Day Four, Crank up that Stove

Today is all about comfort cooking.  At least for me, the” low, slow” cooking style  suggests an easy  going  day, book in one hand, spoon in the other.   

The teams are congealing nicely, we know who can go the distance on the Garland( Professional stove with a gazillion BTUs) and who should stick to the  ice cream maker.  The truth is, most can battle with the equipment and come out a winner.  I was busy with Saffron risotto today, while my other team member was stewing alongside me.  I guess she wasn’t browning the meat as Chef wanted so he came over, cranked up the heat and proceeded with a July 4th display of fireworks…worthy of the Macy’s display on the east river in NYC every year. The shooting flames  had most of us panicked,  but once we witnessed the results, it was the way to go.  Jen quickly got into it and produced a superb stew.

Prior to coming here, there were several occasions when I use to be the only person in a room with a “red tinge” to my face.  Around here, everyone has the same look.  We all suffer from heat flashes as opposed to hot flashes.  All those times you wished men could feel your pain…well they do here!   I noticed that the Chef has incredible smooth skin, not normally found  on 64 year old men (or women unless of course they have had a few strategic injections).  It’s got to be the constant facial you get over the stove top, opening pores in some cases with herbs  which  improves the  blood supply to the area.    More benefits being here than I had originally thought.

Our afternoon wine tasting was hosted by Raimundo Gaby.   He was the most passionate wine person I have ever met .  Unlike the many wine  snobs who pretend to know a lot, this guy was the real deal.  He said, in fact shouted, that Americans didn’t drink enough!  Per person we only consume 2 gallons a year.  I guess my friends and I must represent people from “dry counties”, 2 gallons, really?  The French net out between 7 and 8 gallons while the Argentinians down 12 to 13 gallons.  I guess that’s why they need siesta’s in the middle of the day.  They must be drinking with lunch and sleepy by mid day.

A few of us got into a conversation about cooking gadgets of kitchen pasts.  You know the kind.  Those nifty devices you can’t live without.  Used once or twice and before you know it, its in the yard sale and you wondered why you ever bought that thing in the first place.  Add it up, how much money in the name of cooking have we wasted?  Let me add up my past.  Pasta maker (twice..idiot), waffle maker, bread maker, commercial blender (should of kept that one) too many hand gadgets to name  ( I limit each blog to 800 words) did we really need that cherry pitter (speaking of which, there was one for sale in the book store), orange peeler, potato twirler, grapefruit tap to help squeeze the juice out, pasta cooker.  I never weakened to buy a Joe Foreman grill.  If you can’t use a real grill, you shouldn’t be grilling.

When I want back to the hotel today to try and get a little exercise. I turned on the television and realized that I was grateful for a lot of things.  But one thing in particular.  Grateful that Dr. Oz was not at the CIA this week.  That guy is obsessed with what comes out of people as he demonstrates on his show.  There is nothing normal happening in the GI department this week and he would declare all of us as abnormal over-eaters with serious gut problems.  What we do here, in the name of learning, is eat large amounts of rich food. Hey, its just for one week.   One funny story, at least it had me in tears, before I sign off.   All of us are staying in different local hotels and leave dressed in our chef  uniforms in the morning.   Imagine a fellow student, male from Dallas, soft spoken and shy (but really a funny interesting guy by the end of the week) walks down to the lobby of his hotel on his way out and stops to grab a coffee in the breakfast area.  Another hotel guest starts to shout asking for more cream cheese .  At first  his wondering why she is looking at him until he realizes she thinks he is a member of the kitchen staff.  Tough to imagine if you just stepped down as CEO of your private oil and gas company.  Even tougher to imagine that a Quality Inn has a chef!


  1. Anne Smithson says:

    Loved this write up. You forgot the famous chicken rotisserie purchased on the shopping channel!

  2. Andrea Marx says:

    I’m in stitches as I read your synopsis of day 4. You’ve got that Erma Bombeck style of humor but with a modern twist. Can’t wait for day 5 blog.


  3. Gotta say my dumbest purchase, that is still buried somewhere in the pantry, is the ‘apple peeler/corer’ that takes longer to set up than it does to whittle away by hand. It should be in my husbands tool room instead.

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