Friday, January 22, 2010

Two A Days

Back when I was single, rebounding and lean(er) and mean I used to work out twice a day at the gym, once around 11:00 AM and again around 11:00 PM. I don't know if I ever felt better. This quarter at school I am taking two classes on Mondays and Tuesdays. I have Banquet from 8:30-1:30 and then I have Nutrition from 2:00-5:30. It's a long day for someone who hasn't worked regular hours in ten years.

Tuesday we finally resumed classes after a week off for snow days and MLK on Monday. I was there early as usual. Bar Code came over and told me that Chef had to drop Slo Mo. Really?!? Yep, he missed all last week. He was sitting in jail. Sweeeeet! "That makes my year!" I told him.

I asked BC why he was setting up the buffet line. I mean surely we can't be doing a buffet, we haven't even had class yet. "We're doing a chili cook off," Bar Code told me. Well damn, if I had known that I would have brought one of my recipes from home. Oh well, I'll just join somebody else and ride their coattails.

The class began to fill in, slowly. Chef was apparently at the grocery getting chili supplies. New Chef was mingling with us. I can see he's getting antsy as we're not in the kitchen yet and it's 9:15. I don't know if he hears me but I tell him this group does not do well without leadership. Finally a few of us head into the kitchen and the rest slowly follow.

On my way in RK stops me and asks if I am in a group yet. Damn. Deep breath. No I don't. "Well why don't you and me team up. I got this recipe that I used at home a couple times and it's pretty good." Fine, no problem, I'll meet you in the kitchen. Sushi Boys are in this class too and and look lost so I tell them to join in with us, kind of dilute my time with RK.

Sushi Boys and RK head into the kitchen, I wash up and start filling the sinks and assembling the dishwasher. At this point Chef comes in and herds everyone out. We all sit down. Class has begun. Sign in, brief, ever so brief review of rules. Chef wants to do some neat banquets this quarter and wants us to put more effort into it. Come up with some themes. Find out what is involved in an Italian Wedding, or a Greek Wedding, or a Clam Bake. Mouth wants to do a wedding cake with birds that fly out of it. Nasty! Who wants bird shit in their cake? Salmonella Surprise Cake. She says it's an Italian Wedding thing. Chef says he's never ever seen that happen, but she can do a wedding cake if she wants.

Monday we have a big luncheon for the Travel Club and we need to think of what we want to do. I ask where there are going or what they are discussing. Chef says Valentines Day, "so what pops into your mind when I day that?" I say Paris. He looks at me confused. I say Valentines Day = romance and Paris is the city of romance. We could do an Evening in Paris, serve French food. No one seems to like the idea.

What's this! Slo Mo is here. Chef tells him he had to drop him and he needs to go to the office to be reinstated. Son-of-a-bitch! He's going to let that fucker back in! No lesson learned here. Damn it! Slo Mo's not allowed in the kitchen though, too much liability risk if he cuts himself or something since Slo Mo is now officially not a student. Thank God!

Chef says we are doing a chili cook off competition. Pair up in twos and each pair will be assigned a number. Sweet! I tell Chef I want to do Cincinnati Chili. Fine, who's your partner. I point next to him and say, "I want New Girl." I look over my shoulder at RK, sorry Bud, if this is a competition I want to win. Doh!!!!!!!!!!!! Bar Code is laughing his ass off. I didn't intend for that to come out sounding mean, but at the same time, I don't really care if he took it that way. It was true.

So after Chef goes on a long dissertation on not using the Internet for recipes and to use books, especially those in the school library, I tell New Girl we're going to look on the Internet because I know the library won't have a cookbook with Cincy Chili in it and I don't have my recipe with me. I couldn't remember the link for the recipe I wanted (Pleasant Hill Chili by the way). I found one that looked like it would work and away we went.

New Girl is not so new. She's a transfer from Chattahoochee because the two classes she needs to finish, Banquet and Nutrition, aren't offered this quarter and she wants to finish NOW. I think she is originally from here, her mom lives here so New Girl just comes up on Sunday and goes back home on Wednesday. In talking with her, her program sounds much more intensive than ours and she knows a lot more than us. It also sounds like all of her instructors took Gordon Ramsay as their role model and New Girl is grateful to be here.

We've got about a two hours now to serve since Chef led us back out late. No problem, not like chili is hard. Everyone else is in a panic but what's my mantra? Everything is Zen. I tell New Girl I want to prep every thing first. I'm looking around and everyone is weighing and measuring. Whatever. We need two pounds of ground beef. I take whatever the Sushi boys have left over after they are done weighing. Close enough. I set New Girl on chopping while I gathered the spices and start the meat cooking. We're simmering away in thirty minutes and have nothing but time to kill. I start in on the dishes, per usual and let New Girl meet some people.

WTF! I just don't get it. Slo Mo is in the kitchen making bread pudding. I guess he's just not allowed near a knife? I'm a rule follower. I might not always like the rules, but I follow them. And I enforce rules when it is my place to do so. So this just pisses me off to no end.

Bar Code and The Kid's chili looks like salsa. Hottie #2 and Hottie #3's vegetarian chili looks like I don't know what but it isn't chili, maybe stir fry. Broccoli in chili? RK's asking Chef questions about his recipe. I thought this was a recipe he's used at home before? He doesn't know what he's doing? MILF asks me to taste her chili; she thinks it is missing something. It is. I ask what she has in it and suggest another teaspoon of chili powder. She comes back later and says that was it. Chef hears her and knocks us both down a rung. "This is a competition, we DO NOT help each other." No problem. One needs to establish the rules and expectations ahead of time, but now I know. Mayfield is trembling. RK asks to taste Mayfield's chili and when he starts to offer a "friendly" suggestion, Mayfield shuts him up. Then RK asks what does "banquet" mean? You have got to be kidding me!

Show time. New Girl and I drew slot #1, which is good. This is a self serve line, which upsets me because now I have to explain how to build a 3-Way Cincinnati Chili. Chef snaps at us for all sitting down, but we've never done a self serve line before so none of us knew or understood we were still supposed to man our stations. Live and learn. Bar Code has slot #2 and we have some friendly banter selling our chili as people come through the line since they will all be voting for the best chili. Our chili is spot on. I know. I used to eat a lot of Hard Times Chili and we had just eaten at Skyline two weeks ago. Oh yeah, and I'm from Ohio too. The color was an amazing burnt burgundy color (I need to start taking pictures of the food we cook) and you could smell the sweet spiciness of the cloves and cinnamon. New Girl liked it even though she had never had Cincy style before. And I soon realized that was a problem. Neither had anyone else. I watched people skip the noodles. I watched them put the noodles in their sample cup and then put someone else's chili on top. One woman complained that we didn't put olive oil on the noodles. WTF! This isn't Italian food. One woman skipped the sampler cup and loaded her plate UP! She loves Cincinnati Chili, her mom used to make it every week. She gave ours a thumbs up, second only to her mom's. I told New Girl that if we came in less than second place, I was going to be mad.

We got to eat last. RK's chili was gone so I didn't get to taste his. Bar Code's was good but his beans were not done. Same problem we had last quarter with baked beans. We need a pressure cooker. MILF's steak chili was ok, the meat was good. The veggie "chili" was ok, would have been great with some chicken chunks, a la chicken stir fry. My vote for the best would have been Sushi Boys. Votes were tallied and.... drum roll please.... we came in third. Damn it! I don't know who came in second, it might have been Sushi Boys. First place and winners of a cookbook went to Hotties #2 and #3 with their Vegetarian Chili. All I can do is shake my head.


Brook said...

I like chili. I need to use up some deer in the freezer. It is kind of cold. Chili.
you should take pictures-it is hard to remember to do that though.

My wv is "blecke" which is what I think when I hear broccoli and chili in the same sentence.

joeandex said...