Is This Organic Chemistry or a Kitchen?

24 Oct

Fall is among us! And so is the COLD!

My first fall in New England and its nice so far. The colors, the weather, its actually nice! It gets a little chilly, but it’s not unbearable…yet.  In my personal/professional life, I found out I have yet ONE MORE term of classes. Not really a full load, 2 to be exact…so it wont be so bad. But that means I have to do the one thing I said I didnt want to…spend another winter in New England. Brrrr.  But it will be alright. I’m in a good place at Hemenway’s.  Things are going well there. I still get my ass kicked on the line from time to time and I still need to get do some things much faster, but I’ll get there no doubt.

Chris Young from The Modernist Cuisine, among other AMAZING feats, came to JWU to talk to students a few weeks ago.  It was quite an interesting talk on their book(s) and we got some insight on him as a person and a little more info on some things that might be in the pipe at JWU.  If you arent aware, Chris’ Book is a set of books that takes a serious look at the “Science” of cookery, why things happen, and introduces the reader to a new way of thinking about cooking that people have come to call Molecular Gastronomy.  Chris left me very moved.  I grew up asking why. I do it still today.  It’s why I took apart my fathers brand new riding lawnmower when I was 5, it’s why I loved organic chemistry lab, it’s why I was good at computer programing back in the day, and it’s why I fell in love with every single page of that 450 dollar cookbook.

There is a bit of controversy in the food world about the introduction of since into their art form.  And I don’t blame them. There is a lot of tradition in cookery. And some people feel like that might be in danger, and who knows it might. But I, for one, feel that old techniques were once “new” techniques, traditions were once “fresh ideas”, and if we take that approach with what we are seeing today, amazing things can happen!  I’ll end the rant, but needless to say, you’ll see some interesting things on the blog as soon as I get some things put together and have a little time to start “cooking”.

And if anyone is interested in participating or has some good sources feel free to share!

Before I go…I want to share something. I’m going to change gears a minute and hot into my “sissy-mary”, tree hugging hippie pants a minute and offer up a little confession and share a little cooking lesson.

The female lobster, when she has eggs, will have several hundred at a time.  She stores them under her tail like so:

The eggs will stay there, well protected, for several months at which time she will let them hatch and then the babies are on their own and she will be on her merry way.  Now when fisherman fish for lobsters, if they encounter a female with eggs, they are required to throw them back. Sometimes they get marked (notice the “V” cut into her tail) or tagged but most of the time they just get tossed back in the drink.  When they reach shore and are sold, if the buyer encounters a female with eggs, and it happens on occasion, they simply notify the vendor and it’s replaced and sent to an aquarium.

Well, the other night I was working, as I typically do….every damn night….and a lobster came across my station to be steamed. They usualy get dropped on my raw fish board, I read the ticket and either crack it open or toss it in the steamer. Well we were pretty busy and I was in a grove and didn’t even think twice. I snatched her up and tossed her right in.  Then eight minutes later…my heart sunk. I can’t describe what it made me feel like. It was like one of those movies when someone kills someone and they try to scrub the blood off their hands but the guilt just never goes away…For a brief moment…that’s how I felt.  At that point the damage was done so it’s not like I had any other option but to keep on moving, but needless to say…that’s one mistake, I won’t be making ever again.

Until next time.

Buon Appetito,



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