A Dreadful Affliction
The 7th week of the course is well under way and the cold is settling in around us. Especially at night. The season has changed and I love it. Ireland returns to Standard Time a week before the US does, so it’s getting cold and dark early these days.
Last night was October 31st and it was thrilling to be here, in the home office of Hallowe’en. Did you know that the celebration originated here? It did, as a Celtic festival of Samhain, (Sow-an) meaning “Summer’s End,” which celebrated the end of harvest season, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Hallowe’en is a time of celebration and superstition. Being in Ireland during festival season, in the land where some of my ancestors originated, was magical.🎃
With exams behind us and the course work stiffening, everyone seems to be doubling down on their own expectations of themselves. No more texting or sleeping during demo.😜 Vowing to come in earlier in the mornings for mise en place, pronounced (MEEZ ahn plahs), which means to have all your ingredients prepared and ready to go before you start cooking. Also, getting serious about presentation. Now everyone’s feeling a different heat. They want that certificate! As for me, it’s one day at a time.
Like the day Rory was demonstrating how to make homemade noodles. As usual, I was being very attentive and taking copious notes, quoting him, nearly completely, because his way with words delights me to no end. “…Combine the eggs, flour and salt then knead for 10 minutes. It’s a great upper body workout. Don’t make it so soft, it’s easy…it should be hard work. If it’s too soft, it’ll be a flabby noodle. A Dreadful affliction.” 😂
Naturally, a few others and I guffawed but he never missed a beat. “Let it rest for 30 minutes and roll out very thinly. You should be able to read the lettering of a matchbox through your pasta!”
His comment about some sides later in the demonstration tickled me too, “Steamed broccoli and carrots, heaven forbid! That’s absolutely hopeless!” I couldn’t agree more.
I’m always thrilled when Rory is at the helm in the afternoon and I have my pen at the ready to catch everything he says. Like the time he rolled two perfect buns into a tin to bake and said, “Now, this will come out of there looking like a lovely perched bottom. That may not be your thing when it comes to bread.”
Or the time Arden asked him, “Rory, why is it so many gratin have nutmeg?” “Because it’s delicious,” he answered.
Also, “When you’ve got an entire animal before you, (as in half a lamb) I understand how overwhelming that can be. It would be like me, looking under the bonnet of a car and saying, ‘What’s this all about?’”
Then, “One hard boiled egg plated looks like two tired eyes. Ah, but there’s an honesty to it.”
Lastly some Rory advice, “Whenever you see a new ingredient, make a wish.” And, “Just once in your life, feed one of these (peeled grape) to your love. Priceless.”💝
And with that, I'm off to open my window a bit, snuggle down and fall asleep to the night song outside.
Happy All Saint’s Day!