First Walkabout    

July 26 1998
Getting to know the area
Where am I again?

The task of the day:

Random driving around

In preparation for tomorrow's class, I'm at the video center, watching some demonstration tapes. As one might expect, cooking is about visual things, so reading about it only gets you so far. The typical homework will involve some reading, plus at least one video tape to watch. Today, we were blessed with: The Way to Saute, Deep Frying and Pan Frying, and Masters of the Wok. All spine-tingling, I can assure you. Okay, that's not quite fair. The last one was pretty good. The other two were rather basic. Still, I suppose it never hurts to review just prior to class.

This week is entitled Cooking Principles, and includes all of the basics of dish preparation. There is going to be quite a bit packed into this week, and we'll actually be preparing complete meals for the first time. I'm not sure how many folks from my previous class will be in this one, but I think it's about half.

* * *

Things I miss about California (in no particular order):

  • Direct internet connections (Why are people rushing to get on the internet via modem speeds?)
  • Carol
  • Lattes with reasonable amounts of coffee in them
  • Independent bookstores
  • Russell
  • Clean phone lines (I'm averaging 16000 bps here)
  • Non-bigoted people in percentages larger than 0
  • meriko
  • Humidity in percentages lower than 100
  • Decent bagels (This is really annoying. 3000 miles from NYC gets me better bagels than 60?)

* * *

I found a Barnes and Noble finally. It's not the most stellar of bookstores, I know. But it's better than nothing. I went to a huge mall that had (get this) no bookstores in it. Picked up An Instance of the Fingerpost, which in spite of having all geek sounding nouns, has nothing to do with computers.

Had some fun driving around here. Lots of nice medium twisty roads, but very smooth and drivable. Spooled up the turbo while listening to When Dream and Day Unite. Not Dream Theater's best. Very power trio-ish, a la Rush or Triumph. They hadn't yet gotten into heavy prog wankery yet. Still, not bad for driving. Windows down, top open, stereo cranked, wind blowing through my hair. Felt good not to have it all restrained.

When it class, one needs to conform to the CIA's "Personal Hygiene Code." White Chef's Coat, Checked Chef's Pants, Black Shoes, Hair "neat and under control." If you know me, you know that my hair is rarely "under control." For class, I've got it double-rubber banded and folded in two in order to keep it out of the way. Also serves as a handy sponge for soaking up all of the sweat I put out. On Friday at the bar several people failed to recognize me with my hair visible. I also found out that Chef's hair until about a week ago came down to his butt in a pony tail. Cool.

* * *

Rumor has it that we were going to have Coppage for our Bread Baking class. However, last week he broke his ankle playing soccer. I now have yet another reason to dislike organized sports. Coppage single handedly restored breads at the CIA from a course nobody wanted to take into a class that people travel here to get into. He's got a lock on all of the secretaries hearts here because of the quality of the bread. I'm sure his replacement is just fine. Still, what a bummer! Maybe he'll heal quickly.

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Copyright 1998 Tom Dowdy