Puff Pastry & More Potential Terrorists

I didn’t have to go to school until 12:30 this afternoon, which is nice, because it gives me time to finish some things up in the mornings. Refreshed and wide awake, I set out onto the rainy streets of Paris. People are always saying that it rains a lot in London, and it’s true, but it rains just as much here, which is something I never knew.

On the train this morning, I paid particular attention to a statue that is right next to the Metro near a very old hospital. It’s creepy looking, but every morning I only see it in passing, so this morning I sat alert waiting for it to pass. The train halted on the tracks a bit right in front of the statue, which I found a bizarre occurrence. Anyway, the statue is of George Washington in some bizarre pose that looks very commanding and horrifying at the same time. His hands are in an awkward, very fluid looking pose. I am going to try to get off the train sometime so that I can take a better picture of it. I only have a blurry one that doesn’t show anything.

I got to school in plenty of time to prepare the kitchen for today’s practical. I was lucky, because everything was already upstairs, so I didn’t have to go downstairs at all! Within a half hour, everything was arranged nicely and in an aesthetically pleasing way. Other assistants have just thrown things out, but I tried to make centerpieces. In the end, nobody noticed, but I still enjoyed doing it. Then, I was done being an assistant for forever!

When Chef arrived we were allowed to start cooking and preparing our puff pastry. Good God! It is easy to make puff pastry. All you have to do is put butter in dough and roll it out, turn it, roll it out, turn it, etc. Some people just don’t get it. I often wonder if they pay any attention at all to the events that occur in demonstrations, they just can’t do it, it seems. As I thought it would be, it was very easy to prepare.

Full Shoulder

Once the dough had chilled, it was time to make the palmiers. (The pastry over my eyes in today’s photo.) This was very simple to do, you just fold the dough like a book and then slice down. When they bake, they will expand incredibly, and are supposed to look like palm leaves. I don’t really see the resemblance, I think that they look more like opera glasses, or those ones you pinch over your nose. That’s why I took that picture.

When slicing the palmier dough they are supposed to be 1 to 1.5 centimeters wide. When he told us that, I was like, “S**t (insert profanity of your choice).” I knew that wasn’t very big, but I still had no idea at all. Not understanding metric has been very frustrating for me. I’ve been studying a ruler every night, but still, I have no frame of reference! In the end, he said that I cut them to big, but it seemed that everybody had. Maybe nobody understands metric even though they all use it aside from the Americans…who knows?

My apple turnovers, on the other hand, were proclaimed perfect by the Chef, and honestly, they were! This is the kind of baking I enjoy, not piping stars on cakes, I like to use dough and make hearty and solid things like cookies and breads, not dinky little whipped cream cakes.

In the waiting time for everything to finish cooking, I talked with Jongin for awhile. (I am almost certain that is how you write her name, but I could be wrong.) Then we all talked with the dishwasher for awhile, he’s from Ghana.

One of the girls was looking all over the kitchen for her brush, she had managed to misplace it. She started to ask anybody if they had seen it, when another student pointed out that it was in her shirt pocket. We all about passed out laughing, even though it doesn’t sound funny, it was hilarious.

When everything was out of the oven, I tastefully arranged my pastries on my cooling rack for analysis by Chef. In the end, he said that everything looked good, except that the palmiers were too wide, but really, he said, that is a matter of taste. I was pleased.

Today, we had a demonstration after the practical, so I went and sat down there, reading my book while I waited. I’m almost done with it! Today’s demonstration was bizarre. We were making éclairs and a variety of things like them as they all used the same base dough. One of the things Chef prepared was called acorns. The translator said, “Piglet’s favorite food.” This, for some reason, started an ethical conversation about Winnie the Pooh. I thought that some people were joking when they said that they never watched the show because it was rumored that Pooh was homosexual, so I laughed, until I realized that they were dead serious. Then, realizing this, I laughed some more. The translator laughed with me and then everybody let out a nervous chuckle.

The pastries were all filled with some kind of pastry cream. The way the Chef explained it though, came out accidentally very explicit which again caused uproarious laughter from everybody. It was very funny, but I’m not going to write it here.

Every one of the pastry creams had some kind of alcohol in them to make them taste better. As Chef prepared the whipped cream he went to add a bit of rum to it, when the girl who is afraid of alcohol for some reason, stood up, screaming, “NOOO! ONE FOR ME! PLEASE, ONE FOR ME!” We all looked at her like she was crazy–Chef was taken aback, but he kept some virgin whipped cream for her. She is an odd thing.

On the way home I was involved in a potential terrorist attack again. On the bridge over the river, the train shut down. The lights flickered off like in a bad horror movie and the doors started to shake. We were plunged into darkness for probably 30 seconds until the emergency lights came on. We sat there for perhaps five minutes while the driver tried to pass the time by telling jokes over the intercom.

The train finally got moving again, but at the Bastille stop it did the same thing, so I just got out and walked home. I’m not big on dying on a train before I eat at the Olive Garden again or see an Apple Store one last time.

Back in the apartment, I was about killed for the second time. My cable box likes to strongly electrocute me when I manually switch it between DVD and cable. It really hurts.

Then, I took my picture modeling food. They did it on America’s Top Model with meat one time, why shouldn’t I do it with a pastry? It came out interestingly enough.

I was browsing the Internet after that when I came across the premiere of Benjamin Button. It turns out the Parisian premiere was tonight. I was already half dressed, ready to dash off to see Brad and Angelina when I read that the red carpet event was over. Depressed, I went back to my gossip, where to my horror, I heard that Kanye West was here at the Luis Vuitton store revealing his new shoe. I gagged and then was horrified to think that I was in the same city as him. He’s such a pompous git.

I didn’t really do anything else today.

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