Saturday, April 21, 2012
So the establishing of self from the last post? Pretty much done! What does that mean? Well my personal site, NicolenePapp.com, is a combo blog and portfolio not being hosted by Blogger. For that reason I will not be updating this blog site from here out. You can also keep track of me through Facebook and Twitter. These will have small updates and random thoughts. The adventures will continue at my site so trek over there!
Saturday, April 7, 2012
I know I promised another blog post very soon, but my focus has been on getting together sites on Twitter, Facebook, and a personal portfolio site so I can establish my internet presence all at once and not have to change it later when it may be more complicated. So sit tight and soon I'll have a pretty new site designed by Michael Shur.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
I've learned about myself as a blogger these past couple weeks. I want to write and share things, but will let other things take priority and if I miss a post I want to ignore the blog rather than admit to myself I'm falling behind on it. I do not want to miss posts or ignore my blog, so I am going to try harder to prioritize it, not before school work of course, but before vegging out on the couch for sure.
Now, going back to the week that followed the post on the Food Truck Bazaar. The second half of that week my classmates, Mo and Laura, and I volunteered at the First Baptist Church of Orlando as prep cooks for the Ligonier's Conference being held there. It was both interesting and mundane. What did we spend the bulk of our time doing? We made sandwiches and put together lunches. Why was it interesting? (I assume I don't have to explain why it was mundane.) I have never worked or been in a commercial kitchen before. For me, it was a new experience just to try to make something fast. I felt accomplished too that we were able to work ahead of the head chef's schedule. I'm proud of myself for not having any big mishaps or mistakes. I learned how to use a shrink wrap machine. I also gave myself a nice burn underneath my elbow as a reminder. The last day of volunteering there was very little rushing, they kind of had to find things for us to do. We ended up helping to put together platter of various food items. I got to do a cookie one. :)
The week that followed was all prep for finals and some tests. One of the things that sticks out is the day the chef instructor in Culinary Foundations made lobster bisque. It's memorable because I feel one of the students showed herself to be a poor culinarian. The lobsters for the soup were live so that 1) the soup would be better and 2) he could educate us. We are attending Le Cordon Bleu for an education in fine cuisine. He picked them up, pointed things out, and taught us basic knowledge on lobsters. Then the lobsters went into a pot of water and were cooked. One student refused to eat the soup that resulted because chef 'murdered' the lobsters. I disprove of this, particularly because I believe she ate the mussels that were steamed alive the next day.
There is more reasoning behind my disapproval though. I have no problem with people who only want to eat plant materials, that is their choice. I dislike people who say they don't want to eat animals because they don't want to kill living things. Plants are living, growing things just as much as animals. To me anything made up of cells is a living organism and deserves some kind of respect. Every living organism needs to consume things in order to survive. The killing of those lobsters was done for sustenance, it was not murder, and you don't get to be picky about it like that. Further more I expected better of Cordon Bleu students. You are committing yourself to a life of making good food, you learn how to make good food by trying lots of things and educating your palette. You should be a little more open minded.
I'm going to leave it there for now because I need to chill. Writing about that got me a little worked up. I promise to be back very soon though with pictures.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
First I want to give a quick clarification on the last post about finally making something. We don't get to actually make a lot of food this term because we are learning techniques. The chef instructor makes dishes every class in Culinary Foundations. Secretly I think they limit what we make because we have yet to pass the ServSafe exam, but the real reasons are probably not wanting to have P&B students making things they are unlikely to need again and making sure we understand some basic things before we get really dirty. So even though I don't bring food home every day, I'm learning and I love it.
Enough about school; I am managing to keep a life outside of it. For example today Alex and I took Smoke to the Daily City Food Truck Bazaar. We've gone a couple of times when they are in our neck of the woods. I don't know if other roundups work this way, but Daily City has a monthly schedule that goes to a different city/area every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Every second Sunday I get excited now and Smoke will too. He loved it, though he was over stimulated.
This is Alex feeding him a Lolli-pup from Sit and Stay Cafe. He had no problem licking until it was gone and also ate the heck out of the Ginger Beef Jerky. For us, we hit up the Feast Beast, Crooked Spoon, and Fork In The Road. The sausage in the Feast Beast sandwich was delicious, Alex can't get enough of the homemade chips from Crooked Spoon, and the Elvis-wich cookie ice cream sandwich from FITR was good. It didn't blow my socks off like Batter Bowl does, but the peanut butter cookies were solid.
Smoke made big steps in socializing and visiting places this weekend. Aside from going to the Food Truck Bazaar, my sister and I took him to Waterford Lakes Town Center. He has no problem with going up to people or letting them pet him. He needs to adjust to meeting new dogs and good behavior around them. Hopefully next weekend we can have dinner at my parents' house and he can meet their three dogs who will have no qualms showing him. He doesn't always want to come and doesn't like being around cars, but he's young and just needs to experience things I think.
I'm working on a diploma in Pastry & Baking, so what do I choose to do with my free time? Take the level 2 Wilton cake decorating course, Flowers & Cake Design. Cake decorating is included in the curriculum too. Why then spend the money and time? One, I enjoy it; two, I get to do it with my best friend Heather; three, I don't mind spending that money to start learning it now, so that I can get in extra practice and be even better later. Last night was the first class and we learned pansies and button flowers. My pansy needs some work.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Whenever I talk to someone now, particularly my mom, they ask, "So what did you make in school today?" I give a little sigh and respond with either how not to make people sick or how to cut vegetables. Today though that answer would be different! Today I made mayonnaise. It's not super exciting but it's something.
I am not a big mayo person, but this had an interesting taste. It was rich and more flavorful than store bought. I brought some home to try on a sandwich. We'll see if home made mayonnaise makes me more of a fan.
I started carpooling to school with a lovely woman this week, Mo. She is trying to keep a blog of her culinary school adventures as well here. She's older than I am with loads of stories. Hopefully she will share some of them online with all of you because I can't do them justice (and they belong to her). She is studying culinary to round out her skills as she spent several years working in a bakery. This is a boon for me in that she generously offered to teach me some decorating things and we will get exchange food from classes after this one.
This week is so busy; homework, a quiz, a test, a practical, and a short report to work on. Next week is just homework, so what did I do? I signed up to volunteer as a prep cook for a conference Wednesday through Saturday 8 am - 12 pm. It wasn't until after that I remembered my puppy. I'm fairly certain I can make it work if I get up early, if my darling fiancee will do the morning walk ( I hope he reads this), and I run home for a lunch walk before class starts. Smoke won't be happy and Alex will be some what frustrated but I really need kitchen experience to help me get a good externship.
So blessings, positive vibes, and well wishes are all appreciated. To friends and family: I will always need more coffee.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Week number two is down for the count. I feel good about it being completed successfully because it was more challenging from the personal front. My fiancee and I decided to adopt a puppy last Sunday.
His name is Smoke and he's two months old. Our favorite brew pub, Shipyard, had a special event last Saturday, so we went and Pet Rescue By Judy was also there. I tried to resist but he had a sister and he's so cute! We slept on it and decided it was time to take the next step and add a puppy to our home. Our two cats are less than thrilled, but adjusting. How did this effect school? Minimally. It means getting up at 4 am for a mid-night walk, making sure I get up early for another walk and breakfast, I don't get to school as early to minimize the time he has to spend in the crate, and I rush home for another walk. Young puppies have small bladders if you haven't guessed.
He and I were able to bond on Tuesday because the down part of my week was catching a cold. I thought about pushing through it to go to class, but needed the day of rest to get better. There were four assessments this week. I'm feeling good because I did well on all of them though a little upset with myself for a getting a low B on one. It was in Culinary Foundations. I don't like that pastry students don't get the text book for the class. I understand that we won't need it again after this but reading the material would help me. They could let us borrow it or at least have a copy in the library!
Aside from assessments we learned how to make a vinaigrette and different types of sauces. Now that we know all the things that can make people sick, Sanitation is getting to actual methods of being safe. Of course there were more knife skills practice. I realized that I square things better with my left hand, but I tourne better with right hand. Not before I cut myself for the first time yesterday. Cuts require a band aid and a finger 'condom' to keep it on. The color is to make it more easily noticed if it falls into the food.
That is my thumb, not a nub of a finger like some of my friends said it looks like.
A little bit of a longer post, but I want people to know what going through this program is like. Now I need to do some homework catch up.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
So I made it the first week of pastry school. Not that it was very difficult. The first term, six weeks, consists of Culinary Foundations I and Food Safety and Sanitation. The first 2 days alone dealt with administrative stuff that I had expected to be part of orientation. Getting through the classes have not been a problem, I'm just still coming to terms with the career change. I found myself thinking, "What am I doing here?" several times. I also find things from my two high school food classes coming back to me.
I know I am happier than I have been in a while. I have a purpose and I am busy. I like being busy because it keeps me on my toes.
My cohort is uncommon because the first term is mixed Culinary Arts and Patisserie & Baking. There weren't enough Culinary to warrant a separate class and both programs have the same classes for term one. I like it and the mix of people. there are some younger people and those with more experience. One of things I try to be conscious of is that I do not socialize only with people like me. This could help a bit.
Last comments about week 1: I didn't cut myself the first day of knife skills! I wish I didn't need to know all the ways to make people sick because it's gross.