I taught my cooking class today at local elementary school.
Don’t close your browser yet, this isn’t a “this is what I did today!” post.
No, I basically taught 1st to 5th graders for an hour with hiccups the whole time! I didn’t even have a Dr. Pepper (diet, of course, I’m not THAT recovered?). I tried to hide it, but after attendance, they spotted it and started laughing hysterically.
It was difficult for me to wrangle the kids back and try to maintain some authority without being all “Ms. Trunchbull”. Anyhow, I’m going off topic. What is my topic? Hiccups!
Not real hiccups though, more like mishaps and bloopers.
I’ve had so many bloopers in culinary school, I can’t even begin to tell you. And not to brag or anything, but I’m surprised I had a 4.0 there. I was on the honor roll (yes, at least in well respected culinary schools, there is such a thing) but I’ve goofed up so many times.
Before I even started culinary school, I researched what I should look out for. Here’s an abridged version of the “hiccups” commonly made in culinary school:
1.You don’t taste as you go
2.You don’t read the entire recipe before you start cooking
3. You make unwise substitutions in baking.
4. You boil when you should simmer.
5. You overheat chocolate.
6. You over-soften butter.
7. You overheat low-fat milk products.
8. You don’t know your oven’s quirks and idiosyncrasies.
9. You’re too casual about measuring ingredients.
10. You overcrowd the pan.
11. You mishandle egg whites.
12. You turn the food too often.
13. You don’t get the pan hot enough before you add the food.
14. You slice meat with the grain instead of against it.
15. You underbake cakes and breads.
16. You don’t use a meat thermometer.
17. Meat gets no chance to rest after cooking.
18. You try to rush the cooking of caramelized onions.
19. You overwork lower-fat dough.
20. You neglect the nuts you’re toasting.
21. You don’t shock vegetables when they’ve reached the desired texture.
22. You put all the salt in the marinade or breading.
23. You pop meat straight from the fridge into the oven or onto the grill.
24. You don’t know when to abandon ship and start over.
25. You use inferior ingredients.
And I’m guilty of every. single. one.
And although cooking is an art, in many ways, its totally not. There are no mistakes, or “hiccups” in art. There are definitely mistakes in cooking (at least in professional cooking). Although I’ve written about how much I embraced Julia Child’s philosophy in regards to cooking “hiccups”, you can only be so cutesy and put things back together so far. Cookies that resemble coal suck, over salted soup makes some people gag (no to mention blood pressure to soar), and your “toasted” nuts set off the fire alarm.
But shit happens. Unlike art, you can recreate you “art” when it comes to cooking. A painting is pretty unique. But if you follow a recipe, you can recreate something and learn from your hiccups. The first time I made angel food cake in my baking class, the middle of the cake sunk, making what looked like a spongy crater. I dont think I folded the egg whites correctly. I had a drill sergeant of a chef at the time that yelled at me, “What’s this piece of shit?”. I kind of wanted to cry, but I knew I could do better. Sure enough, I did it again for the final and got an A. I got a B- on my sourdough, but that’s a different story.
Whats you biggest “hiccup” that happened to you in life or in the kitchen or in life?
And here’s another hiccup I made. I forgot to take photos of me making these waffles. O well, next time right?
- 1 1/2 cups ground almonds or almond meal
1/2 cup buckwheat flour (or All Purpose flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tblsp canola oil or melted butter
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (up to 1 1/4 cups milk depending on your equip)
1 tblsp sugar, agave nectar, maple syrup or sweetener of choice