Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And It's Magically Nutritious

As I said, I'm taking two classes this quarter. In the afternoon I have my Nutritional Food and Menu Development class. Basically this is Personal Chef 101. As usual, the class started off slowly and spiraled down from there.

While our chili was cooking, I purchased my book for class in the school bookstore. Chef told me to buy the In Good Taste book. I cocked my head and said OK. I had noticed that everyone else had a book titled Nutrition for Foodservice and Culinary Professionals. In the book store the In Good Taste book was labeled as "required" and the Nutrition book was labeled as "recommended." Very good. Halfway through class Chef asks who has their book and a few start whining about how they don't. At that point I hold up my copy and ask, "I thought we were using this one?" Yes. Then the fireworks started. Whine, whine, whine. You told us to get the other book. Whine, whine, whine. WTF, you people can't read? (more on that later).

The issue apparently is the cost of the books. They are almost $100 in the book store. You can go online and buy a new one for half that and a used one for a tenth. For me, the class was that day and I needed the book so I bought it. I don't mean to sound like a snob, but I don't care how much the books cost. When I was in college and books were listed and ASSIGNED it was your responsibility to read the assignements BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. That meant, buy, borrow, photocopy, rent, whatever (we didn't have online sources back then, heck, we only had one bookstore, you bent over and took it). These guys are holding up the whole class because they don't want to shell out more than $5 for a used book plus $4.95 in shipping. Grow up dammit. That's like me not showing up to work because I don't have the money to buy steel toe boots. Find a way!

So any way, our modus operandi for this class is to pick someone in the school and cook a meal for them every Tuesday (or Monday if conflicts arise). We are to interview our client about their dietary needs. Cool. I can do that.

Holy shit! First we had to have a ten minute debate, explanation and just mental tripping over what a "meal" is. If you ever criticized Bill Clinton for asking the definition of the word "is" then you can shut up now since I just witnessed ten people, culinary art students, future chefs, asking for the definition of a "meal" and a "plate". Thank God my knives were locked up in a locker.

We also have to keep a notebook with our meal planning and nutritional data. It will be graded and I quote "I want you guys to put some effort into this quarter." You want me to keep a notebook? A lab notebook? Thank you Lord! This plays to my metallurgical engineering strengths.

Small scale cooking with a scientific approach? Now we are in my realm. New Girl is a former med-student so I think she and I will be the ones that shine in this class.

Not knowing a single person in the school I asked Chef for help. He recommended the receptionist, Wendy City. She's pissed me off in the past, but maybe some good food is the key to getting on her good side. She was agreeable to me cooking for her. I learned she's Type II, has a milk allergy, a shellfish allergy, does not eat red meat or catfish. Good, a challenge. I'm Type II also, so I won't need any research there, that part will be easy. Seven years of diabetic nutrition classes and I think I have that aspect down cold.

I came back told Chef and he was pleased. Now for the meal plan. I was thinking a salad, chicken and vegetable and a small dessert to cleanse the palate. I understand why Chef wanted us to use the In Good Taste book, it's a cookbook, the other is a text book, no recipes. First thing I find is a Roasted Pepper and Olive Salad. It uses kalamata olives so I immediately think Greek. I find a recipe for Pan Seared Chicken Served on Couscous and Green Beans. Perfect. To finish, a pseuso-ice cream made with skim milk, yogurt and ricotta. Yogurt just screams Greek.

I'm all set, I figure up my calorie count, proteins, and carbs based on the nutrition info given for each recipe. Looking good, about 700 calories. I start making my grocery list. Dammit, she's got a milk allergy. A ha! Cinnamon Gelato! Maybe I can substitute soy milk for the milk and get it to freeze? Chef says it's worth a try. Sweet! I'm ready to go and work out my details at home.

At that point Mayfield asks Chef about serving some of last quarter's Stollen as a dessert. What? For those that don't know, Stollen is the better tasting rich uncle of fruit cake. Chef frowns, "what are you talking about?" "The stollen bread we made. That stuff is so gooood. It'd be a great dessert Chef," says Mayfield. Yeah, like a piece half inch by half inch! Chef told him, "you have to remember what class you're in. This is NUTRITION."


Brook said...

That is a lot of food! One of my typical meals averages about 400 calories. With those and the two or three 100-200 calorie snacks through the day I try to stay under 1800 calories for the day. Usually 1600. Now it's time for lunch. I'm hungry!

Brook said...

or a cookie, honey oatmeal with raisins and walnuts.

Huff Daddy said...

Actually, it ended up being
483 calories,
36 grams of protein,
57 grams of carbs,
12 grams of fat and,
9 grams of fiber.

Brook said...

now that sounds more like it-not to mention yummy! Except for the soy milk.

Huff Daddy said...

The soy milk in the gelato was not bad. It wasn't a true gelato, it was thickened with cornstarch, no eggs. It didn't quite freeze right and thawed very quickly. It reminded me a lot more of tapioca than gelato.

Brook said...

I would have to say "BLECH" to that one. Gimme real gelato!

Huff Daddy said...

Brook, I do not disagree!