Sunday Updates – Monday Edition

I had every intention of sitting down at the computer and typing out a long update post yesterday, but I lay about like a sloth instead, enjoying one of the two days off I have this week.  Every time I passed by the computer, I thought to myself, “Oh, I ought to sit down and post something on Cakeland.”  Then, I’d sigh and go back to watching whatever mindless thing struck my fancy on the television, embracing the exhaustion and desire for laziness I felt all day.  It was a battle between the nice, comfortable couch and a straight-backed wooden chair.  Obviously, the couch won!  So, here it is Monday.  Better late than never!  This is probably going to be really long since I haven’t posted in a week.  The quick-and-dirty summary is the next paragraph for all of you tl;dr folks.

My week last week was actually pretty grueling, especially compared to last semester (heck, even compared to last week!).  So, let’s see.  Monday, I had an 8 AM class, followed by my appointment with Kathleen (my therapist/life coach).  Tuesday, I didn’t have class until 5:30, but I ran errands most of the day.  Wednesday, I worked in my uncle’s office then ran up to Columbus to pick up Alexis to bring her back down here to ride with me down to Hocking on Thursday.  Thursday, I worked in the production kitchen at the Inn from 8 AM until about noon, then had class from 1 until 5:30, then it was back up to Columbus to drop Alexis off at her boyfriend’s house.  Friday, an 8 AM class followed by work in the production kitchen until 8 PM.  Saturday, a 9 AM class followed by work in the production kitchen until 6 PM.  Then, Sunday, lay about like a slug.  Honestly, if I hadn’t committed to going up to Columbus to pick up and drop off Alexis, I might have gotten out of the week with a little less exhaustion than I was feeling by Friday evening.

All day Tuesday it snowed.  I think we got about 4 inches, and I was out in it almost the entire time it was coming down the hardest.  I know, dumb, right?  But, I had to go down to my uncle’s office and get keys from Bonnie, and I had a bunch of other errands I needed to run.  It wasn’t anything major, just Target and Office Max, but it took a while since the snow was getting pretty thick.  Tuesday evening we had our baking lab meeting, and I found out which days I would be working in the production kitchen this week.  I also got the syllabus for the class and the packet of recipes we’ll be using.  Chef Henry is pretty laid back and decent about making sure we have a schedule that works for us, which is nice.

Wednesday, I worked for my uncle all day.  I did a lot of the online training classes.  I think I got through another 10 of them, which I was pretty happy about.  I was there by myself for the first hour and a half or so.  I just had to make sure to answer the phone.  It was pretty easy, especially since there was no one else there, and all I could do was take down a message.  I almost got into a little tiff with Bonnie, mostly because she isn’t always logical with what she tells me I need to be doing and how to do it.  Things that seem sensible and reasonable to me do not to her.  That evening, I ran up to Columbus to pick Alexis up at Eastland mall.  I hadn’t been to Eastland since my sophomore year in high school.  I don’t really remember why we went, but I remember being with the cross country team, and it was around homecoming because Kristen had just been made homecoming queen.  I know we went out to dinner and looked in the mall for dresses for homecoming, but I’m not sure why we went all the way up there in the first place.  It’s not a far drive, but it was dark and still a little snowy, so I made sure to be extra cautious.

Thursday morning, Alexis and I drove down to Nelsonville, where I dropped her off at her dorm then continued on to the Inn for my first day working in the production kitchen.  My friends Kayla and Elise were there to work with me, which was nice.  Apparently, I had been the only one scheduled for that morning, so they decided to come in early to help me out.  We made rolls (two trays from the freezer as well as a batch of the dough) and coconut macaroons.  The coconut macaroons were different than the ones I usually make.  For one thing, they weren’t as heavy on the coconut.  They were more like French macaroons that are made with meringue, but with a little coconut in them.  It was a little strange since I’m used to a coconut-heavy macaroon.  They turned out beautifully.  After work in the production kitchen, I headed to my 1 o’clock class, Yeast Dough.  We made 100 percent whole wheat bread and French bread.  The French bread we formed into baguettes, and the wheat bread we formed into boules.  We ran over a little bit which was met with a good amount of displeasure by Chef Touria, who has a class in that kitchen at 5:30 PM (it’s actually her kitchen, so it wasn’t very surprising that she was angry about our continued presence).  Chef Thompson is a fan of sitting about and chatting for long periods of time, which is why we ran over so much.  That, and the proof box ran out of water, so our second proofing of our formed bread didn’t occur as quickly as it should.

Friday, I had Pastries and Desserts.  We made bavarians and a strawberry coulis.  The class is packed, which means we’re almost all working 4 to a table, which makes things difficult when you’re trying to move around and get your ingredients.  We used some little butane stoves because there aren’t enough burners on the main stove.  I was using one, and it kind of exploded on me.  I had just changed the canister, and I made sure it was in right, but when I tried to start it, it just made a weird noise, so I shut if off, double-checked that it was in correctly and tried again, which is when the small explosion happened.  I wasn’t hurt at all (not even a singed hair), but it was rather alarming, so I was kind of shaky for a few minutes afterward.  After Pastries and Desserts, I worked in the production kitchen again.  I was scheduled to leave there at 7 PM, but a few things happened to keep me there an extra hour.  First, they ran out of rolls at about 6:30, so I started proofing those and stuck around to make sure that they were baked and ready to go for the servers.  Second, they ran out of salads, so Gabby, the dishwasher, was helping make up salads and asked me to help her out by chopping up more veggies.  I chopped lettuce, onions, and tomatoes.  Third (and last), they ran out of cut-up potatoes for french fries and baked potatoes, so they asked me to cut them more french fries and put more whole potatoes in the oven to bake.  The most fun was cutting up the french fries because they have one of those things that is attached to the counter and just cuts them into perfect french fries by pulling a lever.  By the time I got home, I was beat, but it was a lot of fun.

My Saturday was pretty good.  I had Cake Production at 9, and we made two kinds of pound cake – lemon-lime and chocolate.  I can’t decide which I like better of the two.  They’re so unlike each other that it’s hard to say.  I think if I were offered both, I’d probably pick the lemon-lime over the chocolate, only because I’m not all that big into chocolate.  I much prefer fruit-based desserts.  While I was in class, Chef Weber asked me if I wanted to work for him this coming Saturday at an event here in Lancaster.  I told him I’d have to check with Chef Henry but that I’d love to.  I am going to make a little bit of money to do nothing more complicated than check the plates before handing them to a server.  Should be a snap!  Saturday afternoon, I worked in the production kitchen again, but there wasn’t much to do.  I ended up spending most of my time piping whipped butter into little plastic cups.  It was pretty uneventful.  I did a lot of pretty thorough cleaning, and I baked off a couple trays of rolls.  Nothing too exciting.  I got home, changed into sweatpants and did next to nothing until I went to bed.

I was a little surprised at how physically-demanding my schedule is.  I had forgotten what it’s like to work in a manual industry like this.  I have worked in grocery stores and restaurants, but that was more than 7 years ago now.  I have been questioning my physical stamina, but I know that once I get used to the routine, I’ll be fine.  It was hard getting back into the routine of waking up at 5 AM every morning at the start of last quarter, but I got used to it.  It’s just a matter of time until I get used to this schedule.  Then, it will be no big deal!

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