Pies to the Eyes!

I want to go on a rant, a rant about the class that frustrated me the most.

My first lab at JWU was Hot and Cold Dessert Preparation. The class was primarily about how to plate desserts but also focused on how to make certain desserts , such as pies, that were not covered by the other classes. I hated and loved this class.

I was lucky enough to have my best friend as my partner in class, the very talented Ericka. She and I work together well and have a ton of fun. Although I had Ericka by my side, this class drove me crazy. I, like most students, came to school with previous baking experience. The first month and a half of the class was devoted only to the making of pies–every type of pie. At first we started out simple by making several types of crust and making homemade pies, or simple pies make with fresh fruit. Than we moved onto cream pies. We spent two weeks making chocolate cream, banana cream, coconut cream, and boston cream, which isn’t really even a pie, and more.

The smell of pie crust made me sick and I was so frustrated and sick of pies I felt like walking out of class some days. I never even liked pies that much in the first place, so by this time I was already very weary of pies. When were we going to get to something more challenging? Something more interesting and exciting? Did we really need to spend this much time ONLY on pies?

This was my first lab at Johnson and Wales, and I was starting to think that maybe it wasn’t the right fit for me. It was very difficult for me to be creative when I spent 6-plus hours making, for me, the most boring dessert on the planet. Thankfully, about two-thirds into the class, we finally moved onto something else. We made cheesecakes, linzer tortes, brownies, and lots of ice cream. Towards the end of the class I felt that I hadn’t really learned anything. I mean I had made these recipes before I came to school–what was the point?

I started to worry that ALL of the labs at school would be like this. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun in the class. I loved all of the students in there with me, and I made friends with most of them. Also, my Chef really liked me and he was a very good teacher, even if he was a little strange at times.

After the class ended and we had our exams, it was Thanksgiving break. I went with my aunt and uncle to Breckenridge (a small ski town in the mountains) to stay in a house with some of their friends. One of their holiday traditions is to make one pie for each person at dinner. I thought I would die if I had to eat or see another pie, and it really made me think of what I did learn in class.

Although I felt that I understood recipe and formula familiarity, I learned a lot about techniques in that class that I didn’t know. I know how to quickly peel and core an apple with saving as much meat as possible. And how to chop eight pounds of nuts in less than 15 minutes. And, most importantly to me, I now know how to work with a large number of people on one project and to make sure everyone does things properly and quickly. So even though now I can’t stand to eat pie, knowing that I did learn valuable skills makes this class my favorite so far!

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