Cooking School Journal: Taking Stock

beef-stockIt’s really hard to think, let alone write, while a human being is screaming in your face.

If I had a nickel for every time someone said to me, Well, you’re home all day. Why don’t you write some articles on the side and make some cash?, I’d be paying our next month’s mortgage.

It’s hard to do anything with a toddler in your house. I thank the Lord when I come out of the shower and Hannah is still alive. Truly. So here it is, 10:25 on a Tuesday night, the kids are asleep, I’m so exhausted I feel like the meat’s gonna fall off my bones, but I feel compelled to bore you with my last three weeks of cooking class.

We’ve done soup, salad and pasta since we last spoke. And somehow, it’s all gone well.

The biggest highlight was when I walked into the fish class with my homework, a white/chicken stock and a brown/beef stock. We lined them all up together so Chef could do a blind tasting. As I anticipated, my white stock sucked. As she dipped her tablespoon into the plastic cup that held my stock, she slurped and shook her head and said, “Too much water. Bitter.”

Then it was time to taste the brown stocks. Again, she went down the line, plastic cup by plastic cup, slurping from her tablespoon until she got to mine. It sat in its container a deep, rich brown.  It was darker than anything next to it, which made me fear that I had completely screwed it up. She dipped her big tablespoon into my stock, sipped it, and asked, “Who’s is this?”

I slowly turned and said, “Um, it’s mine.”

Quietly, she said, almost mumbling, “This is the best brown stock a student has ever brought me.”

I faced her and quietly said, “Thank you.”

Then I turned around and said to myself, “Yesss!”