Monday, December 11, 2006

Day 8: Genesis. Exodus. Corinthians. (I mean, Cornets.)

Today we explored, in greater depth than most ever will, the noble egg: that insanely complete giver of life, a single food item that contains and provides all the amino acids a human could ever need. We even learned about the chalaza. It sounds like a Jewish bread with cheese and tomato on it, but it’s not, it’s that little spiraly thing you always try to get rid of because you think it’s a tiny umbilical cord. (It’s actually just an anchor for holding the yolk in place, as it turns out.) When it comes to baking ingredients, eggs are certainly up there, and not just for the aminos. They thicken. They coagulate. They leaven. They flavor. They emulsify. Is there anything they can’t do? Not really. I found it particularly amusing that one of the smokers in the class would ask, But, Chef, don’t they have a lot of cholesterol? God bless you, you’ve got to try to cut down where you can.

We were informed that one evening next week, we will be attending a posh Manhattan restaurant for dessert and coffee. The fog of hindsight may lay somewhat heavily on my overextended mind, but I cannot remember ever having had a field trip I was so excited about beforehand, the circus included. The pastry chef at the restaurant in question is a graduate of our school. We’re all hoping the desserts are amazing, for reasons both tangible and metaphysical.

And, alas, we came back to cornets today. I had not been mentioning it, in writing or in conversation, for fear of summoning it. It really is an amazing art. In most things where you practice repeatedly and under expert guidance, you can have some reasonable expectation of progress. Not in cornet work. We did a refresher today of several designs we had been poorly mimicking most recently, and then learned some new ones, of a more rococo nature. Imagine trying to build a doghouse, failing, and then progressing to a tool shed anyway. Not to start sounding off theories of conspiracy, but I’m coming to believe that making us perform these exercises in chocolate décor may merely be an attempt to keep our egos in check.

It’s certainly working.

No comments: