So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

the next ironic chef

i haven't been posting often on here, as i haven't had many new adventures as of late.  my dating life isn't very exciting, and aside from bidding adieu to a certain person who i'm sure you're all sick of hearing about, my social life is equally uneventful.  work is enjoyable but keeps me busy and running all over the place.  the Jetta is my third home now.  the second is this filthy little dive bar where my girl Faye and i can sit for hours, drinking pitchers of cheap beer and listening to random tunes on the jukebox.  

today i'm writing because i actually have a new adventure to tell you about.

tomorrow i'm teaching a cooking class.

i know, right?  how ridic.  aside from a few adventures like this one and this one in my Philadelphia kitchen while on "sabbatical" in the past, i don't cook.  all my friends know that i don't cook.  that's why i gravitate toward people who do -- so that they can cook for me.  i know my way around a bar and can create magic with a cocktail shaker, but kitchen appliances are foreign territory to me.  so why am i now sitting at my kitchen island, surrounded by bags and bags of produce, psyching myself up to learn some cooking techniques to share with strangers in the morning?

if this story were to impart a moral, it would likely be this: beware your own over-confidence.  when my boss came to me to complain that the two chefs who teach weekly cooking classes for my company are both unavailable for an upcoming event, i shouldn't have said a word.  instead, my arrogance spoke up: "It can't be that hard.  You should teach it."  

"I can't teach the class," he responded.  "Could you teach a class about growing and cooking tomatoes?" he asked incredulously.

"I could teach anything if I had the information."

and with that, i unwittingly volunteered to teach a class about growing a food that i have never grown, making sauce that i have never made, and creating culinary masterpieces that i have no desire to create, using techniques that are foreign to me.  all of which is happening tomorrow morning.

sure, i tried to find someone else to teach the class.  i asked everyone i knew who has ever eaten a tomato if they'd like to teach the class. i tried to get out of it without appearing insecure or as though i'm not a team player.  my efforts failed, so ultimately i embraced the upcoming adventure.  i view it as a role and myself as an actor.  i will be lie-telling all morning about my gardening experience (i have a phone date with my mom scheduled for this evening so that she can tell me all about gardening and growing tomatoes), and i will -- as they say -- fake it 'til i make it. 

i have just returned from a trip to Whole Foods, where i spent $50 on tomatoes and walked around like a lost puppy, looking for chives and leeks.  in fact, i was just about to ask a hipster employee, "What does a leek look like?" when i remembered the blue yarn leek soup scene in Bridget Jones' Diary and thankfully recalled the look of her raw leeks before i had to embarrass myself with that alliteration.

the oven is pre-heating for some serious veggie roasting that's about to go down, and i'm mentally embracing my upcoming starring role as Chef Matthew.  at this point, i'm even a bit excited for the challenge.

as i see it, i have a few things that will work in my favor tomorrow:

1. my aforementioned over-confidence and arrogance.  

2. teaching isn't difficult.  some of the dumbest people i knew in high school and college are now teachers. i've been on dates with teachers who can barely speak or type English.  no offense to any of you dummies who teach dumb children, but it doesn't take a genius to process information and regurgitate it to other, less informed people.

3. the class attendees are mostly middle-aged women, and for whatever reason, middle-aged women tend to find me very charming.  once a woman hits her 50's, i'm suddenly her type.  just a few weeks ago, i had a 70-year old woman basically hit on me, saying, "I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I love you in those glasses.  My husband wore horn rimmed glasses, and it still gives me a little tingle to see a man in them."  true story.  i felt uncomfortable thinking about her tingle.  i often wish that 30-year old men would react to me the way that old women do.

4. my experience with ambiguity.  i've been in this position before.  as a teenage camp counselor, i was expected to teach children to drive canoes on top of water.  i had never been in a canoe, and i don't particularly like water.  i'm an awful swimmer, and stagnant lake water makes my skin crawl and itch.  even the ocean seems filthy, and i don't like to be in it.  anyway, i taught canoeing for several summers, and i still maintain that no child died due to any fault or negligence of mine.  

5. i now have a working oven.  this final point may seem random, but as of late my oven has not been functional.  you see, late one night in the near past, someone came home from a bar where someone had too many wodka drinks and tried to re-heat some very cheesy pizza in my oven.  here's the abridged version of the story: cheese all over oven floor, oven not cleaned, roommate of said person tried to use oven a few days afterward, actual fire started in oven, fire extinguisher grabbed but instructions were so complicated it was not used, flames and smoke, yada yada yada, oven had to be cleaned well by me this morning to prepare for roasting i'll be doing this evening.  roommate is still displeased with me for what i did to the oven. 

so here goes.  i just made myself a cocktail, and i'm pulling out my borrowed mandoline and other mysterious kitchen tools to begin prepping for tomorrow's class.  

i have a fun night of roasting ahead of me.  wish me luck! 

i'll let you know how well the class goes.  i have no doubt that it will be a great success because, well, see bullet point no. 1, above.


Heather B. said...

ahhh - i didn't realize you are working at ws! awesome place (and I'm sure you did really well on the cooking classes)

tobethatguy said...

The class went great, y'all. It was a lot of fun, and the attendees loved the roasted tomato soup.

I'm teaching another next week.

HB, it really is a great store.

Heather B. said...

summer fruits, right? I just taught the canning class on the 22nd. Love the store - that will be a job that will have to be pried away from my cold, lifeless body. (had to expand the kitchen to the basement because of it). btw, you must get yourself to the outlet in leesburg, va.