External Event: Assisting at Pies and Tarts Recreational Class

We’re required to participate in three external events each term; we can participate in more if we want. At the beginning of the term we were told it’s a good idea to sign up for things right away because if we wait until December, we’ll be competing with everyone else who waited until the last minute.

One possibility is assisting in a recreational class at the school. There was a class on pies and tarts on a Saturday, and I’ve made plenty of pies and tarts on my own, plus we’ve done the pies and tarts in class, so I figured I’d be competent to assist. On the other hand, I had no experience assisting in a class, and I figured it was reasonable to make that the major learning focus this time.


Recreational class: Pies and Tarts

Recreational class: Pies and Tarts


Assisting meant we got there an hour early and got the places set up for the students. Eliana Hussein, the instructor, had us make up the dough for all the pie and tart recipes so the students could get their pies together and into the oven. But they also were supposed to learn to make dough, so we got the ingredients measured for them so they could practice making dough while their pies were in the oven. That might seem backwards, but pie dough needs to chill before it’s rolled out; the dough we made was chilled and ready to go. Once the dough is rolled out, it has to be chilled again before the pie is assembled and baked. If they had made their own dough at the beginning, the class would’ve been an hour longer.

Once the students started working on their pies, our job was to get them anything they needed and answer any questions they had. I tend to feel competent with pies and tarts, so I was pretty sure I could answer questions, and in fact, the students did ask me questions and I could answer them. My experience with editing is that people don’t seem to think that education, training, and years of experience count for anything. What I find in the culinary world is radically different: If you’re wearing a chef’s coat, people assume you’re an expert. It was a bit of a thrill to be seen as someone who knows what she’s doing.

About linguina

For most of my life I've loved to read and to make stuff. My mother says I taught myself to read when I was 4, and I never looked back. I also liked fooling around in the kitchen, but my mother wasn't really into cooking, so I learned a lot of that on my own, too. My sister and I had the Betty Crocker New Boys and Girls Cookbook (1965), and naturally I had to make the Enchanted Castle Cake. I learned how to bake bread when I was 14, and I bought a copy of the Joy of Cooking when I was 17. My aunt and uncle gave me Mastering the Art of French Cooking for my 19th birthday, and the first thing I made was soufflé. I've always been more of a baker than a cook, though. When our niece used to visit us during her breaks from college, she'd get me to show her some cooking things (including soufflé, of course!), but I kept having to tell her, "This is just how I do it. I have no idea if it's the right way." Finally, I took a basic cooking class, and that changed my life. After that class, I signed up for a 4-day baking class at King Arthur Flour. That's when I knew I was really a baker. Now I'm taking the professional pastry program at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. With this training, I'll become a pastry chef.
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