….today was more like a defrag, a complete realignment of data and a filling in of the spaces. It is our first real day off, completely off, no chef, dinner to prepare, no nothing- except SUN. We actually have a four day break, which we accrued from working 6 days a week for the last few weeks, and several folks have gone off to other places. Jason, our Chinese Champion, has gone to unite with friends in Tuscany, and Hermanus, our South African Wonder Boy (age 22 and a private chef for one of the richest men in Hong Kong), went to Liguria for business. I considered going to Pulgia, the homeland of my mother’s family for the 4 days to explore the land and eat the food, but it came to quite a few dollars and I want to wait a while before I dump 500 smackeroos, at least until I know all the bills are paid. The remaining kiddies went to Tropea, another seaside town with even more shops to spend money in. Me, I have been lying abed all day, except for a stint of yoga on the tiled deck (my CD now skips every other word and could be quite annoying, but I love hearing half words from Tammy’s mouth and that alone is enough to sooth my soul – and stretch out my stiff muscles) and an hour or so in the sun reading a book that someone left from a previous class. Ahhhh. If someone knows Tammy Moser, be sure and tell her how wonderful it is to hear her voice in the morning.
I sent a rather desperate message back to my family to help me get some clarity about the strange behavior of our chef here, and as I fully expected, several of them responded with words of wisdom and insight that really helped me to get centered again and breathe. You would think it would all be sunshine and roses here in paradise, but, in truth, it is just like real life. Oh well, it is a sunny real life and someone else makes my cappuccino every morning, makes my bed and changes the towels every couple of days. They sweep the floor, serve croissants that are at least better than Carrs, and there is ALWAYS Nutella to spread on them. ( I am eating yogurt and All Bran at least half the days, just so I will continue to fit in my jeans) Our room is the most perfect room the place. We are next door to the washing machine (see previous blogs concerning the dryer), we are on the same level and a few steps away from the breakfast room, and about one step and 6 feet from the front door of the school. Pretty sweet. Lately, we have taken turns going and getting coffee in the morning and bringing it back on a vasoia (tray). That is pretty much like heaven. Sitting on my wimpy bed, with the corniest quilt you ever saw, in my cozy jammies, sipping cappuccino, the sun streaming in the French doors and sea beyond.
Have I mentioned how nice it is to not be around chef today? It is nice. I am tired of hearing his voice, yelling and belittling. I asked a few students about their culinary school experience and if yelling was de rigueur (how do you spell that?) Pretty much, it is common. I remember reading about it in my youth and back then the chef would slap you across the face, and your response was supposed to be, “Thank you Chef for the lesson.” I am thinking that, as it is in all things in my life, it all happened as it should. If I had gone to culinary school at 18 I would not have been able to take it. I would likely have washed out. Today, I have stood up to bullies and learned that I don’t have to cave in the presence of bullying.
Yesterday we went to marketino and I bought some artichokes. Alaskans, brace yourself. Artichokes were 10 for 4 Euros. I bought 5 and prepared them “alla My Mother” and served them at dinner. Someone please tell mom here recipe was a hit. I was surprised that even in artichoke land, in artichoke season, they tasted remarkably like the ones we get, at a fraction of the price of course, but I was happy to know that the taste was the same. Yummmmmm! See photo attached. I have three more days off ahead of me, perhaps I will be bored by then, but I doubt it. I certainly will be finished with the book, A Reliable Wife. I have been weeping through it all day. I feel as though someone has examined my soul and put it on paper. I really, really, REALLY hope it has a happy ending. I have one all figured out in case it doesn’t. I expect that Kristine and I will get Luigi to put a trip together for us on Sunday or Tuesday. We are both cooking on Monday; she a Cajun dinner and me an orange cake for dessert. It is Valentines’ Day and I bought one Baci (Italian Chocolate Kiss) for each person.