Friday, December 09, 2005

Funny how?

The good news is that my exam is over. The better news is that it even went reasonably well, except for one thing that went horribly wrong. The lemon meringue tart was lovely, as was the creme brulee (no, I don't have pictures; I forgot my camera). The souffle wasn't terrible, but it was a little underfolded and so didn't rise perfectly. The paper cone was fine. The ice cream bombe was okay--could have been nicer, but it was acceptable, I think. The World Cup Cake was going swimmingly--all of the components came out well, it merely needed some chocolate mirror glaze on top.

The glaze must have a certain consistency so it runs over the cake but doesn't completely run off the whole cake and leave naked spots along the edge; it also must be a certain temperature, or it will melt the chocolate mousse. I made my glaze yesterday and reheated it today. I got impatient and tried to put it on the first cake (the recipe makes two, and, even though we had to submit only one, I went ahead and made two, just in case something went wrong) before it had cooled sufficiently, and the result looked like a cake that had been hit by a car. Actually, that's a kind way of putting it, but we'll go with that.

I had more glaze, but paid no attention to the fact that, even though I cooled it down to the proper temperature, it was way, way too thick--it didn't coat the cake, it kind of glopped on top of the cake. It was . . . not pretty. I submitted it anyway, because I had no choice, but it was a disaster. Once the chef graded it (I shudder to think), I said, "Okay chef, now let me show you the other one." The chef and everyone in the class, including me, was laughing at my first effort. Our intern told me later that the cake made her day, because it was so funny. The chef overheard that comment and said that it was kind of a good thing, because some people are perfectionists, noticing teeny little flaws, whereas my cake would make them realize just how nice their cake was. One of my classmates took a picture of the really bad one, and, if I get a copy, I'll post it for you. One of my other classmates actually complimented me on my reaction (the aforementioned hysterical laughter)--when I looked puzzled (really, what else could you do but laugh at a disaster like that one?), he reminded me that we have classmates who would have broken down in tears or something. He's right, I guess, but it was just too funny. I also got a laugh out of my classmates later: the chef was telling us what we'll be making next week for the graduation buffet, then he said he'd need a couple of volunteers Friday morning to do some final touches on things, so I volunteered to glaze the cakes.

In any case, I'm nearly done with school--it's all over but the celebrating and the preparation therefor. We're having a get-together on Sunday, mostly to celebrate our intern (though she doesn't know that yet), at a local bar (we were going to do a pot luck at a classmate's apartment, but she's been sick for two weeks--she's doing her exams next week, even--so we decided not to make her entertain us). It's been fun--every single day.

One of the things that's been interesting for me is the seasonal aspect. I've taken the same bus every weekday except three or four for the last six months, and walked the same three blocks west, at the same time of day. When we started, it was hot and humid, and I had on light summer clothes. The past two weeks have been cold, sometimes bitter cold, and today there was snow on the ground (we got 6 or 7 inches last night). I tend to notice seasons, but this was a daily march through half of the calendar--much more so than in previous years, because, when I was working, I didn't necessarily take exactly the same bus, and it wasn't exactly the same time of day, and so on, so the impact was different somehow.

Anyway. The Kid and his father should be here soon, and I'm exhausted. The Kid is likely to be tired, too--his grandmother is in Paris, which meant he didn't do his homework last night at his grandparents' house (his grandfather isn't the disciplinarian that his grandmother is). Mom was delayed by the weather and didn't get there until 9:00, which meant the Kid was up until nearly 11 doing homework. I'm hoping Dad gave him a little lecture on taking responsibility for one's own homework, and for sure he's going to bed early tonight. As am I.

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