Monthly Archives: December 2012

Just read it

It is a reasonable expectation that one should try out a product or activity before forming a decided and educated opinion (so long as it is safe and reasonable). I still have my preconclusions on Twitter (lame), seeing the pyramids in person (torture), and my life with a singing toothbrush (rocking awesome) and will not likely budge. Anyway, one thing I’ve tried this past year for the first time was reading ebooks. I was against the very idea at first but since learned not to “parade my ignorant assumptions” in this case and here’s why:

Social appearance/ settings
This one is a toss up. You can look more intellectual with your nose in a book and others can ask about it or leave you alone in peace but they can learn about who you are and relate either way. But sometimes you or your friend might want the privacy while enjoying some teen books with maybe a pink cover and a crown (hypothetical example). And is it just me but why does it feel rude or weird when you read a book at the table but when you whip out your tablet or phone it’s okay?

Moving is killer for any book aficionados. But having them really completes a home and generates conversation with visitors. Still, storage for dozens of tomes all in one thin device wins for convenience.

Water and other elements
Books warp when liquid is spilled obviously. I suppose if you drenched your reader it will die out. Being the clumsy rhino I am, pages will bend and rip in my presence regularly. Having wet hair or enjoying a meal is easy with my Kindle – it just wipes off, thank goodness.

Sorry I love bookmarks but using them is a pain. For an ebook it keeps your page each time it is selected. You can highlight a word for instant definition and change the size or font. Also you don’t need another light source which is helpful when in a shared room or plane. I don’t write in my books so will leave that point alone. I’m sure there’s an environmental impact argument here too because your carbon footprint will harm descendents and blah blah blah greenpeacecakes

It’s okay to love them both…right? I love the debate since it involves those kindred spirits who appreciate reading. Pricing is actually similar due to publishing and editing expenses – except for those out of print which are free or costs pennies online. Our country lives in a digital age and ebooks charmed this reluctant old fashioned lady with their innovative advantages. However, although paper books may become relics in the near future, walking into a bookstore or library sweeps me away and makes me feel at home. Curling up with one or the other is wonderful each in their own way.

So, read any good books lately?

Culinary School

In elementary school, maybe in fifth grade, we had a week where each member of our class had to display a talent. I figured I would try and make cookies for everyone. Was mixing all the ingredients together in front of the whole class and then it hit me. Forgot the butter. Makes me cringe to this day.

My mom made all the meals growing up but never taught me much beyond boiling and maybe to pan fry (shout out to my homie Spam!). I never learned any traditional Korean dishes and still don’t know any. Admiring Food Network stars such as Alton Brown and Sara Moulton with pressure from parents lead me to the Le Cordon Bleu California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena. It was a year program and I was able to work in a French restaurant making desserts another year after graduation before moving on.

What I failed to realize back then was that I did not have enough coordination or common sense needed in such a battlefield.  Unfortunately they are innately given concepts which cannot be sought or installed if missing so far as I know. Also allergies and a bad sense of taste are definitely outing factors.  Once I figured out the wrong ways to make a dish and got used to the steps I can get along fine with a familiar item.  I remember meeting discliplined instructors who had many skills and experiences. They were organized and challenging but were also kind and encouraging. Luckily no terrifyingly abusive chefs barked orders at me but some did have tempers and I endured bad burns and deep knife cuts. I encountered some hilarious characters at the restaurant and the days were fast and simple at the back of the house.

So would I do this again? Most likely yes although choice of program and length of time involved might be altered. Regrettably little of my former training remains but I can recall some lessons for those considering to try it out:

+ obviously you get to eat a lot and have exposure to new foods!
+ satisfaction when the product comes out right
+ universal appeal in conversations: when people find out you’re a cook they all tend to relate with enthusiasm
+ artistic techniques that are attractive to creative thinkers

– ack, uniforms!
– it can be quite pricey with books and tools
– if you aim to make it a career the industry demands unsteady hours (forget having weekends and holidays to yourself anymore) with no benefits and low pay
– requires heavy lifting and tons of cleaning

Nothing is quite like glazing a fruit tart or reducing wine in a batch of beef bourguignon. Or as dreamy as the taste of coffee buttercream while coating ganache over an opera cake. Of course there were gag worthy meetings such as the ratatouille dish and I still find aspic jelly unsavory. But it’s all about the process if not only the result. The flavors would blend together like music in an orchestra or elements that form an architectural project. It is a universal language that connects us across the world.