Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More cooking class thoughts

In all of my stress over the impending demise of my fridge (now repaired, finally, incidentally) I haven't talked about the latest coolness of my cooking class series. Last week, I learned how to bone a duck thigh as part of making confit. That was cool, because although I've made plenty of confit, I have not learned boning. So I am very happy about that, and because I then boned five hindquarters, I got to get some reinforcement of the learning. I also made tasso -- or at least did the curing and spicing of it before Gabe put it on the smoker. But because I went to an event there the same evening (more on that in my next post) Gabe had smoked it and we (Dave and I) got to try it the same day. Boy was it yummy -- thanks in much part of course to Gabe's recipe, which included allspice and marjoram in addition to cayenne and white pepper. But I was thrilled to have done the prep on this one. In fact, I just get very excited seeing the results of the things I've worked on in this class, since for the most part they are things I would never do/get to do in the normal course of life at home. I mean, making Camembert? Only in class. And it really looks like Camembert! And the prosciutto -- where would I have room to hang an entire ham? But there, oh, it's a thing of beauty. This weekend we will make some fresh sausages, and then eat all the stuff we've made in what seems to me to be an embarassment of riches :) and a surfeit of pork fat...YUM!!! What this cooking class series has done for me, though, is much deeper than just getting to make things I've never made. It has made me more confident in my knowledge, or at least made me aware that a lot of knowledge is living up in my head that I draw on instinctively. It's also made me (sometimes painfully) aware of what I don't know, and of how I am still lacking in confidence. But I'm going to continue on this journey, I've already signed up for another class and I think we're going to go to Provence with these guys next spring. I think Gabe has a lot to teach me, and I appreciate that he has the formal education that I don't and that he has a passion for sharing it. The first step was the hardest, now I have to keep myself from over-indulging in this.

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