Now that we’re a few weeks into the semester we’ve really started to get in to the meat and potatoes of the course content. My favorite class is food preparation lab. I understand the purpose of going to lectures, but reading about preparing food is only going to minimally help me learn how to prepare it. I feel like more than any other area of study, you learn by doing in Culinary Arts. What other study engages all your senses? Sight- watching a steak brown, seeing a sauce emulsify, arranging a plate; sound- listening to fryer to hear when the food is done, tapping fruits to see if they’re ripe; taste is obvious and doesn’t need to be explained; smell too is obvious- pleasing smells vs rotting or curdled. Lastly, touch- checking the done-ness of steak, ripeness of fruit, and enjoying a variety of textures in your meal.
In food prep lab we started with basic knife cuts. We’ve continued on that theme and have been making salads which allow us to practice them. The recipes are a bit dated like hot chicken salad, waldorf salad, and ambrosia salad. The previous program chair had been there for 43 years and thought we needed to learn these 70s classics. He retired and this is the first semester of the new chair and he wants to make our workbooks contemporary. Essentially we’re the guinea pigs for this change.
Initially I was worried I about food prep lab. I thought this would really show if I had the chops or if I was a delusional home cook. I surprised myself by not only being able to hold my own, but am ahead of some of my classmates. We are given a certain amount of time to prepare our dishes and consistently I’ve been one of the first to finish. So far so good! We’ll see when we get into the more challenging curriculum if this trend continues.
Other than that, I did sign up for an extracurricular– the student newspaper, Campus Chronicle. It almost feels like another class since we meet twice a week and I have assignments (article write ups). The first edition goes out today (!!!!) and I have two articles in this issue. I interviewed the new program director at Iowa Culinary Institute for a cover profile. The other piece is an opinion article about Serena Williams wearing a bodysuit to the French Open.
I signed up for the paper since my endgame is to work for magazines like Bon Appetit, Savuer, and Food and Wine. I figured I should see how these types of things function on a smaller scale. Also, I knew it would force me to write and I need the practice.
Below I included the little friend group I was talking about earlier. We’re in our chef’s uniform, minus the hats, required for class. Dorky I know; but, I hope it gave you a smile this humpday!