Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wafflemania

We took a little (15 minutes?) break from The World of Butter to make waffles today. Yes, they, too, had butter in them, but only a little rather than big wads. We baked the pithiviers and apple turnovers, so now I have made puff pastry. It didn't puff as much as I would have liked, and, second, I was WAY too heavy-handed with the paring knife. (The top is supposed to be scored rather than hacked open.) It still tastes good, though. We also made banana bread, which used butter rather than oil (and which I greatly preferred to the usual oily glop that passes for banana bread), but not as much butter as the puff pastry or the brioche. Yes, we started another batch of brioche, too, while we were at it, with even MORE butter in it, and we made some almond syrup. (The latter two are to show us what to do with leftover brioche, I think.)

We made the waffle batter, let it rest, and then the chef had us each go up and use his waffle irons--"Table 1, time for Wafflemania!" he'd call out. He had this cool old cast-iron waffle iron and a teflon one, and the former made MUCH better waffles. (Which reminds me--I wonder what my mom did with her old waffle iron, which, I believe, was cast iron?) The chef is extremely funny--amusing more than roll-on-the-floor funny, but completely entertaining, even as he's giving us so much information our little heads are whirling around like dervishes. It's clear that he takes the whole thing quite seriously, but it's almost as though he trusts us to take it seriously, too. The jury's still out, of course, on most of us--everyone is enthusiastic the first couple of weeks--but he's giving us more of the benefit of the doubt. I suspect they figure that not many people would quit their jobs (or cut back their hours), or move hundreds or thousands of miles, or spend so much money, just to screw around or because they couldn't think of anything else to do, but we'll see.

Another thing that's interesting to me is that we were all introduced to the chefs as "Chef Fred" and "Chef Sam" and the like, and the school staff refer to the chefs that way as well. In the class I observed way back when, the same thing was true--the students called the chefs "Chef Fred" or whatever. Partly because everyone else does it, and partly out of respect, I've done the same thing--it's also worth pointing out that the chef has never corrected me and said, "Call me Fred." That's usually what people do to invite less formality than what you've offered, and, given that he's about my age, I think, I suspect he's probably still of a generation where one did not assume familiarity. Thus, I'm a little surprised that a couple of people have been calling him "Fred." He hasn't corrected them, either, but I'm not changing.

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