In class, we had another practical exam. We had to recreate our genoise mousseline cake from last week, yes the tasteless one. This cake’s perfect outcome is strictly contingent upon flawless technique. Since there is no baking soda or baking powder, you have to whip the eggs to a three-second ribbon (meaning drips of batter will disappear after three seconds—no more, no less). Do it correctly, great looking (not tasting) cake. Over-whip, it’ll taste like scrambled eggs. Under-whip, it’ll be a hockey puck. Mine turned out well but chef found a way to knock-off some points nevertheless.
“Euh, you cooked eet too long. I like eet a beet, euh, lighter.”
We spent the remainder of our day making marzipan. We assembled our petit fours—three layers of almond cake. I sandwiched my layers with lemon curd, a fine substitute for the nasty jam we’ve well over-used thus far. We rolled out our marzipan and coated our petit fours. Becky and I started on the assembly process of our Battenberg cakes. This consisted of cutting the cake into ½ inch by ½ inch square rods which we assemble in a Battenberg pattern. We used nappage to glue, in essence, our pieces together. We ran out of time, so we wrapped our hard day’s work in plastic wrap and called it a day.
After class, I rested for only a moment before changing and driving with Yolanda and the kids to JPL. NASA held an international food tasting and entertainment festival. I was incredibly surprised and impressed by the event! There were 12 stations serving food from across the world. The plates were loaded with some of each country’s best or most popular entrees and desserts. I was trying to smother my new awareness of food time-temperature abuse as I saw all of the food sitting out in the warm Pasadena sun; but it was not hard to do once I noticed what was being served. To name some of the things we tried:
Japan: Raw Snapper Fish, Avocado Sushi Roll
China: Spring Roll, Fried Shrimp, Chow Mein, Chow Sui Bow, and other questionables
Italy: Stuffed Ravioli, Meat Balls
Arab: Rice Roll, Humus, Spicy Humus, Pita Bread, and Parsley Olive Tomato Salad
Armenian: Chicken Kebab and Rice
Indian: Curry and Rice
Native American: Navajo Tacos (basically a taco but with a fried scone in place of the hard taco shell)
Austrian: Bratwurst, Grilled Meat, and Bread
American: Mini-hamburgers and Cobbler (which was actually a crisp*)
Celtic: Shepherd’s Pie
So yeah, it was incredible—but that’s not all! There was live entertainment. There were different performing groups including: international choirs, East Indian dancers, Native American dancers, and a Middle Eastern four-man band. I LOVED IT! Not only did this experience remind me of my love for many different cultures and travelling, it brought back some very tender memories from the past. I especially loved the Middle Eastern group because it reminded me of my time in Israel, Jordan, and Egypt back in 2007. During one of their numbers, an elderly woman from the audience stood up and started dancing—arms stretched out and slow moving—to what I assume is a traditional song. As I looked around, I noticed a group of people from that particular region of the world starting to become rather emotional. I wish I could have understood the particular meaning and its significance. As I watched each performance from the different areas of the world, I could not help but think of the love Heavenly Father has for the billions of people in this world. I could go on and on about this experience, but suffice it to say that I could not have asked for a more pleasant evening. On the flip side, I am now feeling a great eagerness to pick up and travel somewhere! Can one be addicted to travelling?
After allowing the kids to take to the dance floor and release all of their night-time energy, the adults packed them back in the car and we all drove back to the Bellevue home. What a day, and what an evening! Oh, I weighed myself before going to bed—I’ve gained 12 pounds since my arrival to Pasadena. WORD!