Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Starting from Scratch

I grew up being a selective eater. I didn't really start trying a lot of new things until college, where I got to experience new cuisines and started living on my own and preparing my own meals. But I still didn't really experience a wide variety of food, and I was not very adventurous in the kitchen, usually making simple dishes, often vegetarian, and not doing a lot of baking. 
 (I am pretty sure this was the first time I made whipped cream from scratch, and certainly the first time I whipped it by hand with a whisk. I overbeat it, for the record)

In the last few years, I have met more people who are passionate about food and I have become much more adventurous in my tastes.  In the last few months I have been more active in the kitchen, helping Jason make amazing meals, and I have started to bake a little more. I have started eating more meat and trying new vegetables and fruits.  We are developing a very rich culinary life together.
(This was my first attempt at making bread with yeast. It was meh. Edible, but not great. Good enough to make the house smell amazing and make me want to try, try again! Also I learned a little about the proper use of flours and tools I plan to invest a pizza stone!  Woohoo!)

Starting from scratch with baking at the age of 40 is a little strange. I have a LOT to learn about the culinary arts.  It's funny how some of us live our lives, interact with food, day after day, but not really KNOW food.  I mean, I have learned some kitchen basics, how to prepare the simple things I like to eat, and know a tiny bit of food chemistry, but I am finding I really understand what I am eating when I get my hands into the ingredients and transform it into something yummy and beautiful.

 (My first time casting sugar into a mold and one of the first times I used royal icing)

As an artist, it is the "beautiful" part that inspires me most.  There is so much I want to learn! Icing, fondant, chocolate, buttercream, meringue, sugar, dough, batter... these are all beautiful sculptural materials to me. I am eager to start learning the techniques to make them into beautiful things that are also delicious.  Since my formal studies are starting fairly slowly with textbook studying and savory food preparation techniques, I plan to use this blog to motivate me into getting a head start with my pastry studies. My goal is to try something new once a week or so, photograph it, and document it here.  Surely, there will be some successes and some failures, and I will write about them both and what I learned in the process. I hope you will enjoy reading along, and feel free to leave me some comments of encouragement or advice as I learn!

Have a yummy evening!

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