Tuesday, April 18, 2006

sous-chef [sū'shĕf']
the chef who is second in authority in a restaurant or kitchen, ranking below the head chef
Synonyms: kitchen slave (haha! Just kidding, Chef Seong!)

My competency in the kitchen is…well, let’s just say I’m better at washing pots, pans, bowls and measuring cups and spoons than I am at using them. Sadly, I didn’t inherit the culinary skills of those who came before me in life, which is a terrible shame because I’m related to some excellent cooks! My mom, for example, can literally eat something once and figure out what the ingredients are so she can prepare it herself at home. It’s kind of like knowing how to play an instrument by ear; you know, “ouido” (widow for you, Ja. Haha!).

I can only cook a handful of dishes confidently. But seriously, who can survive on French toast, crab meat cheesepuffs, crème de fruta, caramel pecan cheesecake, broiled salmon and all things fried? I might as well look into the barrel of a diabetes-induced coronary! The kitchen is not where I do my best work, but standing in as an apprentice to the exceptionally skilled will do for now I guess. I help my mom when she lets me, and one time I helped Iya make banana bread. Andrew let me stir the soup once when we were still in Irvine. Hahaha!

Last week I helped Seong make an apple-peach cobbler for Bev (it kind of looked like this picture) . I sous-chefed that cobbler man! I cut apples (without hurting myself, thanks very much), let them macerate in the fridge (which is basically marinating fruit in its own juices to soften them), mixed flour, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl with my bare hands, buttered the casserole bowl things and crumbled the crust over the fruit before baking. Seeing how everyone enjoyed it was a really nice feeling. I helped make that! Hahaha!

Hopefully all this sous-chefing will teach me skills of the permanent kind. Cooking is such an interdisciplinary practice. It requires the left brain, which manages the exactness required of ingredient measurements and temperature. It also calls for some right brain creativity, as food is more than just good taste these days. What’s pleasing to the mouth is often attributed to what’s pleasing to the eye. Next on the syllabus: strawberry shortcake.

Geez I’m just all about learning these days, aren’t I? Photography, cooking…what’s next?! Hmmm, if I’m crazy enough maybe I’ll tackle a musical instrument. Who wants to teach me how to play the piano?!


lissa said...

I can teach you piano but I live far. hahaha.. I didn't learn how to cook until I moved out.

dorothy said...

aww, i'd have let you stir some soup at my house on good friday anna! we can both be sous chef. good friday is actually the only day of the year that i cook! hehe!