Update 8: New Year's Goal: Become an "official" Gourmess by August 2010

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.
--Julia Child

So, the day to COOK finally came. Little did I know it was the day to CUT, TOURNAGE, TAILLAGE, PEEL, over and over again. I used an entire bag of carrots for one dish --and most of the carrot ended up in the "garbage bowl" for stock. I tried all of the different types of taillage or methods of cutting, and got stuck on tournage, which is a fancy way of cutting vegetables into a barrel/faceted shape. That took about 2 hours. After I got it close enough for cooking (will have to practice) I then moved on to the first demonstration: Bouquetière Garniture. It is basically carrots, parsnips, potatoes, pearl onions, green beans and peas, all cooked individually, in different ways, and then put together on the platter, with the artichoke bottoms hollowed out like bowls. That was at 3:30 p.m. EST. I didn't finish until 8:54 p.m. EST. But I did it!

I think I bought the wrong kind of artichokes, because they were tiny compared to the photo in the book. I had to keep rubbing with lemon so they wouldn't discolor (they started to) and, I stabbed myself alot with the chokes a few times. I was annoyed that after spending $4 a piece on them, I had a usable piece the size of a small hamburger. Once I got the "bowls" hollowed out (a grapefruit spoon did well to remove the prickly chokes) I had to keep them in ice water with lemon juice until I was ready for the next step.

In the meantime, I practiced various methods of cooking, such as dans un blanc (for the artichokes --boiled in mixture of lemon juice, oil and flour to keep from taking on color), à l'anglaise (add to salted, boiling water and then drain and shock in ice water), glacer à blanc (glaze with butter and cover/simmer on stovetop), rissolé (boil, brown and roast potatoes) and used about 13 different pots.

But, it looked good, tasted even better (And, my sweet, PATIENT, Chris agreed. He thought it would go nicely with a roast chicken -- next time!), and tomorrow, I attempt Ratatouille...stay tuned!