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  1. Master Chef Epic Fail

    July 20, 2012 by C.

    The real deal

     

     

     

    Back in March, I got a coupon from my favorite website, Bradsdeals.com for two people to take a cooking class from Le Cordon Bleu for the price of one. They offered a wide range of classes on all sorts of cooking. I finally settled on the “Cookies and Confections” class because the date worked well and I have a sugar addiction.

    The closest Cordon Bleu to me is in St. Louis. So I took a friend and my mom up to St. Louis for a weekend just to take a cooking class. I thought it was something different to do and they give you food, so it’s a win-win really.

    My family owned a restaurant for many years. Going into this cooking class I thought I had a competitive advantage over the other students (because everything I do is a competition or it isn’t fun). Boy, was I wrong.

    They give you one of those really tall chef hats and a black Le Cordon Bleu apron (that you get to take home with you and wear while making toast). Things started rough for me. For the life of me I could not get my apron neck strap to stay hooked. So I continuously bugged my friend to help me out.

    “Kim, can you fix this for me?” I asked. This was the 10th time I asked her.

    “Again???????????????????????????????” she snarled.

    Yes, I am a dipshit.

    Our chef was Karen and she said if we put a picture of her on Facebook she would stab us with a meat thermometer. Okey dokey. Karen brought in three of her students to help us out. We made marshmallows, graham crackers (we had smores…they didn’t trust us to make the chocolate for some reason), these meringue things with filling, peanut brittle and spiced oatmeal raisin cookies.

    Karen would demonstrate as we gathered around her and then we would go back to our stations to give it a whirl on our own. It became clear immediately I needed a full-time supervisor. I was not paying attention to the labels on my tray that said MARSHMALLOWS and took the baking soda for the COOKIES and used it as gelatin for the marshmallows. Oops.

    Then while making the peanut brittle, I did some fancy Gordon Ramsey move and flicked the whisk with hot sticky sugar and a glob of it landed on my hand. So off I go to First Aid. Take a look.

    This hurts soooooooooooo bad people! Possibly worse than having babies.

     

     

     

    Hmmmm the photo kind of looks like an arm pit now, making this a far more serious injury from the looks of the arm pit blister. Saggy arm pit blister. Sorry, I promise that is my hand. Let’s move on, shall we?

    This injury pretty much wiped me out for the rest of the trip. I couldn’t drive or write or really do much of anything. I had to have someone else feed me because holding a fork was far too painful. Gordon Ramsey is a jerk. Just look at what he has done to me.

    It was a fun class. It is something I would gladly do again. The issue I had is we made things that any Grandma can make. Oatmeal Raisin cookies…peanut brittle? I wanted to make some fancy cookies. If I was going to lose the use of my hand forever, I needed something impressive, damn it. Something like this…

    Fancy snooty cookies

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Instead of boring peanut brittle…I wanted to make some fancy candy. Like this crystal meth candy. That is crystal meth inside there, isn’t it? I don’t know much about drugs, but meth makes a very pretty piece of candy.

     

    This stuff will make you smell like cat pee and lose all your teeth.

     

     

    Kim and I returned to the hotel with stacks of food in our arms. My mom was thrilled and especially loved the Grandma cookies. She insisted I take some down to the front desk clerk. My mom thinks this is still the 50’s or something. The clerk thought I was trying to poison her and I heard them make a loud thump in the trash can as I walked away.

    On our way out-of-town, Mom wanted to stop at this restaurant she had heard about called The Blue Owl. The food was wonderful and their bake shop was just amazing. Our waitress Hannah was a sweetheart and even went to get the owner to come speak to us. Mary has a story very similar to Paula Deen’s in that her husband moved her to Missouri from Galveston, Texas and then left her. Mary started making desserts to pay the bills and eventually that turned into owning The Blue Owl.  Paula Deen and her two sons recently visited and  The Blue Owl will be featured in Oprah magazine. So, if you are ever near St. Louis go by and check this place out. Mary is mainly famous for her Caramel Pecan Levee High Apple Pie. Have you ever seen such a thing???

    Can you say sugar coma??

     

     

    Back at home I decided to look online to see which class I wanted to take next. I am thinking “French Classics” on October 20th. Who’s with me???? Just make sure you work in another station in case I get wild and crazy again. At the very least, I will entertain you with my lack of kitchen skills in those three hours. It might just be worth the price of admission.

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  2. Me and My Ketchup

    June 19, 2012 by C.

     

    I need this shirt!

     

     

    “Ain’t nothing ketchup cain’t fix.” Jared from My Big Redneck Vacation 

     

    I think most people at some point outgrow their love of ketchup. Being a kid and drowning your McDonald’s nuggets in ketchup is one thing, being an adult and eating ketchup on a $40 steak is a whole other situation.

    Ketchup and I have a long history. Maybe I should be more specific. Heinz ketchup and I have a long history. Hunt’s is disgusting. The cheap off-brands insult my taste buds. It is Heinz or I don’t eat it.

    When I was a teenager I would tell people my dream job would be to work for Heinz in Pittsburgh and have season tickets to Steelers games. I could not imagine a better life. An employee discount on ketchup and attending every home game of my favorite football team…no one would have it better than me.

    When I was in college, I took a class called “Marketing Strategy”. 70% of our grade was a project we would work on to complete a marketing strategy for a major corporation. Of course I picked Heinz. I had to write the company to send me some information (this was before the internet so I couldn’t just send an email or do the research). When my giant package arrived from Heinz I was thrilled. They even sent me a nice note on their letterhead, which I thought was really cool. But the very best part of the package was the coupons they sent me for free Heinz ketchup. Hell yeah!

    I worked on this project for over a month and received a ‘B” for it and for the class. The real reward was learning so much about the company I loved.

    Now as an adult, I still love Heinz ketchup and the unfortunate part of that is sometimes having issues at restaurants. The issues involve people staring at me or making comments while I eat. They are disgusted by what I put my ketchup on. The main item I get the most flack for is biscuits. I don’t eat biscuits and jelly or biscuits and gravy like a normal person. I just want a plain biscuit that I will dip into ketchup. For some reason, this seriously bothers folks.

    “Henry, did you see her dip her biscuit in ketchup?”

    “Martha, you need to mind your own business.”

    “But Henry, that’s just disgusting!”

    This happens all the time.

    It isn’t just biscuits though. I pretty much eat ketchup on everything. Eggs, carrots (cooked), baked potatoes, steaks, meatloaf, fried shrimp, pot roast, fried fish, fried chicken, chicken fried steak and pinto beans with cornbread to name just a few.

    To make my ketchup addiction even more puzzling…I hate tomatoes. I have a “BL” instead of a “BLT”. If someone puts tomatoes on my salad, I pick them all out before even attempting to eat it. Maybe all this proves is I am horribly addicted to sugar since that is what makes those mashed up tomatoes taste so good.

    Nothing makes me more proud than to watch my niece and nephew suck down packets of ketchup. It makes me feel like they have a small part of me in them. But then I realize they are just normal and will grow out of it long before I will.