Ballymaloe Day 16 – Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Today was the start of our fourth week at Ballymaloe. It is hard to believe that we are a quarter of the way finished! It is even harder to believe that I technically will be qualified to work as a chef at the end of the course. I’m not sure that is what I want to do, as I’d rather pursue the whole wine thing, but it is a cool skill to have and to fall back on if need be. I also have a new appreciation for all things organic (it really is better, skeptics!) and will just have a better familiarity and intimacy (G-rated) with food than I have ever had. This will surely help with my wine and food pairings in the future as well.

Anyway, I am still in Kitchen 3 for this week. I’m pretty sure it will be my last week in this kitchen, and I’ll be sad to leave it. I really like the set-up of this kitchen, and I especially like all of the instructors but most notably Annette and Florrie, who have put up with my unending stream of questions and not made me feel at all like an idiot (even though deep down inside I still kind of do).

I have a new cooking partner this week too. His name is Aidan Quinn. I got a little excited when I saw his name on the roster thinking it was the actor Aidan Quinn (I have a small crush on him…those blue eyes!). Well, it turns out it wasn’t the actor but another fine older gentleman named Aidan Quinn who hails from Dublin. We get along very well, and we laugh constantly, which is great. My recipes today were to cook a butter sponge cake with raspberry jam and whipped cream and a traditional roast stuffed organic chicken. I also had to make some brown yeast bread and some bread sauce. Bread sauce is a savory sauce thickened with bread. It has the consistency of mush and resembles something they would serve in an old people’s home or hospital. But guess what? It is actually delicious, and everyone eats it over here. Also, don’t be alarmed if I ever show up for Thanksgiving with some bread sauce in tow – it would go really well with the turkey! Anyway, there was a lot going on in the ovens today, and I felt like I was constantly running back and forth to check on my brown bread, chicken, sponge cake, and bread sauce, which were all in different ovens around the kitchen. It was a little intense, but in the end, it all came together.

I was absolutely exhausted by the end of today but somehow managed to make it down to the school again for an evening showing of the American documentary, “The Future of Food,” which primarily was about genetically modified food and how it is affecting how people eat, what is farmed, and how it is all regulated (or not regulated actually). I really enjoyed it, and it reminded me again how corrupt and evil Monsanto is. It’s pretty unbelievable to think that some of the most influential lawmakers and members of government sit on Monsanto’s corporate board. (e.g. key members of the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, and U.S. Supreme Court…I’m talking to you, Clarence Thomas!). Hmmm…it’s bringing me back to my legal roots…maybe I can work pro bono for the poor farmers who get sued by Monsanto for patent infringement…you never know…

Computer update: I did some weird things to my computer last night including banging it hard on my desk (didn’t work) and resetting my system management controller (did work), and it seems back to normal. The only thing that didn’t survive was my adapter plug, but luckily, Jenn has one that I can borrow. So my blog should be back to normal…hurray!

Inevitable photos follow:

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