It always gives me great satisfaction when my body of work gets noticed. I have in the past been recognized with numerous awards and honors, so this year when my latest accolade was announced, I was extremely proud.
Yes, I was chosen to speak at Ms. Tucci’s third grade class career day at Millard Fillmore Elementary School. It was especially rewarding for me because Millard Fillmore is my sixth favorite president. Donning my monogrammed chef’s jacket, my clogs and chili pepper pants, I arrived at the classroom to a room full of wide-eyed youngsters with dreams of becoming a world-class culinary artist.
I began my presentation by outlining the four basic food groups using the overhead projector. Everybody knows the four food groups, “Fast”, “Instant”, “Frozen” and “Bacon”, but I thought it best to start the class off with a solid foundation. I had barely got through the “Instant” food group when a precocious student named Timothy Strand sitting next to the projector started entertaining his class mates with shadow puppets, using his fingers to create a bunny rabbit, a German shepherd and a carrot. Timothy was a 14-year old devil who was currently in his fifth year of third grade. Nevertheless, I thought it best to continue.
My next part of the presentation was to highlight three careers in the food world that I thought would be of interest.
The first was a Beer Taster. The job is a very rewarding career with a background in beer a big plus. Simply taste and determine a beer’s characteristics. A sweet beer is generally malt based; a more bitter taste usually indicates a strong presence of hops. One must also learn about brewing methods, texture and aroma as well a well-positioned bar stool that gives maximum view of single women in the tavern. Unfortunately, there really is no institution of higher learning for beer tasting, so skills must be self-taught.
The next cool food career is that of the Chocolate Hunter. This label may be a tad misleading but it is an exciting and rewarding career.
The cacao tree is native to tropical regions of Central, South America and Asia. It is where the bean is harvested to make chocolate, so the job entails quite a bit of travel. Being a buyer for a big chocolate house pays well, and although it may involve eating over a pound of chocolate, praline or ganache a day, the reward is the job, forget the calories and potential for obesity.
Expect travel to such exotic locations as the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea and Sierra Leone, all vacation hot spots.
The last career is that of a Culinary Trendologist.
These people research food and flavor by studying food news, blogs, magazines and television cooking shows from around the world. Strange thing is, few often venture out into the real world, such as hot dog stands, five-star restaurants or street vendors. But that doesn’t stop them from telling big companies what we should be eating.
So in conclusion class, a Culinary Trendologist may tell us what beer is the hottest new craze and what kind of weird chocolate we will be tasting next, but there will always be bacon.
Check out the list for some inspirational third-grade recipes.
Class dismissed everybody.
Perhaps Ms. Tucci and myself could give me few lessons in discipline after class. She seemd strict, but fair. we could loosen up over a few beers, some bacon and chocolate.
The legend of beer tasting, my idol and my mentor, Norm Peterson. He taught me everything I know and his technique will be forever immortalized. I owe it all to Norm.
The Ultimate Recipe
1 Lb. Thick-cut Bacon
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup + 2 tbsp Beer
Chocolate Dipping Sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine brown sugar and beer in a small bowl, whisking well to form a thin syrup. Set aside.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire cooling rack on top. Place the pieces of bacon on top of the rack, overlapping if necessary. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and brush one side of the bacon with the beer syrup. Flip, and coat the other side with the syrup as well. Return to oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and repeat process another time or two more, until bacon is crispy and brown. Dip bacon in chocolate sauce, refrigerate and allow to harden.