscle while piping chocolate! If that’s not dedication and hard work to my craft I don’t know what is. It’s true what they say too, “No pain, no gain.” With each chocolate garnish I got better and better, improved my technique, confidence, and speed.

This week was not only a count down to March Break but a count down to my dear friend Emily’s arrival. I had invited her to come to the Island a few weeks ago and to my delight she took me up on my offer. I got to the air port early and waited patiently for her plane to land, passing the time by reading a book and chatting casually with strangers waiting for their loved ones to arrive.

As a crowd of people from the plane flooded in I stood on my tip toes scanning faces, searching eagerly for my beloved friend. Suddenly there she was, wearing a vibrant pink sweater. I called her name, shuffle over to her excitedly hugged her and burst out laughing! “You’re here!!” We laughed, and hugged, and then meandered over to baggage to pick up her luggage. Bubbly chatter quickly simmered between us as we caught up on each others life, shared exciting news, and told funny stories.

We arrived at my apartment and were greeted at the door by the warm aroma of a home cooked Dutch meal: Nasi Goreng. It was the first time I have made a home cooked meal since being on the Island. With having a meal plan at school and eating rack of lamb, lobster, brine chicken, or ginger beef every day with all the fixings I’m not very hungry for a second meal in the evening. I usually will just fix myself a sandwich, pasta, or munch on veggies and crackers. I enjoyed chopping onions, peppers, leak, and celery and slicing the fat off a pound of pork roast. I added the whole mixture to a crock pot and let it cook all day until the meat melted off the bone and all the flavours blended together in a delicious melody.

The first night when Emily arrived we spent the night talking and talking and talking. We woke up the next day and I took her to school with me. Since it was the day before March Break we spent the whole day just cleaning, throwing out old food, and organizing the kitchen. The entire class was shoved into the kitchen and we were off! Everyone got their hands dirty emptying the fridge, cleaning cupboards, organizing dry storage and sweeping the floor. I decided to tackle the stove. I filled the sink with hot soapy water, armed myself with two dish cloths and took the grills of the stove top two by two. I only burned myself twice and by the time I was done scrubbing those babies you could eat off them.

There was so much energy and excitement in the room that it only took us 2 hours to clean the entire kitchen top to bottom! Awesome sauce and a half! After eating lunch in the cafeteria with Emily and introducing her to my friends, we toured the school and kitchen. I am so honoured to have Emily here and to be able to share my world with her in such a tangible way.

In the afternoon I took Emily for a long stroll all around the city. I showed her my favourite haunts and with the weather being so gorgeous and warm it was sheer delight. The warm weather made the snow ideal for snow man building and Emily and I built an energetic, fabulous 4 foot tall snow man in Victoria Park. This was no ordinary snow man, this was an upside, in mid cartwheel, aerobics snow man, complete with scarf head band and an empty muscle shell for eyes. We had so much fun, and lots of passer bys admired our engineering and artistic abilities and honked their horns or waved in approval. 

Friday night I took Emily out to the best fish and place in town: Brits Fish N’ Chips. This delicious restaurant has become my go to when I have visitors from off Island. My parents and I ate there when they dropped me off back in September, and when my friend Natasha came for a visit we dinned on Cod and Haddock before I conquered a deep fried Mars bar, so it seemed only fitting that I treat Emily to the same experience. The fish and chips were excellent, but we decided to save the deep fried Mars bar for Tuesday afternoon before she flies home.

Saturday was one adventure after another. We woke up at the crack of dawn, packed my lunch bag full of travel snacks, apples, and celery, grabbed the iPod and hit the road for an epic day of driving all over the Island. The morning started off dreary and the Island was draped in a thick soapy fog, but as we neared our destination it began to lift to reveal a clear blue sky, fair weather, and a happy ocean breeze. We went to Seacow Head Lighthouse, the lighthouse where the dashing, charming, and kind Gus Pike from Road to Avonlea was said to live. I hoped and dreamed he would be there waiting for me, hanging thin bright Island melodies in the air with his fiddle and smoking his pipe while resting on the front step of his lighthouse. The route to SeaCow Head involved two seasonally closed roads, so we had to walk a kilometer in shin deep snow. As we neared the lighthouse it was clear to see my beloved Gus Pike was not there waiting for me. Sigh. The windows were boarded up as well and the door was locked, I suppose his marriage to Felicity King really worked out, no matter how often I hoped it would ship wreck and sink out of sight, haa haa.

The lighthouse wasn’t a total loss. The cliffs were rich in texture and colour, the red umber of the cliffs complimented the white drifting snow as they cascaded down to the gulf below. The ice had frozen in thick chunks and as the ocean current continued to move underneath it had pulled the ice apart and pushed up against each other in gnarly formations. The ice was thick enough to walk on though, not that I learned this from personal experience but I saw snow show tracks in the thin layer of snow that covered the ice, as well as plenty of bunny and fox tracks.

The whole scenery was so inviting, so gently calling that I had to taste a sample of its danger. Down a long shallow slope of one of the cliffs there was a rock that was sitting quite straight and securely on the edge, it was a perfect place to perch oneself and allow your dreams to become realities as you watched the tide. I carefully made my way down the cliff, stepping carefully, picking solid patches of cliff to place my feet rather than a shotty slope of snow. I reached the rock, hopped on and stood in amazement at the ocean below and in front of me. No matter how many times I look at the ocean, or how many visits I make I am always amazed at its splendor, life, and sound, its simple and yet complicated rhythm, its phantoms that churn and thrive below the rolling and rippling surface, and at times its almost glass like state. After taking a moment to inhale a deep gulp of thick ocean air I made my way back up the cliff and allowed Emily to venture down to the same delicious vantage point. After taking some very goofy pictures we trudged back to the car and carried on with our journey.

We had hoped to find an antique shop and spend the afternoon swooning over vintage and well crafted artifacts and treasures, but winter is cruel for antiques and there was none to be found. However, we did find a delightful little pottery shop somewhere between Seacow Head and Cavendish. We pulled into the driveway just as the owner was crossing the yard, he greeted us warmly and after inquiring if they were open for business he informed us he would be more them delighted to open up shop just for us! What luck! The pottery shop was steep in production and the shelves were full of unfired mugs, bowls, platters, soap dishes, and brie bakers. However, there were a few shelves of fully finished well crafted treasures and we each found something to take home. I invested in a beautiful large coffee mug painted in all the shades of blue of the ocean, Emily favoured a brie dish in the same colour scheme. Happy with our purchases we thanked the owner profusely and then continued on our way.

We drove through the center of the Island weaving around thick woodlands, patch work pastures, and tiny villages. The inland of PEI is just as rolling and rippling as the ocean that surrounds it. It is a ribbon of hills that rise and fall, twist and turn, and flow and fade just as fluidly as the Atlantic Ocean.

Somehow we ended up at the home of Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish. Being as it is the off season it was plain to see the grounds were closed but there was no sign telling us otherwise and no gate to keep our curiosity out. The house and barn was boarded up and locked but the grounds were free to roam. Emily desperately needed a picture of the house so by her lead we jumped the fence and meandered around the property. The house was quiet, and sat on the hill like a plump slumbering old man. The hill sloped down to a creek over a bridge and into the Haunted Wood. After taking advantage of the deserted grounds we took some photos and then made our way back to the car.

Just as we reached the highway a fox crossed our path and then stopped dead in our tracks. I was thrilled beyond thrilled! We immediately pulled over, rolled down our windows and coaxed our furry friend over by baiting him with the cheese and crackers from our lunch. He was taken with us and happily accepted all the food we gave him, he was especially fond of the gluten free sea salt chips Emily had found. Emily and I adored him, taking fifty photos each of him and cooing and making kissing noises to grab is attention anytime it looked like he might run off. I was so tempted to get out of the car and pet him, but he seemed a little skittish and I didn’t want to scare him off or get bitten. As he got more and more full he began to take the food we gave him and burry it in the snow to save it for later, it was so cool to watch him savour the treats. Before we left we rewarded him for being so cooperative by giving him a rainbow chip cookie. He held it in his mouth about to bury it but then took a little nibble out of it. Deciding that it was the most delicious thing he had ever eaten he cradled it in his mouth and trotted off to his den. We waved sadly as he left, but were happy to have such a magical encounter with a friendly fox.

I have never been out on the town on St. Paddys day, but I found the courage tonight. Emily and I adorned ourselves with as much green as we could find and hit the town. The Old Triangle is a fabulous Irish style Pub and you can imagine how hopping it was! There was a line up out the door of colourful people trying to get in. When Emily and I got in it was standing room only. We had plans of ordering appetizers but a drink on the run would have to do. We searched for a table and couldn’t find anything. A very friendly and sauced gentleman got our attention and asked “What are you looking for?” “A table,” we replied, shouting over the Irish music and garbled chatter of the giddy drunkersds. The man spread out his arms, motioned to his vacant lap and said, “There’s plenty of room here.” Haa haa!! I’ve never been hit on by a drunk man before, come to think of it I’ve never been hit on by a sober man before. Aside from all the crazy and happy drunkerds it was a great night out. We grabbed a drink, had a few laughs, and took in some fabulous East Coast music. I learned three valuable lessons about how to make St. Paddy’s Day enjoyable and less awkward:
1) Avoid wearing a winter coat. If you can tough out the cold, dress in light layers, or grab a green shall to wrap around your shoulders when strolling from bar to bar. A winter coat adds weight and awkwardness when crammed into a full bar.
2) Leave the purse at home. Have you ID, cell phone, debit card, and lots of cash on you. Shove it in your pocket or bra and hit the town. A purse can be bulky and be heavy to carry. 
3) When a boy offers his lap for you to sit on, grab the seat next to him and at least let him buy you a drink, it will save you having to buy your own and you might make a funny friend for the night J

Praise the Lord for Sundays! After taking Emily to church and introducing her to all my friends and going out to lunch with the young adults, we went home and spent all afternoon making cards. Emily is a master at home made cards and graciously brought most of her stamps and paper punches from home. We plunked ourselves on the living room floor and spread out our card making goodies all around us creating a nest of creativity. It was dinner before we knew how long we had been at it and our growling tummies convinced us to pack it up and relax for the remainder of the evening.

Tomorrow is the beginning of March Break and Emily will be here for another 2 whole days. Check back next week for a commentary on more March Break shenanigans.

Chocolate Truffle Torte with Cranberry Sauce

Chocolate garnish

Aerobics Snowman!


Seacow Head Lighthouse. Home of the charming Gus Pike from Road to Avonlea.

Pashmina Power

More pashmina power

Bugaboo Barn Emp. "Emp" for Empire!

The windowsill of the master potter.

Feed me more pretty ladies, feed me more!

A cookie for the road.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Awesome sauce to be reckoned with.

I was a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen this week. Not only did I make ice cream for the first time and conquer it at that, but I had planned my time so impeccably that I had time to make another butter cream torte, fruit explosions, and apple pie for my portfolio. I have three desserts remaining: sugar show piece, chocolate dessert, and chocolate garnishes. But if this coming week will be anything like the previous one I have nothing to worry about.

On Tuesday I was in the kitchen ready to go and had three pots on the stove boiling with ice cream goodness by noon. I made up my own signature ice cream flavour: black berry caramel with sliced almonds and bubble sugar garnish. The flavour was inspired by a synesthesic conversation I had with a friend about what Notre Dame would taste like if it were a flavour. I made the caramel first, boiling it until it reached golden bliss. It was rich and creamy and just bitter enough to accent the black berries sweet yet velvet flavour. The black berry sauce was a joy to make, I love black berries!!! Boiling them down, beating them into a puree and thickening them just enough was just as enjoyable as singing. With these two pots happily boiling and simmering to flavour on the stove I added one more to the chaos and made the base for ice cream, otherwise known as crème anglaise. I had so many pots on the go that the opportunity to forget that they were hot occurred more than once. I came away that day with several burns, thankfully none of them life threatening or fatal. I was quick to remedied the injuries with cold water and being the tough gal that I am I kept on powering through.

After boiling the crème anglaise and letting it cool to 40 degrees I poured it into the ice cream machine and let it churn for 25 minutes until a velvety, rich, ice cream was achieved. As it came out of the machine I swirled the black berry and caramel sauce in as evenly as I could. I stirred it lightly and finally satisfied with its colour and texture I put it in the freezer. The large spoon I was using to stir the ice cream with had a healthy coating of ice cream and before dumping it into the dish pit I slinked away from the watchful eyes of the chef and licked the spoon clean. It was amazing! Unashamed I indulged messily letting it dribbled down my chin and onto my chef whites. Suddenly, who should come around the corner but the chef! I stopped licking the spoon, my tongue in mid lick, ice cream on the corners of my mouth, and an expression of getting my hand caught in the cookie jar on my face. My cheeks turned red with embarrassment and I thought for sure I would be scolded. Chef laughed and asked if the ice cream was good. I nodded sheepishly, dumped the spoon in the sink and ran back to my station to pretend to sift flour. The next time I want to chow down on my ice cream I’ll do what every brilliant pastry student does and bring to it the freezer to “put it away.”

The ice cream was not just made for my enjoyment but for the Lucy Maud Dinning room so that all of Charlottetown may be blessed by its exotic flavour. However, on Tuesday and Wednesday there were no takers, silly sauce, what crazy person DOESN'T eat ice cream in the middle of winter. It is sacrilege to the highest degree. But don’t be alarmed, the poor souls redeemed their ice cream absent hearts on Thursday night when we sold out! How flattering!

As I mentioned before I had the opportunity to make apple pie and a peach and mandarin orange fruit explosion this week as well. Both were just as delicious and complete as the ice cream. It was a good week in the kitchen indeed.

How do I begin to describe the most foundation building 24 hours of my life? I spent this past Friday and Saturday with 28 fabulous women of God. The women of Charlottetown Community Church, packed our bags, left the husband, kids and laundry at home and bolted away to Rustico for a get away weekend retreat. We all showed up to Belcourt Center, an old convent converted into a retreat center, for a little R&R with God. After registering, finding a room, and unpacking what little we had and having a few minutes to get acquainted with each other we headed into the first worship service of the weekend. I was asked to lead worship for the weekend, and was very honoured to have the responsibility of such a joyous burden. Had they asked me in October I would have jumped out the window, but the Lord has done so much work in me that I felt confident in leading.

We all gathered into the “Big Room” and shared a moment of divinity. As we sang, the Holy Spirit came down and took complete control of the voices in the group. I heard the most delicious trickling harmony wave through the strong hold of women in the room and the impact of them singing back to me was overwhelming. This first holy ground moment was a gate way into the rest of the blessings, richness, and divine appointments and words that would flow that weekend.

Over the next 24 hours we heard from women who showed unbelievable vulnerability and bravery in sharing their stories and life struggles and how God got a hold of them and would not let go to bring them to where they are now. They shared not only the hard life they had but their excitement, fear, and hope for the long journey ahead as God continues to transform their lives. One woman in particular wrote a divine piece of truth of how God plants seeds of purpose in us. Though the elements of life try to break and uproot us through His tentative hands He plants strong people around us to be a windbreaker against the elements so that we may grow to be strong and be a windbreaker for someone else. This is my favourite line from what she wrote:  

“Their leaves unfurl and blossoms sprout in a glorious array of authentic colours and textures. Each bears unique gifts and fruits to give back to the world. The entirety of the crop is a spectacular breath-taking thing to behold.”

I have never felt so full and empty at the same time. Empty of shame, hurt, weights and burdens that weren’t mine to carry, and stripped of lies and tricks of the Enemy, but full of passion, fire, energy, beauty, truth, and force. I have been woven into a community of women that is heart stopping strong. I learned that as humans we are created in the image of God. God is beautiful, divine, mysterious, and layered with love and joy that takes a lifetime of relationship with Him to understand. God doesn’t make ugly things. He’s eye for beauty and what defines beauty is vast. Not only was the physical beauty of the women at the retreat revealed to me but the beauty of their hearts, character, energy and peace was vibrant, iridescent and thick. Allow me to plant this thought in your head for a moment. We are created in Gods image which includes His heart, character and physicality. Ponder the character of a woman for a moment. She is layered, excellent. The love for her husband is leagues different than the love for her children, and also for her girlfriends. As she ages with the Lord she does not become haggard or wrinkled but radiant and carved with life lines of truth and joy. The battles she fights and wins and loses gives her wisdom and strength and deepens her roots. Her affection for the people around her is beyond maternal it is a reflection of Gods own heart. A woman is a reflection of Gods own heart. Wow. Ladies, we are not only our beauty and our compassion, we are power, a force to be reckoned with, strong, and divine!

I am rereading the book “Captivating,” there is a passage in the book that talks about creation and how at the very end of it God created woman. The line that followed was this, “Creation would not be complete without a woman.” Wow. Women, if we were not created there would be a hole in Gods design, a void that only you can fill. Let that truth sink in for a minute. Ponder on how your specific and unique design not only compliments the world but completes it! Praise the Lord!

Sunday couldn’t have been a more perfect day. I accomplished #1 on my Island New Years Resolution: Go on a sleigh ride. I had the pleasure of organizing a sleigh ride for the church. This week we had warm temperatures and a fair share of rain so you can image how terrified I was of the possibility of the snow disappearing. When we pulled up to the farm there was a plethora of snowy pastures and woodlands. I waited impatiently bouncing off the porch waiting for our sleigh to arrive. Finally a large red sleigh pulled by two beautiful and well muscled Clydesdales slowed to a stop in front of us and we all hopped in. I could hardly believe what was happening. As the sleigh pulled ahead I felt like I had tripped into a fairy tale. Jingle bells lightly dusting the winter air in a thin melody, it began to snow, the woods were thick and sleepy, but welcoming of the small chattering party gliding between its trunks and low hanging branches. We weaved through the bushes for quite sometime. The air got sweeter and brighter, and the wind picked slightly, we broke through the bushes and into a meadow to behold the ocean rolling deeply and beguiling beneath us. It was breath taking, quite literally!

I don’t know how long the sleigh ride lasted, I lost all track of time and I didn’t care. But I do remember the faint thud as my heart sank when I saw the barn through the trees and I knew our sleigh ride was close to an end. To top the afternoon off we huddled inside sipping hot chocolate and chattering, soaking up all the community we could handle. I made sure to capture this moment of delight in a group picture. It was an afternoon of sheer bliss!

As I sit here, typing fiercely away trying to meet my blog deadline, I glance outside briefly and realize it is snowing again. Winters last evening waltz before waving good bye and letting spring take the stage.

Blackberry Caramel Ice cream with sliced almonds and sugar garnish.

Butter cream torte

Peach and Mandarin Orange Fruit Explosion

Apple Cream Crumb Pie

Shelagh and myself. We are women hear us roar!

Going on a sleigh ride.

Bernice and myself on the sliegh. Total bliss.

Thank you for the super fun afternoon Charlottetown Community Church! Looking forward to doing another sleigh ride next year!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Art, grace, and embarrasment

This week was busy! But the very word busy is an understatement and to find a stronger replacement word is impossible.

The week started out with some surprising but wonderful news. My special occasion Alice in Wonderland cake was one of the three cakes chosen to be placed in the display case! It will sit there for an entire year, safely behind glass, for all to see. I was speechless and flattered to receive such an honour. Thank you, Chefs.

All week the kitchen was a bee hive of activity. The function group had to make 500 desserts for a sports function on Friday night. We got busy on Wednesday making petit fours, cookies, puff pastry, lemon mousse, chocolate mousse, cake, cheese cake, squares, circles and triangles. It was never ending! I don’t remember much of what happened in the kitchen this week, but I do remember I was glad when it was over. We set out to make 500 desserts but we made close to a 1,000! I think my group deserves an exceptional pat on the back. Yay us!

Even though this week was hectic and clouded with the stress yet excitement that graduation is soon at hand, I was blessed with an unexpected snow day on Tuesday. I woke to the sound of the radio announcer running down the list of school cancellations. As he went through every county, checking off schools, he stopped mid sentence and suddenly said, “All schools on the Island, including colleges and universities are closed today.” Those sweet succulent words were more delicious than Raspberry Bavarian Cream. I turned off the radio and burrowed deep between the bed sheets for a few more minutes of slumber.

I bounced out of bed half an hour later determined that this snow day would not go wasted. I put aside my school books, stuffed my homework under the bed and pulled out my sketch book and dusted it off. I made a comfortable nest on my bed and surrounded myself with pencil crayons, erasers, and books with pictures of butterflies, foxes, shoes, dresses, and Lord of the Rings characters. I shut out the outside world and dove into mine. I spent three uninterrupted hours guiding pencil and colour across paper, gently rubbing out mistakes with an eraser, and high lighting movement with heavy lines. I have spent so much time on the Island channeling my creativity into baking and writing I have neglected my first love of art. It felt wonderful to glide the blade of my pencil across delicate art paper and whisk breaths of colour into a black and white form to give it iridescent life. Spending time drawing reminded me of how I got here in the first place. Had I not chosen to take art in grade ten, I would not have chosen to complete an art degree. Had I not chosen University of Waterloo to complete that degree I wouldn’t have met the people that inspired and encouraged my artistic culinary talents, and thus I would not be immersed in PEI as I am today. I owe a lot to art. Just as blood ribbons through my body giving me life and energy, so too does art.

My wedding cake was due this week but because of the snow day we all got an extension and it is not due until Monday. However, I was raised to cultivate and appreciate a good work ethic so I came in early everyday to finish my cake. The base of the cake was complete on Wednesday, but designing and building the cake topper took much longer. I came to school on Saturday, joining other classmates finishing their cakes, to finish my cake topper. For three hours I bended fondant, painted it to look like branches, and carefully places leaves all around it. When it was done I placed the glorious piece atop my already fabulous cake and stood back to look at it. It looked ridiculous. The cake topper didn’t match the rest of the cake at all, and its form was goofy and awkward and didn’t portray the grace a wedding cake should. I burst out in laughter, not at all disappointed that I wasted three hours of my Saturday afternoon making something that I couldn’t even use. By itself the tree was delicate, well crafted, and a challenge I conquered, but together with the cake it looked down right goofy. I laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

After bringing my cake to the kitchen for it to be marked on Monday, I packed up my things and walked home. Saturday brought another island storm. What started as snow, turned to rain, and then quickly turned to freezing rain. The sidewalks and roads were a slippery mess and getting home was no walk in the park, even though oddly enough I do cut through the park, so I guess it was. Just as I turned onto
Queen street
my feet hit a patch of ice, I lost my balance and failed to recover it. My feet flew out from under me and I landed flat on my ass on main street Charlottetown, right in front of one of the most popular restaurants in town, at dinner time. I sat there for a second, my cheeks flushed with embarrassment, hoping some handsome islander would come to my rescue, but what could I do? I clapped my hands, threw my head back in laughter and picked myself up. After dusting off the ice I smiled and said, “Well, that was graceful.” I laughed all the way home, no injury except a pulled left thigh muscle, bruised knee and an exceptionally sore behind. The lesson learned: icy sidewalks are not to be feared but embraced as a lesson in grace, poise, and the art of laughing at yourself.

Medium: Pencil Crayon.
Title: "Snow Day"
Date: Feb, 28 '12

My cake is in the show case!! And to the right and left of it are two exceptionally beatiful cakes.
Well done all!

From left to right: Honey and raspberry petit fours, lemon and cream cheese turn overs, and orange sugar cookies.

Wedding cake with epically goofy cake topper . . .

. . . wedding cake without goofy cake topper. I like it with out, what do you think?

Wedding Cake: A Love for all Seasons

Though awkward and goofy atop the cake, my cake topper by itself is quite lovely.

Spring and Summer

Summer and Fall

Fall and Winter