The First Day of School.

Day one. Holy crap.

Let me just say that I totally intended to get this post up yesterday, as my plan is try to write a new post every day. I am hoping to use my blog as a sort of culinary school journal Monday – Thursday (class days), and do Friday and weekend posts on what’s happening in the rest of my life (if I still have one). If I learned anything from day one, it is that college is exhausting at 28, and that I need better time management! So hopefully future posts will be on time.

I woke up at 5:15 totally nervous. I couldn’t fall asleep the night before (also nerves), so I probably only got 4-5 hours of real sleep – not great. I quickly showered and put on my gigantic checkered pants and undershirt, while Casey (husband of the year) ironed and starched my jacket and apron. Even though I had gotten everything ready the night before, I felt really scatter-brained and unprepared, racing around trying to find everything. I can’t even begin to make you understand how seriously they take uniforms here. If your jacket isn’t pressed correctly, they will sent you home and mark you as absent that day. And if you miss two classes (for ANY reason), you are automatically dropped from (and fail) the class. Scary stuff.

On any given day I need to remember to have: pressed coat, pressed apron, hat, pants, socks above the ankle (and yes they do check!), white undershirt with no writing, knife kit, all normal books and materials, and your arm pocket must have thermometer, sharpie, and pen. And of course if anything gets dirty or messed up too badly, you better have backups to quickly grab and change. Like I said, scary stuff.

While Casey and I do love our house, and the dogs absolutely love the yard, we are definitely feeling the effects of living in the ‘burbs. I left our house at 6:15am to make my 7:00 class, and immediately decided that from now on I need to leave at 6:00am. That is earlier than I used to wake up for my job in Cincinnati. My new bedtime will be no later than 10:00pm – I can’t function in such little sleep.

When I got to class, a lot of students were already there. We spent the first hour in lecture learning about: BREAKFAST! It felt really surreal and strange to be sitting in a class taking notes again. And of all topics, to be learning every minute detail about eggs. But it was actually really interesting, and the lecture flew past. Next thing I knew we were cleaning off our tables and preparing for COOKING!

Class was much different than what I had expected. Rather than everyone doing the same thing, and the Chef instructing and critiquing, it was more like working in a full-scale restaurant. We were all working on different projects, making different things, expected to go find all our utensils and ingredients with really no instruction or direction. My teacher is very nice though, so I just did what I do best and asked a million questions. I would much rather annoy with questions than do something wrong.

On day one we made: over-easy eggs, scrambled eggs, omelets, waffles in a waffle iron, buttermilk biscuits, bacon, sausage, and hashed brown potatoes. Seriously. And then we ATE IT.

Everyone keeps asking me, “what happens to all the food?” – it appears to me that what happens is culinary students and faculty eat it and gain a million pounds. I can honestly say that after two days of cooking school, I may never eat out again. It really makes you realize that you just don’t know what goes into food unless you make it for yourself. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of butter used in that classroom. So horrifying.

It is very interesting for me to be doing this while keeping my nutritional focus in mind. As we get more creative freedom, I may try to influence some more healthy cooking techniques in the dishes that I am in charge of – we’ll see. I also shared with my Chef that I am a vegetarian, and he said that was totally fine – no one was required to eat anything out of their comfort zone.

After we ate, we did an hour of clean up. My group was responsible for dishes, which meant that my hands were in scalding hot water for an hour. I may have a future in bank robbing, since I definitely won’t have any fingerprints left by the end of the year! I remember thinking while I was scrubbing dishpans and squeegeeing the floor, “this is the hardest I have ever worked for free.” :)

I was done at 1pm, and headed home to let the doggies out and relax. Casey had his late lab so I was on my own for the night. I ended up having really bad time management and somehow wasted like three hours just playing on the computer (and not even getting a blog post up, ugh!), so I’m making sure not to do that today (blogging doesn’t count as wasted time). Around 4, all the momentum of the morning caught up with me, and I took a mid-day nap with the doggies, who are always up for more sleep. I got up at 5 and went to the dreaded Walmart to get some supplies I needed for class. By the time I got home and started thinking about dinner, Casey had called to say his lab was over early and he’d be home soon – yay!

Once he got home, we made portabello tacos (YUM), shared war stories of the day, and then I realized I hadn’t done any homework or reading – WHOOPS. Like I said, I’m not used to being in college and having to do that stuff! I wasn’t sure how thorough we needed to be with the reading and notes, so I decided to err on the conservative side and took notes and studied everything. Good thing I did since we had a quiz this morning. But that will have to wait for the next post.

I didn’t end up in bed until midnight, and that 5am alarm came waaay too soon…