Today was a bizarrely good day after yesterday’s agoraphobic feelings and moderate depression. Anyway, I woke up feeling awake, which never happens, so that was surprising. For breakfast, I had some leftover pasta from my dinner last evening and some tonic juice. Good Lord, that stuff will wake you up in a hurry. It’s a mix of oranges, lemons, grapefruits, apples, and something else. It’s incredibly sour and unpleasant in a way, but you aren’t tired after your first sip. It’s like a caffeine-free coffee.
The trains were empty today, much to my delight. When I got to my first transfer, I became confused and turned completely around. It had been shut down yesterday during the afternoon for renovations, I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, but my next train wasn’t where it used to be. It was on the completely other side in a different station. I don’t understand, but I’m not complaining. It’s closer now. I know that I might be retarded with directions, but I’m fairy positive that I hadn’t been doing that the entire time.
I got to the school a little over a half an hour early which gave me plenty of time to prepare the practical room. It all went surprisingly easy, much to my delight. My only flub came from my inability to understand the Metric system. I mean, I know the basic liter, but what is a decaliter? There are so many words that I was never taught. I wish that America would just start using it for convenience sake. It would probably be an expensive change, having to fix every road sign and all, but good Lord, did I feel stupid today trying to collect ingredients.
Today we were making something called a Saint-Honoré, which is something that I wouldn’t touch, but was kind of fun to make. It’s a big circle with a spiral of pastry on the circle, then balls of pastry around the edges. It is then filled with whipped cream with a special pastry tip. It is an odd looking thing, but oh well.
My dough came together easily, I whipped my choux pastry up with a flair. Everything was going alright until we had to make whipped cream by hand. Good God, it’s impossible. I think I added an inch to the muscle mass in my right arm just from that alone. Even now, typing this, my hand is exhausted from beating the cream for fifteen straight minutes. I know that tomorrow, my hands and arm will be screaming, but oh well. I did it.
The base of the pastry and spiral came out of the oven, and I’m not being conceited when I say this, but I truly feel that mine was the best of all of them. It was a beautiful golden brown whereas everybody else’s seemed to be a dull dark brown. The pastry balls stayed round and nice. I was very pleased.
Then, while it cooled, we had to make caramel. This is just sugar placed in water and boiled until a color forms. This was the most nerve-wracking event of the day, you never are really sure when it’s done, but mine turned out alright. Then, we had to pipe in the whipped cream on the cooled base. I am the first to admit that my pastry piping leaves something to be desired. It always has, but I am getting better. The Saint-Honoré is very distinctive by the whipped cream pattern on top, it even has it’s own tip for piping. It is very hard to do and it didn’t look the best, but it wasn’t the worst either.
In the end, Chef said that the pastry was very nice, especially my whipped cream rosettes around the edges. I was happy with it. When I went down to my next demonstration, I forgot to put it in the refrigerator and the whipped cream kind of fell apart, so, I threw it away when I got home. I wasn’t going to eat it anyway. I hate whipped cream.
In today’s demonstration, he told us that we were going to start doing harder things. When he told us that this difficult thing would be puff pastry, I just kind of chuckled. That is one thing that I know how to do already. I did it every time I made croissants at home. So, hopefully tomorrow will be as easy as it is at home (and I suspect that it will be). We are making apple turnovers and Palmiers with the dough, and neither of them scream difficulty.
After changing back into comfortable clothing, I rode home and was delighted to get a package in the mail from Tracy. She sent me a wonderful book about interesting looking buildings in Paris and Cheerios! I am so excited to eat breakfast tomorrow!
AHH! I forgot! Today, coming home, I saw a drag queen! It wasn’t a well-done drag queen like Jackie Beat, or the boys from To Wong Foo. She was very tall with a flat face and a ridiculous amount of foundation plastered on. It was just so obvious that it was amazing! I couldn’t get my camera in time, which was a let down, but still, the image will be with me forever.
After flipping through the book, I flipped on the dishwasher and wondered how I ever lived without one before. It is the most amazing thing.
Then for some reason, I decided to mess with the Windows 7 beta. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, it’s the next version of Windows. I installed it on my computer, but then got bored with it. It doesn’t actually do much. So, that was a waste of time.
I watched CNN for awhile and was disgusted by the proposal in Nashville to make English the official language of the city, and by doing so, forbidding businesses from offering translated menus or documents or whatever. I find that repulsive. Coming from the perspective of an American in France, I know that there are certain things that I would not understand if they hadn’t been translated into English for me. To make some poor immigrant learn one of the hardest languages in the world in a matter of days is irresponsible and disgusting, not to mention impossible. It takes months to get a handle on a language and even then, not very well.
Then, after emailing my Aunt, I decided that over the summer I want to walk to Bradenton Beach, Florida, from my house. Google Earth said that it would take a little over 19 days, but I’m sure that it’ll be longer. I don’t really know how or why I want to do this, but I have a hunch that it will make a fascinating memoir. Besides, what a fun thing to brag about to people.
“What did you do this summer?”
“Oh, I walked for a month straight to Florida.”
“Wow. I cleaned my house. You’re so much cooler than me.”
“Yes. Yes, I am.”
Besides, is there a better exercise routine than walking 1,399 miles?
Well, I don’t have to go to school until 12:30 tomorrow, so I might be able to take in a movie tonight if I get around to it.
Right now, though, I think I’ll go read my book about Sunset Boulevard. Oh, yesterday, I bought the soundtrack to Boulevard! Starring Gloria Swanson. It turns out that before Andrew Lloyd Webber’s massive success, Sunset Boulevard, Gloria Swanson had already turned it into a musical. It wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t bad either. It’s fascinating either way.