Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Good Tired

Now that I'm home from my first night there, I can share without jinxing it:

I got a job. Cooking. I only worked an hour and a half tonight, but it was just orienting myself with the place.

It's not my dream job -- it's at a bar and grill, cooking burgers and other bar food. And the hours are going to be killer -- I'll be pulling down three or four closing shifts (6:30 PM to 2:30 AM).

But it's a job. And the people are nice. And it's a job. And the waitresses tip the kitchen. And it's a job. And I get a free meal every shift. And it's a job. And I get one free bar drink at the end of the shift. And.. here's the best part...

It's a job. Cooking.

I'm a cook.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dry Run

Friday was the first dry run for our spring Classic Cuisine Dinner, and I had a blast. This will be the only dinner where I am in charge of the dish I am cooking, and am not answerable to a chef de parti -- I found and am developing the recipe and sub-recipes, and am working directly with our student Chef de Cuisine on adjustments to them.

The dinner is a 100-mile menu, which means we're highlighting local ingredients. The main purpose in the school's eyes is to focus on sustainability. For me, that's all well and good, what thrills me about it is the chance to highlight the glorious ingredients available in this region. So the dish I came up with was vanilla ice cream, made with local dairy milk and cream, topped with a hazelnut & honey caramel sauce. One of my classmates made a suggestion, and I thought it was a good one, so I've added a slice of pound cake to the recipe.

The dry run went well. I made the ice cream a couple days ahead of time, so ti would have time to set in the freezer, and it came out almost perfectly -- smooth, light, with a rich taste but not cloyingly sweet. On Friday, the sauce came out delicious, but a bit thin. Next time I'm cutting back on the cream. toasting the filberts, and especially the stage of skinning them, was the most tedious part. The last step was to add the nuts and the sauce to a saucepan, flambe them (We'll be using a locally-distilled vodka, Bend Distillery's Hazelnut Coffee Vodka). The dish was supposed to be a half-dessert, since we're doing a buffet and eople will have several desserts to choose from. But we determined that a half-serving of ice cream just can't take the heat from freshly flambeed sauce, so we're increasing the serving to a full 4 ounce scoop, and cutting the amount of sauce and nuts in half.

The final plating needs some tweaking, as you can see, but the flavors and textures are out of this world.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Do Solemnly Swear (That if he Solemnly Swears)

A Tip of the Toque to J. Wesley at The Conservative Intelligencer.

I've been convinced for a long time that one of the main reasons so many liberals suffer from BDS has nothing to do with Bush himself, and everything to do with the fact that he was the first Republican president post-Clinton, and the Left wanted its pound of flesh. I've also had a niggling sense that, despite the fact that the Clinton presidency was rife with corruption and a disaster with regards to foreign policy, defense, the Second Amendment, and a myriad of other issues, we on the right made things a bit too personal, took a little too much delight in his downfall.With that in mind, I am joining the guys over at TCI in signing:

The Conservative Non-Derangement Pact

If Obama is elected:
1. We won’t convert the conservative blogosphere into a shrill, psychotic echo chamber consisting primarily of profanity-laced invective.
2. If anyone kills themselves in the White House, we will assume it isn’t murder until proven otherwise.
3. We won’t be so strident in our hatred of Obama that we push moderates into his corner.
4. We won’t start up another raft of conspiracy theories involving the Illuminati.
5. We WILL fight our political battles red of tooth and claw, but smile while doing it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mo Rocca is a Tool

I just got done watching some footage on Fox of some sort of black tie dinner/event in D.C., where Mo Rocca was "speaking", or as it appeared to me, "Spewing bitter bile disguised as a lame-ass attempt at humor". The event was supposed to be one of those "come together" events, apparently, and Rocca even pointed that fact out, even as he continued to crank out lame joke after lame joke, all aimed at conservatives. The thing was, not even the liberals in the crowd were really laughing. A few "Amen Guffaws" and embarassed tittering along the lines of "He didn't just say that, did he?" People seemed split between being insulted by and genuinely embarassed for him, and I would have felt sorry for him too, if he wasn't making such an ass of himself. I mean, from a comedy standpoint, he really really bombed -- rushed his timing, appeared nervous, and none of it was original or surprising... every single joke was telegraphed a mile out. He was like Margaret Cho on Prozac.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Musical Geography Trivia Question of the Day

Where are there seventy-five women with whom I wish I did dwell, and if I did, what could do what, where?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

¿Como Se Dice, 'Hypocrisy' en Español?

A tip of the Toque toDrew M at Ace of Spades HQ. Mexican President Felipe Calderon's message: Do as I say, not as I do.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Not So Fast....

I lost the job. Before I was even going to start. Must be a new land speed record.

Here's what happened:

Monday, I went in to talk to the chef about my schedule. He had scheduled me to work the hours I'm actually in class, and off when I was available. I explained to him, and he acknowledged that he'd made poor notes regarding my availability. We confirmed my actual availability, and he said he'd get back with me.

He did. This morning. He explained that after several attempts to accommodate my schedule, he was unable to do so without breaking other commitments. He is sorry, and hopes I'll come back when my schedule opens up, but for now, he doesn't have a place for me.

I'm terribly disappointed, and it's a real blow for us financially, but I'm encouraged by the fact he found me hireable to begin with. Now I just need to get back out there. I just worry that my school schedule is going to be a problem anywhere I go.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Trivia Question:

What is the significance of the above number as it relates to the United states and specifically my home state of Oregon?

UPDATE - Bumped to 4/8:
Nice try, all my readers. You got close. The answer:
3,365 is the number of miles in U.S. Highway 20, the longest road on America. It starts in Boston, Massachussetts, and ends at its intersection with U.S. 101 in... yup -- Newport, Oregon.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Crossed Fingers and Bended Knees Would Be Appreciated

I haven't said anything until now, because I didn't want to get my readers' (and especially my own) hopes up, but last Tuesday I had a job interview. The interview went well, and the place seems like a good match -- Northwest cuisine, they're looking for part-time cooks for now, they especially need AM positions filled, and the chef is passionate about, among other things, charcuterie. Until I graduate, it'd only be a few hours a week, but it's a foot in the door, and it's located close to Hayward Field, where the Olympic Trials will be held later this spring, so I'm sure after graduation there'll be plenty of time available for more work.

Please see the title of the post for my reason fortelling you all this.

UPDATE 04/07/08:


The chef called just before 9 PM tonight, and offered me the job. I go in tomorrow to talk about my schedule.

Thanks to everyone who put in good thoughts and prayers.

Quote of the Day

"Sometimes, thinking of my own objectivity, I wonder whether my perception
of the left as mentally challenged is simply a product of my own,
generally-conservative point-of-view. Then there are times like these when I
realize that the true lefties really are seriously messed up in the head."

- Ragnar Danneskjold, posting over at Blogfather Rusty's.

The post is on the vitriol spewed over at DU regarding the death of Charleston Heston. He was a better man than any of his detractors. Rest in Peace, Taylor.

Random Geneaology Stuff

I got a call from dear old Mom this week, who has been doing some research on the family tree. She specifically focused on her father's ancestry, and she came up with some interesting facts:

At least part of the German side of her father's family came from Schleswig-Holstein, though we also suspect Bavarian ancestry. On the Irish side, the first Barron in America was born in Ireiland in 1751, location unknown at this point. I can also trace my lineage to the Scottish Clan Campbell now, as well as to victims of the Cherry Valley Massacre. In addition, I now know I had an ancestor serving in an Ohio regiment in the Civil War, and can trace the path of my family across the U.S. -- from New York, to Pennsylvania, then Ohio, to Kansas, New Mexico, California, and finally through me and my son to Oregon.

What's particularly interesting is the coincidence of that family history with that of my FATHER'S family, which traces a similar path -- Off the boat from Germany at Baltimore in 1750, then on to Pennsylvania, where rather than being massacred, an ancestor participated IN a massacre, then to Ohion, Arizona, and California. And yet despite similar places, the two families have no known connection until my parents met.

Thoughts of a Typical Right Person

So Barack Obama has added more fuel to the Race-and-Politics fire that is the Democratic primaries with his comment calling his grandmother a "typical white person". I have noticed a couple of my fellow conservative Bloggers comment on this, but I also noticed that the Clinton campaign jumped on it right away. And it brought up an interesting point in my mind. Throughout this political season, whenever either Obama or Clinton have made a blunder, any response by conservatives has been labelled a right-wing smear tactic, motivated supposedly by racism or sexism.

Yet the two camps of liberals -- both the official campaigns and the rank-and-file supporters -- have been just as quick to jump on those same incidents. Nothing I've heard any conservative say in response to these well-known incidents has been any harsher than what the liberals have said about ueach other. Why do you think that is?

I'll tell you why *I* think it is. I think it's because that's all the two have on each other. The rhetoric in this country for some time is that our political campaigns should be about issues and not be personal attacks, but personal attacks are all Clinton and Obama have of substance on each other ARE personal attacks. On the issues, each is hard-pressed to prove significanlty different from the other. They both espouse domestic policies that are blatantly socialist, foreign policies that place being liked over being secure and hold American sovereignty hostage to international politics, and social values that devalue unborn life and place identity politics ahead of common sense and true equality. They both pander to the same special interest grouups on the Left, so they really can't outdo each other regarding their Liberal Bona Fides, so the only thing they have left is to try to tarnish each other.

The beauty of this from a conservative perspective is two-fold.

First of all, I've stayed away from much political blogging this election cycle, simply because I've been disappointed in my own party -- both in the actions of elected Republicans, and in the choices made in our own primaries. But when push comes to shove, I'd still prefer unenthusiastically supporting McCain to seeing either Clinton OR Obama elected. And despite some failings, he certainly does offer positions on several important policies that are in contrast with the Democratic candidate, whomever that may be. He's holding the line on a lot of foreign policy and security issues, although he still disappoints me regarding the border. He's taking a tough stance regarding mortgage bailouts, and I think he's smart enough to recognize that the economy is not his strong suite, and will recruit good policy folks to inform him.

Secondly, and this may be a bit mercenary of me, but he can focus on those issues, and rise above personal politics, while still reaping the benefits of the nasty personal politics being practiced by the Dem candidates on each other (see my "Qoute of the Day" a while back). They're doing such a good job of pointing out to voters why the other is unqualified, all McCain need to is point out his own qualifications, and harp on the issues.

Absolut-ly Not

A tip of the toque to Michelle Malkin via Gully at Resistance is Futile!

Absolut Vodka has an ongoing ad campaign called "In an Absolut World", wherein they portray images of the way things would be if the ultra-cool, with-it people who drink their vodka had their way.

Apparently, that includes the "Reconquista" of the American West by Mexico. One of the ads shows a redrawn map of North America, with Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, California, and Colorado, as well as parts of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Oklahoma, ALL as part of Mexico.

The ad was only run in Latin America, but the agency was stupid not to think it would be spread all over the internet lickety damned split. Even (or should I say especially) Mexican-Americans find it offensive.

And if the ad itself wasn't bad enough, check out their half-assed attempts at explaining and apologizing -- apparently in response to the huge backlash.

Sorry, Absolut, too little, too late. As one commenter pointed out, perhaps Swedish-based Absolute should run an add where Scandinavia is part of the Soviet Union, or where Sweden's neighbor, Norway, is still occupied by Nazi Germany. Wouldn't those be a hoot? The money quote is in the comments of an unrelated post in the Absolut World Blog:

OK, Sweden may have sold out a few countries in World War II, but it was not
meant to offend or disparage, or advocate an altering of borders, lend support
to any anti-Allied sentiment, or to reflect immigration issues. They were truly
sorry and understand that the action has offended several nations. This was not
their intention.To ensure that Sweden will avoid future similar mistakes, they
are adjusting their internal foreign army approval process for invasions that
are developed in local markets. This is a genuine and sincere apology, and

My first reaction was that not only will I boycott Absolut personally, but I will see to it that when I own my own restaurant some day, neither it nor any product owned by its parent company is carried in my bar, and I was pleased to read a comment on Absolut's website from at least one other restauranteur who feels the same way. Thanks to loyal reader and fellow blogger Patrick at Born Again Redneck, I have a handy list:

Seagram’s gin
100 Pipers
Amaro Ramazzoti
Clan Campbell
Pastis 51
Wild Turkey
Royal Salute
Tia Maria
Royal Stag
Wyndham Estate
Campo Viejo
Hiram Walker
Café de Paris
Don Pedro
Something Special

Wine-based aperitifs and fortified wines
Sandeman Port
La Ina

Australian wines
Jacob’s Creek
Wyndham Estate

Argentinean wines
Santa Silvia
Mumm Espumante

Other wines
Almaden (Brazil)
Domecq (Mexico)
Tamada (Georgia)
Old Tbilisi (Georgia)
Long Mountain (South Africa)


Sparkling wines
Jacob’s Creek (Sparkling)
Café de Paris
Mumm Napa
Mumm Espumante

New Zealand wines
Church Road

Spanish wines
Campo Viejo
Marques de Arienzo
Viña Alcorta
Palacio de la Vega

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Chez Chay

Last term was my last term working in the Renaissance Room, our student-run restaurant. The class that covered this was Restaurant Supervision, and it was pretty much self-explanatory -- we were the supervisors, the first years were our workers. Aside from the seasonal dinner events, it was our main contact with the first years, and overall, they were a great bunch to work with. Even though I'm nowhere near as close to them as to my classmates, I enjoyed getting to know them.

Which all leads me to a really cool thing that happened today. Last term, I was bragging to them about The Lad's enthusiasm for cooking. Today, I bumped into two of them in the library at school, and one of them said, "Oh, I have something for you". She left, and returned a few mihutes later with The Lad's first cookbook.

It's awesome, since he loves Disney almost as much as cooking. Remy from Ratatouille is the guide, and the recipes are all themed after various characterts, TV Shows and movies. It's not Haute Cuisine, to be sure, but it's easy, and fun, and they DO teach things like nutrition, safety, and even Mise en Place. He insisted on it being his bedtime story tonight, and he's already eying a couple of recipes he wants to try.

Me? Proud? What makes you say that?