Too Many Cooks
Hoo boy, am I stuffed. Like, Thanksgiving dinner stuffed. I have no idea why, really, it was just a normal Sunday around here. Kettle corn, pizza, spinach artichoke dip, apple tarts, and apple turnovers la modey; all the staples for a fall weekend. What I’m puzzling and puzzling over is why I’m so stuffed seeing as 70% of the aforementioned food was dumped in the trash. Not the pizza and kettle corn, obviously, but the spinach artichoke, and apple tarts and crepes (did I forget to mention the crepes)? All trashed. Not b/c they weren’t any good; I just made so much and didn’t know how well they would keep. And maybe b/c they weren’t, in fact, any good.
It was a baking shitshow all afternoon, and I really wouldn’t have done anything differently. How else am I going to learn that crepes take more than one minute to firm up enough to flip? Or that puff pastry is impossible in every sense; impossible to roll out, impossible to fold aesthetically and impossible to get off your parchment paper, so I hope you like little bits of wax paper in your pastry.
It’s a cliché and it’s the truth; I’ve got to make these mistakes. That’s why I’m in school and that’s why I bake at home; I have so much to learn. I want to know everything. It’s no problem for me in my own kitchen, w/ just Brent and Binx to see my huge embarrassing failures. But at school I’m terrified to make a mistake. So I usually just end up keeping my mouth shut and doing the boring shit like cleaning up after my group.
On Friday the Chef divided us into two groups and sent us in the bakeshop. The goal was to make something that would hit three of the five taste bud groups. I was in the group w/ a bunch of the second-year students, the ones who do most of the talking and most of the bossing around. I have no problem w/ this, and I was actually excited to learn from them. So when our cupcakes came out looking like shit and tasting even worse I realized something: they don’t know everything either, so why the hell am I tiptoeing around the bakeshop like I don’t know how to make basic buttercream frosting? And that more is not always better; chocolate cupcakes w/ chocolate chips and salted caramel icing drizzled w/ melted chocolate and almonds? The fuck were we thinking? We had like an hour to pull this off. Did I mention we didn’t have a recipe? That was a fun little twist.
I have things to learn from these girls, but I also have things I can teach these girls. What I need to work on most is my assertiveness; hey, you’re piping that frosting like shit, now hand over the bag. Probably not the most effective way to win friends and influence people. I’ll have to work on that for next class.