I rarely think about May 30th of 2013 that I spent at the North Miami campus of Johnson & Wales desperately trying to show that, despite the fact that I couldn’t lift a pot of water or carry a 50-pound bag of flour, I was still capable of participating in the baking and pastry program at JWU. My pleas fell on deaf ears at the time and I spent an enjoyable year in Orlando learning the basics of pastry elsewhere, but always held a grudge against the administration that kept me out of one of the best pastry programs in the country.
I dropped a full gallon of milk today coming out of the cooler and it exploded all over the floor. I was so embarrassed – who drops an entire gallon of milk on the floor weighing a few pounds at most? Thank goodness for laid-back and understanding instructors – Chef Miscovich grabbed the container and said, “I see that this is a couple of days past the expiration date, but next time it might be easier just to pour it down the sink.”
I grabbed the mop and cleaned it up, probably still a little red in the face, and went back to scaling out my brioche for tomorrow.
And that was that.
No one was harmed by my little milk explosion, and it wasn’t a particularly dangerous situation. Would an instructor have seen that differently in Miami? Hard to say. But it’s one of those days (like most of them) that I’m so grateful that my situation turned out the way it did, even as I walk outside in the morning greeted by -23-degree temperatures.
This last week leading up to Valentine’s day was a busy one, but fun.
I spent Wednesday night baking heart-shaped pretzels with Operation Peace, Love and Bread, and we sold them to students on Thursday afternoon to raise money for a few homeless shelters in Rhode Island. The cause is a great one, and I always have a blast spending time with the other culinary students in the club.
Friday was a make-up day for culinary classes thanks to all the endless snow we seem to be getting, so I stayed busy all day. It was the very last day of Entremets and Petits Gateaux, and while it wasn’t a good day, I was so glad to finally be done.
Through the whole class I struggled to work well with my group, and they decided not to work with me at all on the last day. Begging other students to work with you isn’t exactly a nice need-to-be-needed kind of feeling, and because of an incorrect formula, my fromage blanc petits gateaux ended up in the trash before they were finished. Having a rough day with nothing to show for it at the end was frustrating, but thank goodness the practical was already done and these were just for fun!
Saturday was an exhausting but fun day. I spent Valentine’s day morning playing around with three kinds of chocolate to make whatever small chocolate showpiece I wanted. I had so much fun during my chocolates class that I couldn’t wait to work with chocolate again.
It’s got a lot of flaws, and I desperately need practice making chocolate flowers, but I was really thrilled with it. If I could spend my career building chocolate showpieces, I’d be a happy girl! After my stressful week, it was a blast to just get into the kitchen and work on making some edible art with fun people. I learned to airbrush and use luster dust to make the piece pop, something that’s usually a reserved for juniors and seniors.
It’s getting close to a year ago that I proved that I belonged in this program at the Providence campus, and I find myself reflecting on how fortunate I am pretty often these days. I take the good with the bad just like everybody else, but I refuse to have anything but a positive experience here.
Every day here is a blessing that fell in my lap, no matter what. So when I’m constantly asked, “aren’t you sick of the snow YET?” The answer is always no. I wanted to experience seasons, and I’ve certainly been doing that!
In three months, I’ll be finished with my associate’s degree in baking and pastry arts, and I’m on track to graduate magna cum laude.
Take that, North Miami.