February 03, 2010

Baking myself out of a funk.

It’s the winter, the world, the work, whatever. I’m in a funk and it’s not very pleasant. Nor am I.

But that funk was tucked on a kitchen shelf high out of reach the other night when my friend Karen and I headed to The Institute of Culinary Education. We were there for the New Orleans Desserts class taught by Chef David Guas, author of DamGoodSweet -- a damgood cookbook/memoir.

We signed up for the class way before the Saints were Super Bowl-bound, but that development just added to the experience. And when I spring a Gâteau de Sirop on the Super Sunday crowd, I'm going to look pretty cool. Laissez les bon temps roulez indeed.

The enthusiastic and charming Chef Guas led one of the best culinary classes I've taken. I didn't just learn how to make his banana pudding, I learned why it's important to him. I learned how loved ones weren't sent off with a New Orleans jazz funeral, but rather had their lives celebrated with a post-service buffet that always included family, friends, and one mean banana pudding. And I wasn't just told to add Steen's syrup to the Gâteau de Sirop, I was told why Steen's is a must in any self-respecting Louisianian's cupboard. When making caramel I wasn't just told to leave the boiling sugar alone, I was told "when sugar gets agitated, it gets cranky." (Way more memorable, n'est-ce pas?) Chef was also a total Southern gentlemen, offering up cuss-free kitchen colloquialisms like, "and that just kicks the you-know-what out of it." Where as I would have likely just dropped the "s" bomb.

I floated home on a confectionery cloud nine, with visions of a future as a pâtissier dancing through my head (and caramel in my hair). My elevated glucose levels had me barking out my new plans to Mike. I was like a sugar-fueled human machine gun: “IthinkIshouldgotoculinaryschoolandlearnhowtoreallyreallybakeandIcouldworkataninnoropenaninnorsomething…”

He’s a lovely man who supports my (many) whims and flights of fancy. But he gently reminded me that working as a baker would not always be sugar-coated fun; it would be a lot of hard work and long hours. And that financially it’s probably not a very sound decision right now, what with fairly major house renovation plans on the to-do list for the year.

And that reality check from the voice of reason annoyed the you-know-what out of me.


Lorrie said...

What a great cure for a winter funk Laura. I'm in one here myself as my part of NC was hit with a big snowstorm and another on the way. The South just doesn't do snow very well and I have major cabin fever.

I am always on the lookout for a great banana pudding recipe, and if this one is a keeper, I hope you will share.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

You are so very, very funny! Hopefully, you have come down from that sugar infused high and come to your senses. If not, I will tell you all about how I grew up in the back of a bakery and what is really involved..then, if you want to go for it, I will be your first customer! Laura, you find the best classes to take. So, will we be spending more time in the "kitchen" tent at the sale soon?
♥, Susan

modernemama said...

The voice of reason is always annoying but lack of one can be devastating. Just sayin'

Bonbon Oiseau said...

sounds so lovely and so glad it lifted you out of the funk--i say renovate from ikea and go to culinary school at the same time! go girl go!

Tina said...

such the dreamer. Love that. I understand caramel makes a good hair product :)

Yummy post

svelteSTUFF said...

Ahhh yessss... it is good from time to time to be reminded the 'why' of 'why we married' 8-).... every once in a while we do need a little 'tethering' in our sugar-highed lives, whether we like it or not! Sounds like he gives you plenty of rope though, so it's all good - and banana flavored is even better!! (get your mind out of the gutter - all of you!!!!!!)

preppyplayer said...

You made me laugh this morning! We are also about to embark on a major, costly construction project,
which I must remind myself when I start to make too many travel plans, social plans in NYC, etc.

So do what I do, put your dreams on the shelf for a little while and then come back to them when the time is right!

I've been reading long enough to know that a major treasure find or a new project should lift you out of your funk- start looking!

j.cro said...

Hang in there my dear friend.

Renovation Therapy said...

Aww, Mike was being a Balloon Popper!

I want caramel in my hair.

heidi said...

Do it anyway.
guinea pig

Home Grain Mills said...

Very very nice! Sometime's its worth it to chase those urges, but usually it's just nice to know that if you REALLY wanted to, you could go do it :)

Anonymous said...

This class sounded like a treat in more than one way! Can appreciate the ying/yang relationship -- keeps things balanced -- but sometimes its up to this half to shake things up about and step out of the box!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

LOL! Loved this post, Laura!

And guess what, sweetness??? I made a banana pudding for Foodie Friday. Be sure to check it out. All good Southerners love their banana pudding. I'd love to see his recipe for it.


Sheila :-)

Linda Lou said...

What a great class to get you out of the winter blues--I am jealous-loving french desserts with a little creole on the side...New Orleans is on my bucket list...Where is that banana pudding recipe?? My hubbie has a thing for any dessert with bananas!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I love New Orleans and the best food I've ever eaten was in that town! This sounds like a great cookbook and a really fantastic class. Fun!

I think you'd make a great baker Laura. I wouldn't give up the dream. Look at Martha Stewart ... she was working in business and doing catering on the side and developed that talent into a mega millions empire!

I can see it now: "The Shorehouse Chic Bakery" ...sounds good to me!

I can'ty wait to see how your Gâteau de Sirop turned out!

Joyce said...

Sounds like fun! I enjoy taking cooking/baking classes.

Maureen said...

You would kick (you know what) in the kitchen. No doubt.

Your culinary class sounds like a lot of fun. What a perfectly timed outing with benefits for everyone - especially the Super Bowl crowd.

Sue said...

Oh that Mike is such the Buzz Kill.
Your class sounded wonderful....Daughter has been there for a class before and I would love to go one of these days.
I got a comment left on my blog from King Arthur right after you posted.....They said that they do carry the spelt four you mentioned......Happy Baking!!
Oh and since your so close....maybe the Cake Boss will give you a job as his intern...