Friday, October 16, 2009

California (School of Culinary Arts) Dreamin'

Sometimes I wish I lived in the middle of a prairie and could legitimately blog about sunrises and cattle roundups and turtle ponds on my property.

No dice. I live in a big, stinky, spread-out city. But there's a lot to love about being a city gal, and this is one of them:

Culinary stores!

There are at least four major, upscale purveyors of culinary tools within a 20-minute radius from my house. (In L.A. we measure distances by how long it takes to drive there.) And I'm not talking ordinary ladles and pie tins. I'm talking aisles and aisles of cool stuff like tagines and wedding-cake tiers and mandolines and...well, you get the picture.

So last Monday, I found jumbo-sized, stainless-steel pastry tubes at one of these food-worshipping emporiums. I mean, look at what these babies can do:

These puppies are HUGE:

Oh! It's hard to tell from that photo.

Okay, Scale Check: here's my hand, and here's this beastie. It looks like it's gonna bite me! I can hardly wait to try it out and see what kind of mega-swirls I can pack on the top of my humble cupcakes:

The cool thing about the store where I found these decorating tips is: It's in the lobby of the California School of Culinary Arts, one of my city's top-drawer cooking schools. And this is their completely adorable business card:

This is the back of the card, below. Recognize the name? It's a satellite of Le Cordon Bleu School in Paris. As in, THE Le Cordon Bleu. The one where Julia Child trained. The one featured in the movie "Julie and Julia."

The card is a little triptych. Here is the inside, unfolded:

The other totally cool thing is that, after poking around in the little store at CSCA, I was granted a tour of the place. I saw classrooms and a cookbook library and huge kitchens filled with student chefs, like these folks. (Sorry I can't give you proper photo credit, Anonymous CSCA Brochure Photographer Dude/Dudette!):

A lot of their students come to Le Cordon Bleu straight out of high school, and after two years they have an A.A. in restaurant management or overall culinary arts or patisserie/baking. But the school welcomes college grads and older students, too. Currently they have a student who is 70 years old!

And I wonder: In less than two years, my last child is off to college. Could I then be one of those white-garbed students?

We'll see. My future is as wide open as a Midwestern prairie at dawn.

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