Sunday, May 11, 2008


Immersing yourself for months in a new activity eventually changes the way you think about a lot of things. The other day, I was talking to a friend at school after we had been trimming up and frenching the bones on a rack of pork chops. While washing my hands, I was still thinking about butchering and preparing meats for cooking, and for no particular reason I thought of and said, "Man, can you imagine having to bone out a hand? That would be really hard." "Oh my gosh, that would be an awful job."

About a minute later, it struck me how strange it was for two people to share that thought just as a simple observation, an objective statement of fact. It's the kind of thing that anyone might think of and say, but before having gone to chef school for awhile, I would certainly have said it as a wisecrack or joke, or maybe a far-fetched exaggeration or satire. But now, it is only an observation about the relative difficulty of preparing and presenting different ingredients. It really would be quite a chore to bone out a human hand and keep it in any kind of shape for cooking and presentation on a plate. Probably a lot harder than, say, a quail, which I've also never yet prepared. You'd have to practice it a lot to become any good at it. If you drew that as your assignment for an exam, you'd be screwed.

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