Saturday, August 21, 2010

Top d'Evegnee

The Mission: To make 250 bite-sized servings of French Cuisine to be sampled by the youth from our Stake.

I was given the assignment by my friend, Shannon, who is in the Stake Young Women's Presidency. I was thrilled to accept the challenge, but not without my sous-chef, Eric, by my side. (This blog will self-destruct in two minutes. . . or at least the writer will at this rate.)

Eric and I had a little tête-a-tête and settled on whipping up a little vichyssoise and some crepes. I delusionally patted my own back for exercising restraint, but after all of the chopping, cooking, and flipping (out) that went on during the whole process, I can see now that I "over do it" even when the little voice in my head assures me in such a convincing, yet harried, way that I'm not overdoing it. Why didn't we just do one dish instead of two? Looking back, I realized that I honestly had a part of my brain that was hoping the judges would be extra impressed by my execution of two dishes instead of one.

Wait. There WERE no judges! This is reality, Sarah. Not a cooking show, honey! (Too much Top Chef. Too much Iron Chef. Too much Chopped. You caught me!)

Eric and I kept a running gag going about feeling like we were on a reality show, but the pathetic truth is that more than once I felt like I was going to get kicked off the show or lose points if I didn't season our dishes perfectly. . . and I was nervous.

I actually caught myself at one point thinking, "Now, when Shannon comes to our table, I have to make sure I get her a fresh, hot sample."

When I fretted about the seasoning of the soup, Eric tasted it and said, "Well, it's not bad, but I'm not sure what Tom Colicchio is going to think about it."

More than once, Eric and I frantically shouted, "Time!" as we scrambled to get our food completed before 7:00 and then we'd burst into a fit of giggles (that makes Eric sound much too feminine for his liking. . . sorry, man). We started chopping veggies at about 3:30 and barely screeched into the chapel at 6:55.

We gained more empathy for the contestants on those cooking shows, but how many of them have to try and take care of and feed SIX kids while trying to complete their dishes?

The recipes are on the Recipe Blog!

Our kitchen counter was piled high with grocery store bounty, making it look like we had just breezed in from a French Country Fair (We actually had gone to the Madison County Fair the day before, and what it was. . . was NOT breezy. [Unless, that is, your idea of breezy is a combination of toothless carnies, Rexburg Poofs, and chickens. . . lots of chickens]).

When Eric and I used to teach the French Culture Class at the MTC in Provo, he could whip up about fifty crepes in 30 minutes with no errors. (Can you see why I married the kid?) Yesterday he did not disappoint.

We were frantically ladling up soup and setting out samples for a good fifteen minutes before the wave of hormones, acne, and social awkwardness descended upon us. And that's before the youth even got to our table (HAH). Seriously, though, there is a reason you are blind to the reality of adolescence when you're smack dab in the middle of it. I don't care how many clichéd movies there are trying to convince you that you'll learn much-needed life lessons by somehow going backwards or forwards in time or switching places with one of your progeny through magic or voodoo or fortune cookie or hot-tub or DeLorean--you couldn't pay me to go back there.

The hair flipping, flirting, screeching herds milled about the gym in a controlled, orbit-like , caste-based motion that was quite beautiful actually.

And so hypnotic. . . .a whole universe of socially arbitrary, cruel satellites. . .

Both Eric and I watched them for a good three minutes of open-mouthed, horrified silence until we snapped ourselves out of our stunned stupor and looked at each other in mutual gratitude.

We started serving the crowd. Again and again the word "vichyssoise" caused them screw up their faces in that teen look of repugnance I adore so much.

I smiled and told them reassuringly, "It's potato and leek soup," as if that would make their slack jaws and misshapen mouths go back to normal.


I had somehow forgotten that an unknown word like "leek" would wreak havoc on the appetite of our adolescent audience. When I said the word, they looked at me like I had told them I had put a small, fanged, woodland creature in their soup.

Our mind-bogglingly extroverted friend, Derek, helped us serve our French fare, but kept calling the soup, "Viscious Swans" and saying "Craypes" to get on our nerves. He swaggered up to youth, girls or boys, and would say, "Are you ready to eat the most mind-blowing thing you've ever tasted?" After about twenty minutes, he said to Eric, "Okay, I started annoying myself ten minutes ago." That's why we love him, even though he comes from the opposite end of the social spectrum.

Luckily for us, Derek was on our team and the teens reluctantly tried the soup. One of them said to her friend, "Hey. This is just potato soup."

On Saturday, Eric flipped out dozens more crepes for our little frenchies at home for breakfast and we feasted on Vichyssoise, french breads and cheeses for lunch.

Eric insists that our kids say crepe with a french accent, which causes some obvious (but hilarious) linguistic ambiguity. Yes. I do like to exploit my children. But it was so funny I had to get it on tape.


Anonymous said...

hmmm, french food sounds SO good. i loved it when Ryan made me some french food! im looking forward to learning how to make stuff like that from his mom! ;)

Joseph and Mary + Six said...

I want some of the crap Peter was having! Sarah, you are so awesome! My mouth was watering just looking at the potatoe leek soup, I wish I could smell it! Those youth were lucky and didn't even know it. I could just go on and on but I'm going to stop now!

Becca said...

If I had been there I would've tried to claim all 250 bites for myself.

Penny Hughes, Personal Publishing Consultant said...

You've done it yet again. Reading your blog is the highlight of my "blog stalking"......

Sarah, I love you and Eric! I miss you guys so much!

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