Meet Darina Allen, our benevolent drill sergeant. Two days in and my head is spinning from all we have done and have to get done each day. The normal daily routine is to come in early, 8:15-ish, to assemble and weigh the ingredients you'll be needing to prepare your dishes for lunch that day. Lunch is at noon. By 2:00, you must have eaten, bussed your table and participated in any other duties you might have had, run to the bathroom and meet in the demonstration room to be shown what is on the menu tomorrow. You have a partner in a certain section of one of the 3 main kitchens. This week, I'm in kitchen 3 in the blue section and Richard is my tutor chef. He reminds me a lot of the actor, J.K. Simmons. He's cute, funny and fast-talking. And, when I diced carrots, onions and potatoes, he said, "beautiful, Shannon, beautiful." In an Irish borgue. 🍀
The meal above, was lunch today. It was Carrot and Coriander Soup and Mushroom a la Créme, a green salad and a fresh hot loaf of Soda Bread with homemade butter from Jersey cows here on the farm. And, tomatoes. Always those beautiful tomatoes. I have to say, I was so hungry and it was all so good, I nearly licked the bowl and plate. But, there was no rest for the weary and it was nearly 2:00!
The lecture for yesterday and today went until 6:00. I'm not accustomed to sitting still for so long. Usually, I'm up and down and moving all around, all day long. Ants in my pants, you might say. My grandfather, Obie, used to say he was a "nervous-dispositioned fella," and you can certainly say that about me too.
When we Darina finished showing us everything we needed to learn about tomorrow's recipes and giving us all wee samples so we'd know how it's supposed to taste, we had to team up with our partner to discuss how we'd share the work between us. Then, each night, we'll have to write up an "order of work," marking the timing and scheduling of how we intend to get our food prepared in good order before noon. This is so, if in the future, we're working in a busy kitchen, we'll know how to budget our time and get everything made by opening time. We were busy doing that until 7:45 this evening. Also, we have four enormous binders with dividers in which to categorize and store our recipes. I'm going to have to rent a trunk to get them all shipped home!
My folly was in thinking I'd have time to sketch, watercolor and exercise and maybe even relax while I was here. There is no time to do anything but what we came here to do. Learn about food, how it's grown and how to cook it. I laughed today when I felt myself frazzled, tired and having the I'm-new-at-this-blues. I thought, "Good. It's working." You know, the difference between "try" and "trying" is just a little umph! Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.
Meanwhile, I am in Ireland and the sea is a mile and a half away and I can tell you, come Saturday and Sunday, I'm going for a run to and along it, come rain or come shine.