Culinary School Day One: Over Easy
Editor’s Note: As you may remember, ES contributor forkitude has given up the corporate life to take the plunge into culinary school. Here are her thoughts from day one.
Day number one: Culinary Foundations.
- Knife skills: my fingers are valuable. It is a bloody lesson, but one I have learned. Got it. My knife skills are a work in progress.
- Mirepoix: 50% onion, 25% carrots, 25% celery. The basic building block of soups, stocks, and sauces. Simple enough.
- Eggs: better known as the devil. Eggs are easy to make and easy to screw up, and I have screwed up my share of eggs. Therefore, I get excited to learn the correct way to do things because screwing up is a pain in the ass. Eggs were my favorite part of the day:
We are told not to salt eggs in the beginning because it will suck the moisture from the egg and make it runny. Given that eggs are about 75% water, in one way, this makes sense. Think about when you eat too much salt — your cells shrink and you bloat up like the Michelin Man. But after much research on the subject, there are differing opinions (Julia Child adds salt to her omelet). Logically, this makes sense to me, and the number one rule of business in the kitchen is common sense. If an ESer has scientific proof why this isn’t the case, please indulge me. But for fuck’s sake, either way, please season your food.
We poach, we sunny-side-up, we over easy and Chef makes the rounds to check out all of the eggs the students are fucking up. We do an American omelet (i.e. the lazy way): pour beaten eggs into the sauté pan with the already sautéed mushrooms, cook, flip, fold in half, slide onto a plate. A French omelet (i.e. the beautiful way): tri-folded, lifted onto a plate, slightly split down the middle, and filled with yummy things like sautéed mushrooms, herbs, and cheese.
Then the moment I had been waiting for: hard and soft boiled eggs demonstration. Heat eggs and cold water just to a boil, remove from heat, and cover. 3-4 minutes for soft boil. 13-14 minutes for hard boil. Water is heated, the eggs are covered, and we wait. Chef gets to talking and my new mental egg timer goes off (newly installed since my deviled egg Friday Fuck Up)…4 minutes…5 minutes…6 minutes…? Chef finally runs them under cold water. No, the soft boiled eggs did not turn out soft boiled. Eggs are easy, but easy to screw up. Welcome to the kitchen.