I know that almost every meal that you make creates some sort of food waste. Little scraps of leftover potato, extra cake crumbs, and day old bread. And, if you own a business you know that just throwing these extras away that you are just throwing away money.
These sort of extras are amplified to horrifying proportion at a culinary school. In my ‘Introduction to Cake Decorating’ lab, leftover pieces of cake and buttercream would pile up everyday. About half way through the class we were forced to clean out the walk-in refrigerator that was so packed with small half-filled containers you could barley even turn in a circle.
Usually being the first student done with all of my work in class, I was shanghaied to pull every little container and pan out of the walk-in to make rum balls. I needed a speed rack to hold all of the leftovers, and the only one not being used in class was an old rusted thing sitting in the back of the room. Every other student was speaking softly to their table-mates and intently working on their cakes. I started dragging it across the room and everyone stopped and looked at me like I had just committed a crime. The old, rusty wheels let out a horrible ear shattering squeal as it was reluctantly pulled into the cold walk-in.
Do We Really Have To Make These?
After about a half hour later, and blue frozen lips, I was ready to make rum balls. I honestly has never heard of rum balls before, but I was assured by my other classmates that they were a common thing. My Chef instructed me to add somewhat equal parts of cake and buttercream into a large hobart. Adding cocoa, simple syrup, and an obscene amount of rum, I started to mix this odd smelling mix. The texture was first like lumpy wet sand and had a disgusting gray green color, some of the buttercream was green and blue colored from previous cakes made in class. I wondered if we really had to make these things, I mean what kind of pastry chef would I be if I served a gray goo to someone?
Seeing my curled up lips, my teacher added more chocolate and rum and the mass quickly turned into a smooth chocolate brown paste. Enlisting the help of the rest of the class, we rolled out the paste into small balls and covered them in chocolate sprinkles. Lining them in cakes boxes, destined to go to a catered event on campus.
Taking a break to sample my work, I didn’t think I could swallow. But, surprisingly they were good! Sense than I have made rum balls many times with the leftovers from the cakes that I make, and not all of them make it out of the kitchen. It does pay to use your leftover scraps in the kitchen, and just because they are extras doesn’t mean that they have any less quality.