"Foods" meets once a week on Mondays. I take the train down there in the morning and I'm back by the late afternoon. In between, everything revolves around food. My professor is a chef with a culinary and a biology degree (I forgot specifically which type of bio degree) who has a certified organic farm out in the country and invites his students out there. He teaches in my masters program, so I'm hoping that I'll get to know him well enough for an invite! As you would expect, he knows a heck of a lot about food.
We have a lecture that goes for about two hours (last week was about the chemistry of food), and then we go into our kitchen lab. In there, we work in groups and have full access to the pantry (I felt like I was on "Chopped" or one of those kinds of shows on my first day). We wear aprons and hair nets. On our first day, we prepared a whole bunch of little samples of things such as rice, tomato sauce, cheese dip, vinegar and salt water (to taste!) and sugar cookies to run comparison taste tests. Last week was the meat lab. I don't eat red meat anymore, but I did find Boca Burgers in the freezer and made one for myself for lunch! It was great! I also made steak stir fry, but only a few people ate the beef. The rest of us stood around and picked at the veggies off of the plate. Tomorrow is the poultry lab, which I know that I will enjoy. We get to eat everything that we make, so there's obviously no point in me bringing lunch.
I called this post "Mouthfeel", because this is a term and a concept that you need to understand when selecting your herbs for your foods. "Mouthfeel" applies to how the food feels inside of you as your tongue moves it against the roof of your mouth. Something creamy, like gelato, has a very different mouthfeel to something like potato chips. My chef professor brought up this concept when we asked him if we should use dried or fresh herbs in our sauces. He told us that foods with a softer mouthfeel, like a cream cheese dip, needs something to match it like fresh herbs. A different texture of food, like garlic bread, goes better with dried herbs. This may seem like common sense to most people, but I never thought about it that way. He also taught us that when you slice a big hunk of meat before cooking it, you must cut it perpendicular to the muscle tissue (not parallel).
I like cooking poultry, so I can't wait to see what kinds of tips I come back with tomorrow. If I didn't have to study for an exam every week, this would be the best class ever!
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