Monday, July 27, 2009

Culinary School

I'm sorry everyone! It seems as though I've lost my "he said". His interest tapered off towards the end of the road trip. I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to keep the blog going. Up until this week, school has been absolutely incredible. That's not to say it hasn't been difficult. Culinary Skills I, our first class, seemed virtually impossible until it was over. We had 15 days to learn how to make stocks, figure out our mother sauces (bechamel, veloute, tomato, hollandaise, & espagnole), identify about 50 spices & herbs, and perfect our knife cuts. Even saying it all sounds like a lot. It was an insane amount of information in such a small amount of time. Literally my schedule consisted of waking up at 5am, walking to school, going to class, getting home, studying, making dinner, studying more, and going to bed. There wasn't time for anything else.

But as I mentioned, it was absolutely incredible. A portion of the final exam was to identify 100 herbs, spices, and kitchen equipment. I studying for about 4 hours on just the herbs & spices alone. Look at dried basil, oregano, thyme, & parsley next to each other. Pretty similar, huh? Look at cayenne, chili powder, & paprika. Even closer. I really didn't think I could do it. So, to walk out of that portion of the exam with a 100% was like walking on air. An indescribable feeling.

Another portion of the test was to complete 9 knife cuts in 45 minutes. That's 5 minutes per cut. That's 5 minutes to make a carrot into 1/16"x1/16"x1/16" perfect squares. Before this class, I don't even think I knew what an 1/16 of an inch looked like. For some reason, I started cutting everything into 1/4" pieces. I don't know what was going on. Thank goodness I figured that out pretty quickly. I'm just really glad I'm not the guy that cut the onion in the wrong direction.

It is truly amazing to be doing something that makes me so happy. I still have no idea what I'm going to do with it at the end of the day. But I trust that will all fall into place. Right now, I just have to enjoy every moment and cook absolutely everything I can.


Well we finally made it. Its been a few weeks since we got here, so I don't even know where to begin. I guess with the beginning. We got the keys to the place and unpacked the car without any problems. The apartment was just as we remembered and I don't think either of us could be more excited to be in a home! The road trip was amazing. Definitely one of the most incredible things I've ever done. However, there is something to be said for not staying in a motel every night. The beds were hard, the sheets sucked, and it just isn't the same as being in a home.

The second day here, I went to school to finish my paperwork and pick up my uniform. Lucky for me, it was pouring. I was set on walking despite the weather. I needed to figure out the route and how bad it was going to be. Getting there wasn't a problem. Getting home, on the other hand was awful! I didn't realize I was getting 5 complete sets of the uniform, plus shoes! My admin rep handed me a very large paper bag full to the brim. I figured, it can't be that bad in the rain. It was sort of thick paper and I planned on walking very fast. HA! By the time I was halfway home, the bag was in pieces. Luckily a very nice clothing store gave me a plastic bag to get the rest of the way.

As I rounded the corner of our street, I saw my car being towed out of the driveway. At this point, I was running. Turns out we had been instructed to park in the wrong spot. The owner had us towed. NICE! Luckily I did catch the truck before he got completely out of the driveway, so it was only a $40 drop fee. Only I didn't have any cash on me and Mario had my car keys. He was at a coffee shop a few blocks away using their wi-fi. He ran home (literally) and we found our way to an ATM.

Definitely an exciting way to start out this new adventure. I'll write more about school soon! Don't want to put it all in one blog.

Connecticut---- Sarah & Lari!!!

A long time ago, I worked with a wonderful woman named Sarah. She kept me sane during some crazy times and taught that if you can't beat them, join them. Her house soon became a great escape for me. She and Lari created a safe haven right near the beach- full of great dinners, intellectual conversations, and amazing times. A few years ago, Sarah and Lari moved to Newtown, Connecticut. I've been trying to make my way to their house for awhile now, and was finally successful.

After Ohio, we decided to drive what was supposed to be 7 hours to Connecticut. We just had to go through Pennsylvania & New York. No big deal! However, everywhere we turned, there was construction on the road. We ended up being in the car for almost 12 hours that day. We didn't get to their house until around midnight and were definitely ready to kill someone. To make matters worse, Sarah had to leave for work at 4am the next morning. We did some very brief catching up and then all passed out.

The next day, we planned to drive on to Boston. However, it just seemed too soon. Lari's son & daughter-in-law were leaving for LA that day. So, as Lari drove them to the airport, Mario and I enjoyed one of the only days that felt like vacation. Sarah and Lari had once again created an amazing vibe in their home. They manage to create this space where everything disappears. You know that feeling you have when you truly go on vacation and leave everything behind? That's what their house feels like every day. Its phenomenal. If they could box that up and sell it, they'd be millionaires!!!

Anyhow, we went to the cute neighborhood market to pick stuff up for dinner. I couldn't get over how fresh the seafood was and how cute the town was. We then returned to sit on their deck in the sunshine, drink a beer, and work on the blog. Their house is right off of a lake. It felt like being at an adult summer camp. So much nature and green and wildlife and sunshine!!!
Dinner turned out okay. Not great. Just okay. Unfortunately, Sarah had some drama with Diane Keaton in the city, so she didn't make it back in time. It was still good to spend some time with Lari and just see how the two of them live life. I will be back there many times during our East Coast life.


Connecticut was fun and green. It was really good to see Sarah & Lari- good people. The best part was making the bed the second morning. Des found a HUGE spider on the pillow. I've never seen her move so fast. The spider was the size of a silver dollar pancake. It was HUGE! We realized that while it was great being in the wilderness, you have to deal with the bugs too. That's okay. Definitely didn't change our great time.

I'm anxious to get to Boston and be done with the road. Had a great trip, but can't wait for our stuff to arrive and be able to sleep in our bed.

The backyard
Looking back at the house
Our morning surprise...

The lake behind their house

The beautiful river running through town
-this is shot from the deck of a coffee shop

Friday, July 10, 2009


Before we start writing anymore about our adventures, we do want to apologize for the delay. I don't know if any of you out there are reading or have given up on us completely. We are very sorry it has taken us so long to get back into this. Unfortunately, we have not had any internet until yesterday. I promise we'll get it up and running and will get you all caught up very soon!