Addendum to “One Year Ago Today”

Of course I forgot to mention a few things that I like or are different from Boston. Here they are:

There is a column in the Sunday paper written by the “Beer Baron.” He reviews new beers and breweries. It’s pretty handy!

The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s “Concerts on the Square” were fantastic. 30,000 people hanging out, drinking wine and listening to music on 6 consecutive beautiful summer nights! Doesn’t get any better than that!

The Sunday paper can be read in one setting. Kind of disappointing. I do miss the Boston Globe.

A big shout-out to new friends who made us feel instantly welcome (Andrew & Mary) and old friends who took us right back to 25 years ago (Mark & Svetha)! We couldn’t have made it through this year without you!

Still need to check out the Mississippi River, Door County on Lake Michigan, “up north,” the Apostle Islands, Minocqua, the “Driftless area,” Minneapolis…maybe even Iowa!

 

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One year ago today

On August 30 one year ago today we officially began our Wisconsin life. The movers came, we registered the girls for school and we wondered what was next. It has been a year full of firsts, new experiences, emotions, excitement, frustration, friendly faces, memories and change. I think we all learned a lot. We learned that we can get through a major upheaval and still remain intact. Being thrown in this together made us stronger and perhaps more dependent on each other. The girls didn’t know what to expect and that unknowing was hard but they will be the first to tell you that they like it here. They love the emphasis on the arts in school and they have made good friends. They have discovered volleyball and we even put a net up in our yard that we have had for years but never used (thank you to my sister Marianne, I think!). Mark’s job has been fantastic (yay QTI for your wonderful recruiting!). The board and supporters of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra are energized and have been vocal about how happy they are that we, the whole family, are here (I appreciate them telling me this too). Mark has already lined up some new concerts for the orchestra and the musicians really like him which means a lot. I very easily fell into some Kindermusik teaching (thank you Musical Pathways!). It was such a natural fit for me and the organization that it felt absolutely providential. Also providential was meeting some wonderful people while working at Epic who have become good friends (yes you, Kurt, Ann, Jenny & Noli). It can be hard to meet people when you’re not in a regular work environment so I consider myself lucky to have crossed paths with these folks. I am not sure what I will end up doing in the long term. Part of me wants to try something completely new but I don’t know what yet! There is time to figure that out in this still new place.

Wisconsin is much more beautiful than we knew. The rolling hills and long views over farmland are exquisite. We noticed that there are controlled burns of the prairie in spring to promote the natural vegetation. Many of the plants are familiar to us – black-eyed susan, coneflower and lilacs – but the tall grasses are more striking and the deep green of the landscape (well not in winter) is more intense. Or maybe it’s just that it’s a different green. In Massachusetts the green is from the many trees whereas here it’s from the grass and corn. I do miss the masses of forsythia that grew along the roadside in Littleton though and Rose’s super-blooming rose bush.

Wisconsin foods have their own niche. When you are in the supermarket there is no doubt you are in the dairy state. Seriously, the cheese case (not counting artisan cheeses, just the regular cheese sticks, shredded cheese and rectangles of cheddar) is about twice as big as in other places. No calcium deficiency here. Fried cheese curds have become our favorite appetizer when we eat out. Frozen custard seems more plentiful than ice cream. It is yummy but I do miss Kimballs. We have yet to eat at a supper club or go to a Friday fish fry, two Wisconsin traditions. Not being a fish eater myself, I could skip the latter. I’m not quite clear on what a supper club is other than some kind of restaurant but I am game to find out. The local food movement is huge here. It is the norm not the exception for upscale (and not so upscale) restaurants to list the nearby farms from which they get their meat, eggs, cheese and produce. It is fresh and delicious and a wonderful reminder to avoid big chain eateries. There are also many more good quality beers available here. People rarely buy beer by the case, so the liquor store owner told me, because they want to choose a 6-pack from several different breweries to sample. We haven’t even been to all the brewpubs in Madison or any of the handful of local distilleries. 

It is true that life runs at a slightly slower pace here. I often am the first car to take the initiative and proceed through a four-way stop or to rush through a yellow light. This summer there was a lot of construction in and around Madison that snarled traffic but usually “rush hour” is a mildly inconvenient half hour. People seem more respectful of weekends as well. If someone calls with a work related matter on Saturday or Sunday they begin by apologizing for bothering you on the weekend. That just didn’t happen in Boston.

I know Bostonians have a reputation for their accent (which we did not acquire, much to everyone’s surprise here) but Wisconsin has its own peculiar pronunciations. The girls came home in stitches on the first day of school last year when their teachers mentioned putting something in a bag (pronounced with a long “a”). It reminds me of the flat “a” of Central New York. Of course some people have the accent more than others and we chuckle when we hear that somewhat nasal midwestern twang. Think “Prairie Home Companion” and you’ll know what I mean.

Sports are out of control here but it’s all about the UW not professional. Well, OK the Packers are huge but for all other sports it’s the Badgers. We are not huge sports people but we do love the fun of a good game. We had the privilege of seeing a few men’s basketball and hockey games from a suite, a women’s hockey game (no alcohol allowed for the peons in regular seats) and women’s soccer. There is a school song they sing that we can’t quite make out the words to, but the opening melody always reminds us of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” We crack up every time. Mark and I are headed to a football game this September which should be quite a spectacle. Envision a sea of fans dressed in red, many of whom have started drinking at 8 a.m. Depending on where you are sitting I’ve heard that it’s not an experience to which you want to take young children. We don’t need to worry as the tickets that were given to us are in a section that is probably too pricey for the students. Nothing against them; they help make the game lively!

Finally, biking is the thing here. Mark and I have gone on a few group rides (thank you Gordon!) near Verona that were a wonderful introduction to the many scenic routes nearby. Again, the views are stunning and the hills provide a challenge. One regular route we do takes us on rolling hills and then a fast, flat 3 miles on a path for a little break. As a family we have been on a local bike path that meanders through prairie and can take us all the way into Madison. There are so many paths to explore in and outside the city, we will never tire of them. I am all set to check them out with the new road bike I got in July!

We were back East this summer reconnecting with family and friends. It was wonderful to spend time with people we love who know us inside and out. There is nothing like it in the world. We are thankful for them (too numerous to name!) and with a year’s perspective can see that we haven’t lost a thing. 

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Trying new things

Even when you are new to an area you get stuck driving the same roads and going to the same places. Luckily we have friends and colleagues who invite us to events that are new to us and get us past the familiar. This weekend all four of us participated in a bike riding fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. (If you haven’t donated yet there’s still time! http://www.bike4bgc.com/riders/view/?id=851) There were 8, 25 and 50 mile options but we picked the 8 miler so the girls could do good while enjoying an easy ride instead of slogging up hills on a hot July day. The event started at the Edgewood College and High School campus. I had no idea the campus was so extensive or so pretty. (On a side note, I have never come across a Catholic school with a secular name. I’ll have to check the history on that.) After meandering through a wooded area we came out on a bike path that skirted Lake Wingra, the smallest of Madison’s three lakes. I had never been to this lake or the Hienry Vilas Zoo that we soon passed. The zoo was started by the Vilas family over one hundred years ago with the stipulation that it remain free to the public forever. Can’t beat that for cheap entertainment! We’ll have to put it on our list of things yet to do in Madison. The path brought us out along Lake Monona, a familiar spot since that is the way we typically come into Madison from Verona. The view of the city there is always stunning.

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We circled back to Edgewood along Monona Bay with pretty houses across the street from the water. When we finished the ride a party for participants was already in full swing. This being Wisconsin, of course they were serving local craft beer!

A colleague of Mark’s has invited us on several longer bike rides with a group he regularly rides with. As I have mentioned before, Wisconsin is not flat! We haven’t encountered any giant hills but many steep ones that keep on rolling. Because it’s all farmland there are beautiful views. This time of year it’s green as far as the eye can see with lots of barns and cows.

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Last week we stopped for a break in a town called New Glarus that was settled by Swiss immigrants in the mid 1800s. Much of the Swiss culture is evident and we refueled with some delicious pastries! The host the Alphornman (really!) Triathlon there every summer. We’l  be away this year but I’ll have to train for it next year. I missed the Appleman Triathlon in Littleton this year, the first year since its inception that I haven’t competed.

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We took an easier route on the way back and for one five mile stretch didn’t need to change gears at all. That never happened in the suburbs west of Boston.

My new adventure this summer has been sailing. Olivia wanted to take a sailing class and talked Rose into it too. As I was registering them I thought, “Why should they have all the fun?” so I signed myself up. As a member of the UW Hoofers Sailing Club on Lake Mendota I can take unlimited sailing and windsurfing classes. All my instructors and most of my fellow classmates are UW students but I’m determined not to feel old! The club is located at the Memorial Union Terrace, a popular hangout for students and community members alike. It’s a fabulous place to relax and grab a beer (it’s Wisconsin, remember?) after being out on the water.

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My first windsurfing class was cut short due to an approaching thunderstorm and the second was cancelled because of high winds. I’m not making much progress in that area but I did get my light rating on the smallest boat, the Tech. That means I can sign one out and tool around on Lake Mendota practicing my skills! I’m still not too confident about sailing. I’m a good swimmer and the UW lifesaving station always has its eye on the boats on the lake so I’m not concerned about bodily harm but I am a bit anxious about doing something unfamiliar and not feeling completely in control. But it’s good for me to push the limits of comfort right? Besides, Olivia has no fear and is quite competent. Maybe I’ll take her with me on my first voyage.

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I Guess We Really Are in Tornado Alley!

When we went to bed last night there was quite a thunderstorm raging. We have noticed that storms here tend to be more intense and last longer than back East. The lightning seems brighter too, or maybe it’s just that you can see more of the sky and therefore more lightning. It’s pretty amazing to see very dramatic bolts flashing on the horizon from the sky all the way down to the earth. 

It had been a warm humid day and Olivia and my sister Marianne and I went kayaking on Lake Monona, at times paddling against significant wind gusts. At home after dinner we played a fierce game of Monopoly (I won) while Mark finished up some work before a short trip he has this week. It started to rain and the breeze accompanying the storm was refreshing coming through our windows. We all went to bed not at all concerned. Just before midnight we heard sirens, prompting Mark and I to get up. We determined that they were fire trucks since the sound waned shortly, so we went back to bed. Fifteen minutes later we heard them again and this time it was definitely the tornado siren. We got everyone out of bed and down to the basement. When we grabbed our phones we noticed an emergency alert “Tornado Warning” for our area. A quick check of the news showed that conditions were ripe for a tornado forming in our area, just south of Madison. That soon changed to include Madison as well and we got a text from Rose at the UW Summer Music Camp saying she was in the basement of the dorm. I’m sure she and the other middle schoolers were quite scared although I guess seasoned Wisconsinites are used to this. I think we were more anxious than scared, wondering what would happen next. We soon lost power but were still able to get news reports on our phones. Mark popped upstairs a few times to see how it looked outside, figuring he would have time to run back down if necessary. (He must get that storm gene from his father who used to use a long metal-handled pole to clean the leaves from the pool during thunderstorms in Arizona!) About 30 minutes after the sirens started we got word that everything had passed. We ambled back to bed and checked on Rose who said she was “shaken” but fine. We settled into sleep and the power came back on a few hours later,  causing no hardship at all.

This morning when we got up there was another text on the phone saying a tornado had damaged one of the elementary schools in Verona and about a dozen houses. That neighborhood is a few blocks away from us! It was very localized, carving a very narrow path of destruction. There were no serious injuries and considering the intensity (it was labeled an EF3 meaning winds were 135 – 165 mph) that is pretty amazing. It turns out that two twisters collided and touched down. We got on our bikes to check out the scene and it was something else. We saw a trampoline upside down on the curb, patio furniture in pieces and siding torn off of houses. Right next door to the damage though there were back yards without a chair even overturned. Very strange. Here is the school:

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and a house that collapsed:

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We only had small twigs scattered around the yard, but everything else was in place. We took the warning seriously and after seeing firsthand what a tornado can do we will certainly do the same in the future!

 

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Substituting is like a box of chocolates…

I did quite a bit of substitute teaching in the public schools in Massachusetts and started up in Wisconsin a few months ago. It was a bit of a process to get on the sub rolls here. In MA you only need a college degree; in WI you need to get a substitute teacher permit. If you are not a certified teacher, the school district in which you would like to sub has to OK your permit. In Verona the qualifications they are looking for are either Spanish/English bilingual speakers (not me) or experience in special education (again not me). If you are the parent of a student in the district, however, they will also consider you (me). I had to fill out lots of paperwork for the Department of Public Instruction, get fingerprinted, send in my college transcripts (really? they’re so old I can’t imagine they mean anything at this point) and be interviewed. They are actually short on substitutes so once I met with the sub coordinator and she called my references I was in. They use an automated sub service which allows you to easily indicate which days you are available and also to be contacted by text or email when an opening comes up. This mostly eliminates the dreaded 5:00 am phone call saying they need you that day.

I have mostly worked at the high school. I think many people avoid high school because it scares them but as a sub, it is the easiest level in many ways. The students are mostly self-directed, working on assignments or projects at their seats. I haven’t had to actually teach a chemistry lesson yet, thank goodness! It can be a bit boring so I always bring my laptop to take care of some work of my own and something to read. At the elementary level you are “on” all the time. You rely on students to tell you how things are usually done, which may or may not be helpful depending on what grade you’re in. (It’s amazing to me that first grade students at this point in the year disagree on what items we need to attend to during morning meeting!)

It’s fairly common in high school for a sub to show a movie that relates to the class subject – although sometimes somewhat peripherally. So far I have seen “Batman Begins” (completing literary analyses for film and how it differs from that for books), an ESPN documentary on major league athletes who gained and lost millions of dollars (for a finance class), an episode of The Incredible Dr. Pol (veterinary science) and Dirty Jobs (Tech Ed). They were all entertaining and I can honestly say I wouldn’t have watched them otherwise.

Last week in veterinary science the students were allowed to get the baby bunnies from their cages and snuggle up with them during the movie. It’s pretty endearing to see a 6 foot tall boy with an 8 ounce baby bunny on his shoulder. The bunnies were adorable, the rats not so much so.

The day I was in the ceramics classroom was fun. I wished I could have joined them at the pottery wheel!  Playing games with kindergarteners to teach them the alphabet was cute but spending a day with seventh graders was a challenge. I got lucky with middle school Family and Consumer Education (we knew it as Home Ec). One class was working on a sewing project and boys and girls alike loved using the machines. The next class was learning about nutrition and the one after that had an early childhood project – all subjects of which I am fairly knowledgeable. I promised my girls that I would not sub in any of their classes except for band, which hasn’t come up yet, and I dutifully avoid eye contact if I’m in their school, so they haven’t been too embarrassed yet. It is a bigger district than Littleton so there are plenty of jobs I can accept without seeing them.

A day where you feel like you’ve made a difference is the best. I’m not sure I’m all that effective in front of the classroom but I do enjoy walking around and working with students individually. Recently when the district was desperate I reluctantly filled in for a Special Education teacher. I was reluctant because I don’t have any training in this area and not much experience. My job was to pull students out of the classroom to work with them on assignments. It was difficult to motivate some of them and just getting started is hard for others. Behavioral issues were a concern too but being a mom does put you at an advantage! It gives you a wide repertoire of approaches. I wasn’t sure I was accomplishing much until late in the day when I worked with a student on writing two poems that had been assigned weeks ago. He had lots of unfinished work but these seemed doable and had clear instructions. We picked a topic he was interested in (his phone) and I coached him through it. He completed the poems and I accompanied him to hand them in (he’s not allowed to be in the hall by himself). The English teacher seemed quite pleased which in turn gave him a sense of accomplishment. (Did I see a slight smile?) When I saw the teacher later she said that was the most work he had done in weeks. Yay!

Today I mostly watched while the student teacher tried to teach dangling modifiers to 10th grade English students. !@?!# OK, before today I couldn’t have given a good explanation of them but to paraphrase that Supreme Court definition of porn, I know one when I see one. The student teacher was struggling and the kids were struggling but I’m just the sub and I didn’t want to undermine her authority so how much should I chime in? I ended up giving a few suggestions, we had them work on some examples and then class was over. Wednesday, on to Health class…

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Everything is new, sigh.

So it’s not actually all fun and good times here. It was a big move and there have been adjustments for all of us. We miss many things about Massachusetts, but mostly the people. It gets tiring going to events where you don’t know anyone or the people you do know are not much more than acquaintances. We have been lucky and made several good friends here but that’s not the same as being surrounded by people who have known you for years and have been with you through lots of stuff. Sometimes I just want to be in a room full of people who really know me. Here then is a list of things I miss. 1. Daily interactions with good friends. OK maybe I didn’t see my friends every day, but frequently enough to give me a boost. 2. A community of people who are ready and willing to step in and give your children a ride somewhere if you have to work or who you can invite over to dinner at a moment’s notice. I’m sure this will come with time, but I sure do miss it now. 3. The woods behind our MA house. We are in a much more suburban neighborhood now, and while it’s pretty, it’s not the same as our 1 acre with wetlands behind. 4. Recognizing people at the grocery store! There is a family run grocery store in the center of town, much like Donelans in Littleton but I don’t often see people I know there. Neighbors describe Verona the way people describe Littleton, though, as a small town where everyone knows everyone so hopefully it is just a matter of time. 5. My garden. In the fall I missed fresh herbs and the end of the roses blooming. Now I’ll have to wait and see what comes up. I think there are a few spring bulbs poking through and some dormant perennials are greening up. There are also 3 lilac bushes in the side yard that I can’t wait to see in bloom. There isn’t much else though besides shrubbery. I guess that means there is lots of potential. New things to experience, new ways to do things and being courageous enough to try them. Clearly it’s time to get to work and plan the garden, nourish some friendships and step into the community like I belong here.

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Music in the House!

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Last Sunday we hosted a concert and party at our house. When we first looked at the house in July one of the things we loved about it was that it would be great for entertaining. It has an open floor plan and a second floor living room that overlooks the first floor living room. We immediately thought of having concerts in that space, with the piano on the ground floor and people gathered around it as well as folk upstairs looking down on the proceedings. The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra started organizing house concerts this winter as a way of giving people an up close musical experience and to introduce new people to the organization. Mark and I jumped at the opportunity to open up our home in this way.

While we do have a fair amount of space we decided to serve hors d’oeuvres instead of doing a sit-down dinner. Good thing, since the guest list quickly grew to 35 people. Olivia and Rose were lifesavers with the food preparation. When you’re making 6 separate dishes for that number of people, even easy appetizers take time! Unfortunately Olivia had a rehearsal during the party but Rose was a standout maneuvering through the crowd with trays of food. Several friends contributed food and serving pieces as well. (Maybe I was a bit ambitious in getting rid of things when we moved :)) Since this is Wisconsin it’s practically required to have a cheese plate, so we piled it up with Wisconsin aged  cheddar, cranberry goat cheese and Balsamic BellaVitano plus locally made crackers. I think it was the most popular thing on the table. Once everyone had a glass of wine or beer we settled down for the concert.

Two young members of the violin section played for us. Even though I’ve played in orchestras for years, I still find it thrilling to hear soloists up close. Tim and Eleanor are top notch musicians and played joyfully throughout their duets. They were funny in their descriptions of the pieces and thoroughly charmed everyone. Following them was a gentleman who is a big supporter of the orchestra and an amateur singer. He is a native Chinese speaker but delivered several Schubert songs in German after filling us in on the meaning of the songs. The grand finale was Mark and Music Director Andrew Sewell hamming it up on a few piano four hands duets. They are two peas in a pod and had us all in stitches watching them.

There was plenty of time to mingle after the music and we had a great time talking to board members and friends as well as their guests who we didn’t yet know. It was a wonderful event and it seemed that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Even better, several people proclaimed that they would like to host a similar party in the future!

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The Frostiball!

Last weekend we attended the annual Frostiball put on by Downtown Madison Inc. We didn’t know much about it but had heard that it is THE social event of the year in Madison. Pictures online of last year’s event showed it to be a very dressy affair with many glittery gowns and tuxedos. Mark’s well-worn tux is only fit to be seen in a dark orchestra pit so he opted for a nice suit and bow tie. I have a black sequin-y cocktail dress that for some reason I had never worn and decided that this was the occasion.

We met our friends Andrew and Mary for drinks at the Madison Club first and then took the complimentary shuttle over to the Overture Center, eliminating the choice of walking on the snowy sidewalks in high heels or committing the fashion faux pas of wearing clunky boots with my nice dress. The Overture Center is a ten year old performance space with several theaters inside. The lobby is 3 stories high with windows overlooking the capitol, so it provides a dramatic background.

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There was a band playing and lots of yummy appetizers and drinks. There was even a woman wearing a dessert table!

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We had a great time dancing, meeting folks and people watching. The thing about living in a small city is that there aren’t lots of events like this, so everyone comes out on a cold evening to celebrate. It was amazing how many people we had some connection to and we’ve only been here 5 months. We will definitely be back next year.

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Eagle Viewing

I recently read that bald eagles spend part of the winter on the Wisconsin River, specifically in the area near Sauk City which is about 30 miles northwest of Madison. The river, a tributary of the Mississippi and the longest in Wisconsin, is appealing to the eagles because so many of the lakes and smaller rivers freeze over in the winter. Here they can fish during the day and roost in the bluffs at night.

We set out last Sunday to a few recommended spots in hopes of seeing the national bird. We had already missed Sauk City’s Eagle Days festivities but were still hopeful. For some reason they are more prevalent earlier in January and on some days several hundred can be seen but they stick around until early February. We read about the eagles’ feeding and flight patterns at our first stop along the river but didn’t see any. Next we went to the dam, where there was a sign reminding us to stay in our car so as not to frighten the birds. If they are scared away they won’t get their needed nutrients from fishing. We immediately saw some eagles soaring over the river and then looked up and saw many of them in the trees above us! They seemed to almost take turns hanging out in the trees and leaving their perch to try to grab a fish from the water. Apparently they only succeed 3 out of 10 times. There is no sharing though. When one bird caught a fish it quickly flew away with several other eagles in pursuit, sometimes being attacked in mid-air. It was quite a sight watching them spread their enormous wings above us and flying out over the water. We counted 15 eagles in this tree:

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The photo doesn’t do it justice but they were close enough to see the markings on the underside of their wings when they flew and to get a sense of how big they really are. Now that we know where to find them, we’ll be back!

 

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1 1/2 gallons of vinaigrette

I have started a temp job in the culinary department of Epic Systems, a large medical software company located in Verona. They have a really interesting campus with themed buildings such as outer space, dungeons and dragons, and the wild west and are often mentioned in the same category as Google and Facebook for cool office environments. Check out this link for some photos; http://www.glassdoor.com/Photos/Epic-Systems-Corporation-Office-Photos-E35163.htm 

I am working in Casseopeia dining hall but that term doesn’t really do it justice. There are some top chefs here and the plated lunch entrees look and taste as good as what you would get in a high end restaurant. Recent choices include lamb with potato galette and pea puree and shrimp with citrus-marinated fennel and red pepper gelee. Less lofty offerings this week were apple, caramelized onion and arugula flatbread, cauliflower gratin and beef brisket with mojo sauce. There are also 3 soups daily, fresh homemade bread and a salad bar, which is where I come in. Four of us work to keep the salad bar stocked for the thousand or so employees who stop in for lunch each day. We fill all the containers in the morning and spend the lunch hour going back and forth from the dining hall to the kitchen refilling everything. After lunch it all gets put away for the next day. You’re on your feet all day and it’s exhausting but what could be rather mundane is made fun by the people I’m working with. All four of us are temporary workers, or on-call. (There are several people out on maternity leave which accounts for some of the need.) There is a mom with 2 teenage girls in Verona High School, a recently retired high school English teacher and a young man on leave from Harvard. The cooks we work with have equally varied backgrounds and we have a good time talking and joking as we go about our tasks. 

We do quite a bit of chopping veggies and washing lettuce and I have so far avoided slicing my fingers in the mandoline! That’s one of these

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not one of these

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although I would like to learn to play the latter. I am trying to improve my knife skills by watching the experts but I can’t imagine ever being as fast as they are. One chef told me you’re bound to spill some blood in the learning process. 

The chefs come up with 4 compound salads every day. A compound salad is one in which you can’t separate the ingredients, such as macaroni or chicken salad. They are pretty creative in using whatever ingredients are on hand and need to be used up and the results are always tasty. When they need help or when we have some down time they are eager for us to venture out of our usual routine. I was asked if I had ever made vinaigrette before. I replied that I had at home (thank you Jacqueline for teaching me how several years ago) and then was shown the lemons, oil and fresh herbs and was left to my own devices. I only needed to make a gallon and a half instead of the five gallons they usually make so I didn’t get to use the giant immersion blender but it was still way more than I have ever made at once! The chef declared it good (“perhaps a bit more salt”) and into the decanter it went.

I had been eyeing the man who makes quiche each afternoon to be served at breakfast the next day. Imagine the many pounds of butter and flour going into ten rounds of dough! As he was rolling the dough out one day I commented on the large bits of butter visible in the dough and he proceeded to give me a few tips on how to make it flaky (use shortening and butter and a mixer instead of a food processor). He then invited me to watch him make the dough the next day which I happily accepted. Just seeing the enormous version of a KitchenAid in action is pretty cool. Word got around and the woman who bakes all the pies found me and said I’m welcome to watch her at some point too. I have two weeks left in this position and who knows what else I’ll get to do?

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