My dreams of great fine art success were dashed at a relatively young age. Having noted my obvious talent via my drawings of dinosaurs, my parents sent me to an arts and crafts class after school once a week. Then my world came crumbling down. Having been picked up from the art class by my grandma and Callum (who must have been only a couple of years old at the time) we returned home, but Somehow, on entering the house, Callum managed to obtain the house keys, shut myself and grandma outside the house, and then decide he no longer knew how to open the door. Whether he was a scared young child (grandma’s interpretation), or whether he was an idiot (mine) may never be known. But somehow, in the 45 minutes of ensuing chaos as someone was called to bring spare keys, higher powers decided my art project, a rather dashing chair fashioned out of clay, was the sacrifice needed for the situation to be resolved. It remains unclear whether the chair fell through the letter box, or whether grandma pushed it through on purpose to entertain Callum and try to keep him by the door. All I know is that I took it as a sign from above that my destiny lay elsewhere and art was not my calling, so I moved on.
Since then, my artistic prowess has waned. Somewhat of an understatement to say the least. Art has abandoned me, just as I abandoned it.
And on this note, we pick up on Wednesday at Tante Marie where we were informed that by next week we needed to submit a cake design that we will then be expected to make in the following weeks. We can do some elaborate piping work, or make sugar flowers with gum paste, use icing to make figures to sit on the cake etc etc. . In essence, to let our artistic nature free. I cannot deal with these mixed signals. So my lack of any perceivable artistic ability is currently my major concern.
Elsewhere in Tante Marie, things are excellent though. I discovered the ‘library’ yesterday, which is basically a food porn den, full of really useful cook books. More interestingly though, it’s also got the sort of cookbooks that I would love to justify buying, but realistically are most likely to remain coffee table books (albeit amazing ones) such as Alinea and The big fat duck cookbook. It’s nice to see though, that these molecular gastronomy tomes sit by side with the new edition of larousse gastronomique though. It seems to provide an apt visual metaphor for the approach that Tante Marie seems to take, that although you may be able to do things an ‘easier’ way, or via a machine, it is well worth learning the classical way first (bread making by hand being an obvious example from today’s class).So, a brief summary of the past couple of days. On Wednesday we had an excellent demonstration in which Kate (one of the teachers) managed to make an inconceivably large amount of food in the space of only a couple of hours (roast chicken, baked salmon, mustard sauce, French soup, onion soup, white bread, brown bread, a chocolate mousse and various small accompaniments that I cannot remember at the moment).
In the afternoon, we received the aforementioned cake decorating news, and had some info on our examinations this term (sooner than I realised). I think the afternoon reminded me (and by the looks of it, everyone else), that although the course is certainly a lot of fun, in the end you are there to work towards a qualification, and as well as general continual assessment, there is quite a lot of material to actually sit down and learn. I think it’s probably punishment for me not doing much in my last year at uni.
Then today we tackled a few of the dishes that we saw on Wednesday, a few of which you can see below. I was particularly proud of how my loaves of bread looked, (although in truth, when it actually came to eating them, I think they could have used another 5 minutes in the oven). Tomorrow morning, I’m due to be making roast chicken, some vegetable accompaniments and a fruit cobbler. And then eating them all. Oh the hardships I must endure...