Meat, Wheat and Alcohol
Today was the worst day for me, yet.
First of all, I woke up just after 3:00 am because there was a hellacious wind and rain storm that blew through here. I thought it was Ophelia Jr. Rain was blowing in my window and my curtains were horizontal so I leaned over and closed them and in so doing, popped every bone in my back. Ahh. Also, someone forgot to tell that stupid rooster about the time change. At 3:30, he started going off, in a pathetically weak attempt at a crow. Still, I heard it.
So, when my alarm went off at 6:00, I was already behind. I got up, showered, fluffed up and ran into the kitchen to have at least one glass of tea before the day grabbed me by the collar.
By 7:00, I was in the school and there wasn’t one light on in any of the kitchens. I signed myself and Arden in for the morning and turned on the lights in Kitchen 2 and set about procurring for the morning’s work. I didn’t get far before Haulie, the master gardener, showed up and asked if I were on salad duty this morning, which I was. At 7:35, we took off in his van to the glass houses to pick the salad greens for the day’s lunch. Rupert and Hector were also on salad duty and so, were in tandem.
We were back at the school by 8:00 and then, had to destalk and trim up all we’d harvested, to make ready for lunch salad today. It wasn’t until 8:30 that I was released and could return to my kitchen to start on my day’s work. Which was substantial.
The first order of business was to make my Zabaglioni semifreddo (essentially, a soft ice-cream with rum and sherry) with an almond praline. Then, I had to make a double batch of mushrooms a la crème, a béchamel sauce, piperonata, buttered spinach and homemade pasta. If not for my partner, Dee Power, helping me, I’d still be there. It was a full-on day and everyone was in the same boat, making tortellini, ravioli, spinach pasta, cannelloni, noodles, ragu, etc.
I didn’t finish until 1:30. I got good marks on my work, presentation and technique but it was such an overload. Too much work in too short a time and not nearly enough space to do what needed to be done. We were rolling out pasta in the dining room, in the hallway, countertops. Everywhere.
By the time I was finished, there were 15 minutes left to have lunch and I still had to dress the salad, (which someone else had done. Darina was apparently looking for me to do it, when I was still slogging in béchamel sauce, trying to finish), help the teachers put the lunch together in big platters and then, after lunch, I had to polish the water glasses and return them to the dining room.
I ran to our cottage and got out of my monkey suit and into my Lululemons and came back for a bite to eat. There wasn’t much to choose from despite the morning’s frenzy. And there were only 10 minutes before class began. So, I had some water and half a cannelloni and two heart-shaped cookies.
Demo started promptly at 1:45 and we sat there for 3 hours while Rachel Allen demonstrated some beautiful Thai dishes. Right up my starving alley. As soon as demo was over, we had a gathering of the popup dinner crew, to prepare all the dishes so Darina could taste and approve (or not) them later this evening. But, during demo, she announced that at 6:00 this evening, there was a menu planning discussion that was compulsory. WTH?!
By then, it was dark and we were all exhausted and hungry. Me Especially. We sat there for over an hour as my head bobbed to and fro and my eyelids sagged. I didn’t know how I’d be able to make the popup dinner meeting.
In the end, I bailed. When Lucie finally showed up to tell us what was happening in desserts for the popup, I was so stick-a-fork-in-me-done. I told her I’d be there for her tomorrow, Thursday, Friday and all day Saturday but for tonight, I had to go home. I couldn’t be responsible for one more second today. And, I was starving.
I came home and rummaged in our fridge and meager stores (we've got no car and trips into town and to a store are few and far between) and found one piece of prosciutto which I scarfed like a wild dog. Always, we have bread in our cottage but it’s usually hard like a door stop but today we had a nice sunflower “loaf” that was still fresh-ish, so I pulled a petal off of it and toasted and buttered it. To top off my feast, I opened the bottle of wine I’d bought this afternoon at the shop when I thought Tuesday Tonic was still happening. Tuesday Tonic has been a ritual since we’ve been here. Our courtyard mates, Kenzie and Xandra, who live in Frank and Peggy’s, just across the way from us, have an open house each Tuesday evening and since Wednesdays are theory days and we don’t have to cook, Tuesday has become the new Friday and I love Tonic Tuesdays.
This Tuesday, however, everyone was still at the popup prep and test kitchen, So, I had my prosciutto, bread and wine and began to feel quasi-human again.
My darling Arden is so loving and supportive. So are so many of the other girls. Everyone was so sweet and told me to go to bed. Always an obedient type, I am hunkered down and ready for a long winter’s nap and to say goodbye to today.
Cheers, all. May you be able to read the label of a matchbox through your hand-rolled pasta too. Yes, I had a box of matches in my apron pocket because Rory said you’d know your pasta was thin enough when you were able to read a matchbox label through it.❤️