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Old 10-05-2010, 09:45 PM   #1
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My No Good Terribly Horrible Very Bad Day

My Culinary Arts Department was contracted to cater cookies and brownies for this week's homecoming dance. We were also asked to produce cinnamon rolls for a faculty breakfast at another school.

The day started well enough. The 2nd period class produced 20 dozen chocolate chip cookies.

As the last sheet pan of cookies were coming out of the oven, water began dripping onto one of our food prep tables. I called the office. A few minutes later, two maintenance guys showed up and put trash cans on a pair of prep tables to catch the dripping water. They then set up a ladder, removed some ceiling tiles, and soon reported that an A/C condensation drain had clogged and was backing up.

I was directed to turn off the A/C and to stay away from that side of the kitchen. I lost half my prep tables but being reasonably flexible, I reorganized my in-coming third period class. Student groups that still had access to prep tables began producing sugar cookies. Students whose groups had lost their prep tables used a stand mixer to begin making a large batch of brownies.

As third period came to an end, the graphics design teacher entered the kitchen followed by one of my freshmen. The teacher indicated that he had found this student outside the school where he was sprinkling active dry yeast across the sidewalks.

I immediately looked at the table that I use as a central supply area during class production. All of the active dry yeast I had put there for our 4th period cinnamon roll production was missing.

I asked the student if he had taken the yeast and he nodded. When I asked him why he had taken the yeast, he shrugged and said, "I was just playing."

The student was sent to the office on a discipline referral for stealing school property, littering, and leaving class without permission. The principal suspended him for three days ... but the suspension didn't make up for the fact that I would now be unable to have my students make cinnamon rolls since I didn't have any yeast.

By day's end, my classes were able to produce everything on our production schedule except for the cinnamon rolls. I had to wait until after school to go to the local Safeway to buy more yeast ... and when I went out to my car, I found a police warning notice under a windshield wiper.

It seems that during the rush to move out here from Tucson, my registration had expired. The notice enjoined me against driving my vehicle until the registration was renewed.

I looked up to see a police officer sitting in a patrol car across the street. I went back into my classroom, got on-line, and renewed my registration. As I was printing out the registration, the printer's toner cartridge ran out of toner ... so I wound up with a blank sheet of paper and no proof that I had renewed my registration.

Since the officer was still sitting in his patrol car, I had to get another teacher to drive me to and from the local supermarket. At school I used a large stand mixer to produce the dough. After waiting for the dough to rise, I punched the dough down and refrigerated it. I will have to go in early tomorrow to finish preparing and baking the cinnamon rolls.

With some trepidation, I drove my car home and managed to make it to my neighborhood without seeing any red and blue lights flashing in my rear view mirror. As I turned on to my street, I found my driveway blocked by a neighbor's trailer. The tenants next door had parked a huge white trailer on my property. Not only could I not access my garage, but I couldn't even pull into my own driveway.

"We have permission to park there," insisted the neighbor when I rang his doorbell. "The owners of this house gave us permission."

I repeated for the umpteemth time, that the tenant's landlords do not have the authority to give permission for anyone to park on MY PROPERTY. I asked the neighbor to move his trailers so I could get to my garage.

When the neighbor indicated that he was "busy," I told him that if he did not move these trailers within the next ffew minutes, I would call the police. I also reminded him for the umpteemth time that my property is not a parking lot and that he does not have permission to park anything on my property.

The neighbor rolled his eyes and moved his trailers.

I only hope that he doesn't move them back during the wee hours of the night so that I'm blocked in ...

It has been a rather dreadful day ...


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Old 10-05-2010, 09:51 PM   #2
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Man, it really sucks to be you today. Sorry you had to deal with all that. Tomorrow will be better, trust me.
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:52 PM   #3
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YIKES! I've tangled with Murphy's Laws now and then, but it sounds like Mr. Murphy took a baseball bat to you! I sure hope tomorrow is a much better day!

Barbara
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:52 PM   #4
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You need a rewind day badly! Sorry it went so badly!
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:41 PM   #5
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Chef Dave - you did indeed have a lousy day.. but you still got to bake cookies and brownies which must have some moderating effect. On balance. any day that you get to bake is probably a decent day in the grand scheme of things. Tomorrow will be better :)
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet H View Post
Chef Dave - you did indeed have a lousy day.. but you still got to bake cookies and brownies which must have some moderating effect. On balance. any day that you get to bake is probably a decent day in the grand scheme of things. Tomorrow will be better :)
My students got to bake and as their chef instructor, I supervised.

Keep in mind that I'm working with teenage culinary students ... so supervising these students isn't like supervising employees.

Students do dorky things. Some use imprecise measurements ... one group actually managed to confuse a 2 cup measuring cup with a 1 cup unit ... so they added twice as much flour as they were required to and couldn't figure out why their dough was crumbly ...

One group decided that they really liked chocolate chips, so they tripled the amount they were using and then tried to stud the cookies with more chips. I had to take this group aside and explain the concept of food cost to them ...

A junior was caught licking his fingers just before he plunged his bare hands into raw cookie dough. We had to have a review about cross-contamination.

A special ed kid who's supposedly in my class for socialization purposes even though he doesn't get a grade decided to stick his hands down his pants and then use that hand to touch girls. (That's a lawsuit waiting to happen. I had to call the principal to have the student removed from my classroom).

Since I told students baking cookies that they could have any extra dough provided each group produced their quota of cookies, one group decided to try making really small cookies so that they'd have a lot of dough left over.

Another student was caught putting raw cookie dough in her book bag. When she told me that this was leftover dough that she was going to take home to bake, we had to have a talk about time and temperature controls and what can happen to highly perishable food if left at room temperature beyond two hours. I told the girl that she could bake these cookies in class and that she could then take these cookies home. The girl rolled her eyes at me and decided to throw the cookie dough away.

Catering gigs are always a bit stressful because our clients deserve a certain quality and uniformity of product. Getting the kids to help deliver these products can always be a bit challenging.
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:13 AM   #7
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Hmm - you're right. Baaaad day. Very bad.

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Old 10-06-2010, 12:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Dave View Post
My students got to bake and as their chef instructor, I supervised.

Keep in mind that I'm working with teenage culinary students ... so supervising these students isn't like supervising employees.

Students do dorky things. Some use imprecise measurements ... one group actually managed to confuse a 2 cup measuring cup with a 1 cup unit ... so they added twice as much flour as they were required to and couldn't figure out why their dough was crumbly ...

One group decided that they really liked chocolate chips, so they tripled the amount they were using and then tried to stud the cookies with more chips. I had to take this group aside and explain the concept of food cost to them ...

A junior was caught licking his fingers just before he plunged his bare hands into raw cookie dough. We had to have a review about cross-contamination.

A special ed kid who's supposedly in my class for socialization purposes even though he doesn't get a grade decided to stick his hands down his pants and then use that hand to touch girls. (That's a lawsuit waiting to happen. I had to call the principal to have the student removed from my classroom).

Since I told students baking cookies that they could have any extra dough provided each group produced their quota of cookies, one group decided to try making really small cookies so that they'd have a lot of dough left over.

Another student was caught putting raw cookie dough in her book bag. When she told me that this was leftover dough that she was going to take home to bake, we had to have a talk about time and temperature controls and what can happen to highly perishable food if left at room temperature beyond two hours. I told the girl that she could bake these cookies in class and that she could then take these cookies home. The girl rolled her eyes at me and decided to throw the cookie dough away.

Catering gigs are always a bit stressful because our clients deserve a certain quality and uniformity of product. Getting the kids to help deliver these products can always be a bit challenging.
I suspect she had other plans for the dough! Not sure what, but you might have saved another student from having a mess in his/her locker or something.

Barbara
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:49 AM   #9
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well, tomorrow's another day, dave.

hey, you should teach the bad kids to make lutefisk!
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:16 AM   #10
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My hat's off to you Chef Dave. You have more patience that I.
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