Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Insulted the Troops before I Didnt Insult the Troops

Rather than go off on Kerry's latest gaffe, I'll just refer you to this excellent essay by Dave E. at Fish Fear Me.

And I'll just quickly remind Kerry that October Surprises are supposed to hurt your enemies.

Damn You, Dissident Frogman!

You couldn't wait until after we've covered Meat Fabrication and Charcuterie at culinary school, could you?

Musical Geography Question of the Day

If they tell you you can't sell no stripers, and there's no luck in swordfishing here, from what part of what U.S. state do you hail?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Musical Geography Question of the Day

If your heart is down, and your head is spinning around, where did you have to leave a little girl?

Harvest Dinner

Now that I've had time to rest, I'd like to share my thoughts on and impressions of the Harvest Dinner and the prep day for it, before they fade.

Monday, we had no classes, and instead all the first year students, from both both the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs, received training on how to serve and bus. By the end of the week, I was sure of one thing -- I'd rather work 16 hours in the back than 4 in the front.

Also on Monday, because The Feared Redhead had a training class all day up in Salem, I had the duty of dropping The Lad off at daycare. That's a job I don't envy TFR. When he cried at my leaving, it pretty much tore my heart out.

Tuesday we had Cooking Theory class in the morning, but our Restaurant Operations class was taken up with more training -- including a game of follow-the-leader around campus carrying serving trays. I made a reference to Supertramp's Breakfast In America album cover, and got a blank stare from a couple of my classmates. That pretty much put me in my place -- and age bracket -- for the week.

Wednesday, no classes or training for my group.

Thursday was prep day, getting all the Mise en Place ready for Friday. I was assigned to the salad station, which was also tasked with developing the vegan options for the dinner. Caprial and John had not specified any, and when asked about it, instructed the school to adapt recipes from Caprial and John's latest cookbooks. The second year students running our station were good about accepting input from us first years, and between all of us we came up with options that fit the theme of the dinner ("Autumn in the Vineyard"), as well as being plausible substitutes for their meat counterparts. I volunteered for the job of doing the conversions, since the recipes were all for 6 servings and we were preparing 24 of each.

So for those who have been wondering, here is the menu for this past Friday's Harvest Dinner:

Dungeness Crab [Thanks to Sgt. Jeff for the editing] and Parsnip Cakes in Orange Oil
(Vegan) Baked Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Pilaf and Apple Cranberry Chutney
Wine: Griffin Creek Pinot Gris

Celeriac Soup

Baby Arugula with Rosemary Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
(Vinaigrette made with sugar instead of honey available for Vegans)

Roast Tenderloin with Wild Mushrooms in a Veal Demi-Glace accompanied by Caramelized Onions
(Vegan) Marinated Portobello Mushrooms with Pear and Onion Compote
Wine: Lorane Valley Pinot Noir

Mascarpone Cheesecake with Apple Compote
(Vegan): Apple Tartlets with Caramel Sauce
Wine: Sylvan Ridge Early Muscat

We ended the day Thursday with a meeting after cleanup in which our guest celebrity chefs were introduced to us. I was impressed with how gracious and down-to-earth they were. They heard that several students had asked our instructors if we were allowed to speak directly to the guest chefs. They made it clear that yes, they wanted us to talk to them. They also gave us strict orders not to address them as "Chef" -- John's exact wordswere, "I'm john, this is Caprial." They fielded questions from us. My classmate Patty, the "Mom" of our class, asked the best question, I felt, and I appreciated their answer. The question was regarding the philosophy behind the menu they selected. Caprial explained that the menu was selected with an eye for what ingredients are available locally this time of year, so that they are seasonal. The Pences are very strongly influenced by the Slow Food Movement. They also explained that for large events such as this, they believe in simple, elegant dishes wthout a lot of complex components. They shared a story about a dinner for Julia Child in which they participated, and how they were able to spend time mingling with other chefs while some of the participants were stuck in the kitchen for many more hours because of the complexity of the dishes they chose to prepare. I agree with them in this regard, and besides, Caprial is a James Beard Award recipient, so it's safe o say she knows what she's talking about.

The most touching moment of the day came as we were leaving. I have a classmate who has missed quite a few classes because his three-year-old daughter has a malignant tumor in jer jaw muscle. We were passing around a card for them, and Caprial and John were happy to sign it for us. altogether very warm, personable people, and John has a quirky sense of humor much like my own.

Friday was hectic all day. It started when I woke up remembering I had homework due for my 10 AM "Human Relations in the Workplace" class. Ugh. Not only is this class almost universally viewed as a waste of time in terms of what we're getting out of it, it has more take-home work than any other class we're taking. But I got it done and got to school with time to print it out at the library and still get to class.

After class ended at 1, I went directly to the Center for Meeting and Learning and got changed into my Black & Whites, then waited around until the auditorium was ready for us to start setup, around 2 or so. Then we met with our section captains (all second year Hospitality students) and received our table assignments, where I learned that I would be serving the president of the college. Apparently, I wasn't already nervous enough.

We began seating at 6 and serving at 6:30. The evening went well. Between the cost of dinner itself, the silent auction held in the lobby and the oral auction during dinner, we raised around $200,000 for the College Foundation, which will mostly go to scholarships. At the end of the night they had all of us students come to the front and we received a standing ovation. It choked me up, to be honest, knowing how generous all these people were being, and knowing that my efforts helped raise money to pay the tuitions of people I pass on campus every day.

We were done cleaning up by around 10 or 10:15. I must say, the students who worked as stewards rawked. Their efficiency clearing trays as we bussed made things run incredibly smoothly. I can't tell you how much I appreciated them.

I got dropped off at home around 10:30 or so. TFR had a nice bourbon and Coke waiting for me, and I took a long, hot bath, then went to bed for what I expected to be a good night's rest. No such luck. The Lad has a cold, so I was up with him at midnight, again at 2 and then fro 2:30 to 2:45, at 4:15, at 6:30, and finally when he was up for good at 8. It was a challenge keeping my eyes open all day yesterday while I cared for him, so I was grateful that TFR took over last night -- of course, he slept most of the night, only waking once.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Watch This Spa.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The Harvest Dinner was very eventful, and I have a lot to say about it, but The Lad is sick, and adter getting home at around 11 last night, I was up with him at midnight, again from 2:15 to 2:45, again at 4 AM, and yet one more time at 6:30. I'm too exhausted to articulate everything I have to say about this week. I'll be back sometime later this weekend.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Halfway There

This week is by all accounts one of the hardest and busiest weeks of the academic year for the Culinary Arts program -- it's the week of the Harvest Dinner, the biggest fundraiser of the year for the entire college. A guest chef is invited, and the culinary students prepare a meal for around 400 guests who each pay $100 to attend, using a menu created by the guest chef. Today was prep day -- all culinary students helped prep the Mise en Place. Tomorrow the Second Years will be doing the cooking, while we First Years, along with the Hospitality Management students, will be the serving staff.

I spent the day helping prep for the salad - Arugula with a honey, mutard and rosemary vinaigrette. We were also responsible for coming up with optional vegan dishes based on recipes in the latest cookbook from our guest chefs, Capriak and John Pence (Not John and Caprial, Caprial and John -- that was very specifically communicated to us). To replace the first course of crab cakes, we decided on baked acorn squash stuffed with wild rice pilaf and apple cranberry chutney. The tenderloin entree was replaced (WHY?) with a marinated portobello mushroom with apple and onion consomme. And finally, instead of an apple mascarpone cheesecake, the vegan dessert is an apple and phyllo dough tartlet.

All in all a pretty long, demanding day. But I'd still repeat it a dozen times over rather than face tomorrow and the front of the house.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Musical Geography Question of the Day

If you'll be looking for eight when they pull that gate, where will you be and when?
I talked to Vic in person and asked him this, and yes, he got it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pun Fun

While enjoying the aforementioned dessert, I did something I haven't done in ages -- bumped my funny bone. I didn't find it humerus at all.

Something Wicked This Way Crumbs

Oh, man. I just had one of the most decadent desserts I've ever had in my life. The Feared Redhead picked me up after class, and before she went to work, we went out for Mexican food, then stopped by Sweet Life -- a patisserie here in Eugene that is (justifiably) renowned for their cakes, pies, and other desserts. I had the caramel chocolate shortbread, and just about died.

Unimpressed? I'm sorry, let me go into detail. They start with a scalloped shortbread.... I guess you'd call it a cookie, though it's as big as a coffee cup saucer, and a full quarter inch thick. It's the richest shortbreat I've EVER had -- when I asked them how much butter they use, the answer was, "You don't want to know". Then half of it is coated in caramel and then dark chocolate. Dear Lord, this thing was RICH, but not as sweet as you'd expect -- the dark chocolate and shortbread offset the caramel nicely. I'm telling you, this thing was pure evil. If you ever get to Eugene, join its dark side.

Shut Up, Cartman!

Which South Park kid are you most like?


You are clever, and often come up with intelligent and funny comebacks to other people's stupid remarks.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Son the Preschool Gourmand

From the time he began eating solid foods, The Lad has preferred small portions of our grownup food to the baby foods we presented to him. As I've mentioned before, this has led to a toddler with some very refined tastes. His latest obsessions? Dill pickles, hot salsas, green olives, and Gruyere.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Praise the Lord and Pass the Twelve-Gauge

A big tip of the toque to Maximum Leader via Bobgirrl.

The Zombie Movie Survival Quiz

Francesco Dellamorte is your name, and killing zombies is your game. Living at Buffalora Cemetery, where the dead rise quite frequently, you know how to take care of zombies. Yes, you are definitely a bad ass. Too bad your sexy model girlfriend is a zombie.
Take this quiz!


Make A Quiz More Quizzes Grab Code

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Preemptive Hindsight

DuhA Big tip of the toque to Ken at It Comes in Pints?

The next time someone on the Left tells you that the entire reason we went to war with Iraq was WMD's, and that all the other reasons were tacked on later, send them over to Fish Fear Me to read this entry and its linked references.


Nah, it can't be. Christians don't get persecuted.

Pun Fun

The Feared Redhead said to The Lad this evening: "Give Peas a Chance."

An Interesting Perspective

A tip of the Toque to HMIL at Teapot Tantrums.

HMIL has posted a column by Victor David Hanson, who is in my mind one of the more intelligent, erudite spokesmen for the right today. I recommend you go read it. As in, right now.

There's a lot to digest there -- not only about how we're presented with information on Iraq, but on the state of affairs at home.

Comeback Weekend

This weekend in sports is going much better for me than last. Last week, by Padres got dumped from the playoffs with only 1 win. My Ducks got their tails whipped by Cal. And in Fantasy Football, I lost for the second week in a row -- going from alone in first and undefeated to being in fourth with a 3-2 record.

Well, this week, the Ducks recovered well from their loss and trounced UCLA 30-20, re-establishing themselves as one of 3 PAC-10 teams to watch.

In the meantime, I'm up 13.4 to 7.0 against one of the 4-1 teams in my league. It's way too early to call, but if I win, I could move up as high as second in the league, since another 4-1 team is also losing.


Nope. After several reversals of fortune, I got trounced, 70.3-36.4. Oh, well, at least the Ducks won.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Musical Geography Question of the Day

If your destination is a world away from the coaly Tyne, to where are you sailing?

Friday, October 13, 2006

News to Me

I'm blogging from campus this morning -- something I've never done before, but being away from the house allows me the quiet and detatchment to think a little more clearly.

I was having my morning coffee down in the cafeteria a while ago. The table at which I sat was across the aisle from our Student Government kiosk (mostly because it's ALSO right next to the door -- quick in, quick out), where they're holding a voter registration drive. That in and of itself is an admirable activity. But what caught my eye and troubled me was one of the posters they have printed up and plastered al around, the one that says, "Education! It's a Right!"

Oh, really? Refresh my memory -- which part of the constitution states that? Where is that listed in the Declaration as a "Certain inalienable right"? Education isn't a right, it's a privilege. It's not yours by birthright, it has to be earned.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm a firm believer in the importance of education. It's one of the few causes to which I'll give my money. Heck, I'm even accepting assistance to get an education myself (though, to be fair, that assistance is coming mostly from charitable donations and from unemployment funds into which I've paid my share for the last 20 years).

But I reject the assertion that it's a right to which everyone is entitled, no questions asked, and I reject that the bill for providing that "right" is necessarily to be footed by the taxpaying public. It's certainly everyone's right to pursue an education, as that falls under the pursuit of happiness and definitely helps enable one to secure ones liberty. But the right to pursue does not necessarily convey the right to being aided in that pursuit. In fact, I'm beginning to see that as one of the basic differences between a right and a privilege -- a right can be defined as something that an individual must be free to do or not do, at their will, without hindrance or coercion from society or government or other individuals. A privilege is something that an individual is allowed to do or assisted in doing or shielded from by society, the government or other individuals, contingent upon the individual meeting certain criteria and/or taking certain reciprocal actions.

An education falls into that category. Does everyone have a right to a Harvard education? No -- that would require a certain level of academic performance, as well as financial resources. Does everyone deserve a PHD in quantum physics? No -- the level of education one attains is contingent upon both one's innate intelligence as well as ones willingness to make the required effort. Even among high school graduates, the quality of education they received is to a argue extent dependent on how much attention they paid, and how muh work they did. Garbage In, Garbage Out.

That's the part of the education priviledge bestowed upon students by educators. In the case of public education, we must also be aware of the fact that the priviledge is also besatowed by the taxpayers who fund education. They expect, or at least SHOULD expect, certain conditions be met in return for the funding they provide -- including accountability on the part of both students and educators for the quality and content of the education. They're footing the bill, they should get to see the statement.

In conclusion, and to reiterate, no, my dear ASLCC, education is NOT a right. It's a priviledge. Granted, it's a priviledge which in the long run is prudent to extend, but a priviledge nonetheless. So while I appreciate your efforts to motivate young people to ote, I'm not so thrilled about the way you're encouraging them to think about my wallet. I'm a student, but I'm also a taxpayer. And to answer the question of the young lady with the clipboard, yes, I'm registered to vote.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Musical Geography Question of the Day

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Here's a hint, in the form of another question from the same song:

What governments is it propping up?

Six Years Ago Today

A Tip of the Toque to Armies of Liberation via Howie at Blogfather Rusty's:

A Tribute to the U.S.S. Cole.

First They Came for the Snail Darters, and I Did Not Speak Out...

A Tip of the Toque to Babalu Blog via Ken at It Comes in Pints?

Apparently, the editor of the magazine Grist, big supporters of Al Gore, are calling for a Nuremberg-style tribunal for any scientist or public figure who doesn't toe their line on the human impact on global warming.

Because, as we've seen, the Left is all about freedom of speech and thought.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

More Good News

Just got back from a meeting with my counselor at the Workforce Network, an agency that helps with placement and training for unemployed individuals. It turns out that that $740 scholarship I'm getting is PER TERM, not overall. In addition, they're going to help with childcare as well, to the tune of an additional $500/term.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Comments Are Fixed

Fire Away.

It Was a Very Good Year

My Restaurant Operations professor, who has years of experience in the food and beverage industry, and is quite knowledgeable, informed us yesterday that this is going to be a very very VERY good year for Oregon wine. Apparently, from what he was saying, the grapes are both of high quality and in abundance -- usually you get one or the other. Furthermore, this is the height of the harvest, and we haven't had rain in almost a week, and don't expect any until some time NEXT week -- by then the grapes will be in. In the meantime, our weather is warm (almost hot) and dry, with mild, cool nights.

What does this mean for the wine drinker? It means that within a year or so, maybe as soon as six months, you should see a huge influx of very good wine from Oregon at a very reasonable price.

Musical Geography Question(s) of the Day

1. Through where do the move it?
2. Where do they sell it?
3. Where do they hide it?

Quote of the Day

Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, sweet as love.

- Turkish proverb

OK, So I'm a Lunatic Too!

The other day, my friend Lurch and I were discussing the gibbous moon:

(Not to be confused with the Gibbonous moon:)

I was mentioning how it has always seemed to me that the shading of the gibbous moon provides a sense of depth that a full moon doesn't, and that a gibbous appears most like the sphere that the moon is, while a full moon appears more flat and disc-like.

We were also discussing the appearance of the moon during daylight hours, and how it appears more mysterious and surreal than at night when it shines so brightly.

Well, this morning, while relaxing before class, I looked outside and noticed the moon. Because it was just after sunrise, the sky was a deeper blue than is normal for full daylight hours, so the moon was clearer, more pronounced, and incredibly beautiful. It was quite a sight.

Black and White Issue

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we now wear full brigade in class. In fact, it's required both in lecture and kitchen lab classes. In addition, Culinary Arts students also take some hospitality management classes, and we are required to attend those in brigade as well.

This morning around 7:30 I was relaxing in a student lounge area on campus before class when one of my classmates walked by, not yet in Brigade. She made some snarky comment about not understanding why all of the rest of us came to school already in brigade, and how it would get our whites dirty.

I'll give you three guesses which classmate it was, and the first two don't count.

Personally, I enjoy wearing my brigade. Maybe for someone who's just learning about cuisine, it's a silly school uniform. And I can understand her reticence to get it dirty.

But for an aspiring chef, it's a badge of identity -- it represents not just culinary school, but being a culinarian -- it's inclusive and exclusive at the same time, marking me as an acolyte into a special society. I may be just barely in the door of that society, but I'm already embracing it not just as a vocation, but a lifestyle, a culture.

And if it gets dirty, I'll wash it. But when I'm going to and from school and someday work, I intend to wear it so that people can see me and think, "Oh, there goes a chef." Clothes don't make the man, but they sure to lay a foundation.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Why, Yes,

Cal, those ARE our feathered Duck Butts. Could you be so kind as to hand them to us now that you're kicking them off? Thanks ever so much.

Hmph. I had a bad feeling about today.

I'm Not Dead Yet!

Quote of the Day

I just hate health food.

- Julia Child

Friday, October 06, 2006

Americans Are Americans Too!

One of the central themes you'll hear emphasized by many who advocate a more lenient attitude towards illegal aliens is the arguement that they're merely seeking a pbetter life, an American life, and that they deserve the same rights that the rest of us do.

Without arguing the specific merits of that argument, recent events at Columbia University leave me wondering how committed to those rights some of those individuals (especially the more radically leftist end of the pro-illegal spectrum) truly are -- especially with regards to the exercise of those rights by those with whom they disagree.

Seeing Red (and Tasting It)

My home state has what are considered the strictest wine labelling laws of any state in the US. Oregon winemkers are not allowed to use foreign place names -- you'll never see an Oregon wine called Burgundy, Bordeaux, or Champagne. Furthermore, if it says it's an Oregon wine, all the grapes used to make that wine will have been grown in oregon, and all of them will be from the region of the state specified on the bottle, and (with the exception of Cabernet Sauvignon), at least 90% of the grapes will be of the state varietal.

And while this has been for the most part a good thing, there have been, in my mind, a few negative side effects. The main one has been that due to the focus on varietals and the prohibition against names like Burgundy and Bordeaux, there has been, especially in the past, an almost cult-like bias for straight varietal wines -- Pinots, Chard, etc. This means that less time and effort was spent on blended wines, and so they gained an unfortunately deserved reputation for being of lesser quality than the straight varietals.

But that lesser quality had to do with the effort being expended on them, not on the inherent superiority of pure varietal wines. And I'm happy to report that Oregon winemakers are starting to experiment more with higher quality blended reds -- with pleasing results. Some of the better results come from Cab-Merlot blends and Syrah-based blends, as well as more complex and esoteric blends.

Two of my favorites are Girardet Winery's Grande Rouge and Bergstrom's Red (how straightforward is that? Nice, huh?). The Bergstrom is a marvelous, full-bodied wine, both drier and bolder than the usual demure pinot noirs for which Oregon is known. It also has more oak flavor to it, and pairs well with steak and beef. The Girardet Grande Rouge is also dry, but not as in-your-face as the Bergstrom, and finds a middle ground between fuller-bodied wines and the softness of Pinot Noir. It went well with salmon last night, but I'd also not hesitate to pair it with Italian food or beef. And the best part? It'll st you back about $7 a bottle.

All in all, I'm encouraged by the new blended reds. I'm also interested, bemused, and at times amused by the names the winemakers come up for for these blended wines. One winery names them all after members of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Appropriate, given the adventurous spirit this new trend reflects.

Are you ready to join the Corps of Discovery?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Badge and the Spatula

I'm really looking forward to the new show coming out on the Food Network, The Hungry Detective. The star is a real LAPD Detective and a food critic. Why does this show's concept jazz me so much?

Back when I was in my early twenties, I worked as a parking valet. My workday started in the evening and went until well after midnight. I had friends who were night owls as well, and usually didn't go to bed until around 4 AM or so. One thing I learned: If it's 2 AM and you're hungry for good food, look for cop cars. If you see 2 or more police cruisers parked at the same establishment and their lights are NOT flashing, eat there. Trust me on this one. Cops know food.

It Can Happen That Fast

Today I had the... opportunity(?) to help avoid a missing child incident. No, not The Lad, someone else's kid.

On Thursdays, TFR doesn't go to work until 3:30, and I have no classes, so we decided to spend the early part of day together OUTSIDE of the house. It's been a glorious day, sunny and warm with only the slightest hint of chill in the breeze. We went first to Lone Pine, a farm stand/petting farm where The Lad got to feed goats, and we had pop and a caramel apple. Then we drove into Eugene and went to Emerald Park, where there is an excellent playground and sandbox. While we were there, we met several other parents with toddlers. One woman was there with a boy of about 4 or 5, and a little girl of 2. At one point a preschool class came marching out of the rec center to play on the playground, and this woman went over to talk to the teacher and ask her if there were any openings, then returned to the sandbox. A few minutes later, she told the boy to get ready to go, then went over to the playground area to get the girl. Within a minute she was back, frantically calling the girl's name and asking if we had seen her. She wasn't anywhere to be seen -- not in the sandbox, the playground, or the parking lot.

As a parent, my heart went out to her, so while TFR stayed with The Lad I went looking too. For some reason, I was drawn to the north end of the park, past the playground, where there was a picnic pavillion, grassy ares and volleyball pits. As I headed that way, a woman coming in the opposite direction asked if I was looking for a little girl. She pointed me in the right direction, and within a minute I had found her. She had seen a squirrel and taken off chasing it. The scary thing was, when I caught up with her, 100 yards north of the sandbox, she was within 20 feet of the edge of the park. I herded her (she was skittish and I didn't think it appropriate to pick her up or try to take her hand) back towards the sandbox, when the woman she had been with came running. She thanked me, expressed surprise that a 2-year-old could move that fast (Oh, yeah, believe it, lady!), then confided in me that the girl wasn't her daughter -- she was watching her for a friend.

That put a chill down my spine. It's bad enough that she was inattentive and let the girl get out of her sight, but to be so cavalier with another parent's child? If someone pulled a stunt like that with The Lad, I promise you, I'd have to display my Pimp Hand. You don't take your eyes off of your kid, let alone a child left in your care. That little girl was within moments of possible disappearing forever. When I found her, she was down in a swale where she couldn't be seen until I was within a few yards of her.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

With All Due Respect...

...To Smallholder,

The Demon Rum has been blamed/to blame for congressional shennanigans for much longer than he assumes. But that's all water under the bridge.

Silly, Yet Strangely Intuitive.

Boy, Howdy! to Cabin Mistress at Uncle Sam's Cabin.

The Easiest Personality Quiz you'll ever take:

You Are a Root Beer Jelly Bean
You are truly All American and down to earth. You don't have fancy tastes, and you don't apologize for who you are. You enjoy tradition and proven quality.

Musical Geography Question(s) of the Day


1. Where are the boys thirsty?

2. Where is there beer?

This is a Test

Just checking the changes to the comments.

Without Further Ado

The new blog name. I hope you like it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Musical Geography Question of the Day

If that stretch down south won't ever stand the strain if it snows, what are you?
A couple of neat things happened today related to school. First of all, I aced my Oregon State Food Handler's exam. This isn't really a major accomplishment -- it requires missing no more than 8 questions on a 32-question exam, all of which are multiple choice. I missed 1, and feel dumb about that one. It's scary to think how much worse than me some people have done and yet are legally serving me food when I eat out. I'm proud of Oregon in many ways, but not about our status as one of the states with the laxest health departments in the nation. But by the end of the term, if I've passed my class, I'll have passed the exam to become Servsafe certified, which is a more stringent standard than any stae health department in the nation.

Second, I received a package in the mail from Amazon.com -- my used (but in good condition) copy of Webster's New World Dictionary of Culinary Arts. It was expensive ($65 new for the full-sized copy), but it's the same culinary dictionary that Chef Chris (my professor) has used since his days as a culinary student. Heck, this sucker even has the definition of Mr. Brown in it.

I'm really starting to get into the groove of culinary school. I even enjoy wearing brigade -- I can feel the way it identifies me as a member of the culinary arts. It's not easy, it's tiring and demanding and at times intimidating, but the Good Lord as my witness, it feels right -- like I'm finally doing something with my life.

That Which We Call a Rose

I'm seriously changing the name of this blog, and wondered what my loyal readers (all 5 of you) would think.

I actually came up with the name "Memento Moron" before I had committed to blogging, and the fact that I was able to come up with a name that was, in my own mind, suitably clever, was one of the reasons I decided to take the leap.

But the name was chosen at a time when my bolgging was primarily of a political and current affairs nature. While I still weigh in on subjects that fire my passions occasionally, the blog has become far more of a catch-all for my meanderings, personal events, daddyblogging, school blogging, etc., and I'm not sure the theme that the name sets matches the tone of the majority of my entries.

I don't want to give away the new name I have in mind, but it would reflect a couple of my passions -- including cooking and certain musical tastes. If I decide to make the change, I'll probably start by changing the name in the heading, but keeping the old Memento Moron URL, until enough time has passed for people to get used to the new name.

So what does everyone think?