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A Carnivore’s Confession

Some of you may be surprised to learn what my biggest fear was prior to entering culinary school. No, it wasn’t the thought of no income for the next year. Although (gasp) I am having heart palpitations just thinking about it.  No worries, it will probably be another year before I have a financial crisis because right now I’m having too much fun.  So back to my biggest fear – Butchery!

Hello Fish

Admittedly, I thought there was a very strong chance of becoming a vegetarian during my cooking courses.  Despite the fact that I’m a huge foodie, love to cook and entertain for crowds throwing gluttonous affairs, I have avoided preparing the whole animal my entire life. I’m talking heads and legs. The skeleton. Am I the only one who would get creeped out when my lobster’s eyes were staring at me from a plate?  ”Please please don’t eat me” the little voice would say…they were dead, but my appetite was gone.

That all ended this week with Donald Duck and Nemo. It was me against the protein, and I won! The initial dread of blood and guts (well, I’m not gonna lie, there were blood and guts) was quelled quickly. The chef instructor seemed to carve the duck in one beautiful fluid motion, he made it look so easy. Cleaning the fish in a matter of seconds.  Not so easy for us novices, that is if you want to end up with as much serve-able meat as possible.

It took 4 days, but at the end of Week 2 knife skills I presented the following: an eight piece carved chicken (4 breast pieces, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks), 4 pieces of duck (2 breasts, 2 legs partially deboned), a cornish hen deboned from the inside out (kinda gross), 8 flounder (flat) fish fillets and 2 striped bass (round) fish fillets.

Duck Before

Duck After

One Fish, Two Fish

More Fish

As you can see from the pictures, I definitely need more practice; not quite ready to be carving up chickens at Boston Market. However, I felt such a sense of accomplishment and pride for my poor pieces of protein that the opposite of vegetarianism (is this a word?) has happened. I CANNOT wait to carve more, cook more, eat more!  At the end of the week all I wanted was to turn up the flame and make myself something delicious. And indeed I did……

A La Meuniere = Ooh La La

Flounder a la meuniere (dredged in flour) – brown butter, capers, parsley….perfection! I will be starting a recipe section shortly for those of you salivating.

Stay tuned for next week’s Weekly Specials where I learn how to clarify butter – the start of any good roux – as well as intro to stocks, sauces and soups.  Gosh, my days are filled with so much food fun, it just doesn’t seem fair!

Week 2 Summary:

Cuts = 3

Fingers = 10

Check!


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