Tuesday, February 27, 2007

breaking a habit

com·pet·i·tive adj
1. involving or decided by trying to do something better than others or win something
2. inclined toward wanting to do something better than others
3. more attractive than others because of being good value or worth more

yep, i'm a competitive little girl. it's one of the bad habits that i'm trying to break. i know that competition can be good sometimes. but i think i'm obsessed in trying to be better than others. and sometimes, i'm competitive in a matter that's not even a big deal.

in a way, it's almost like i have no self confidence. i need other people's acknowledgement in order to be assured that i am good and capable. and the satisfaction on winning is not everlasting either. there's always a higher mountain to climb. so after a while, the satisfaction just dissapear and i'm back to where i started from; questioning my own ability.

i think it started all way from my childhood. my mom is a stay at home mom. she's an excellent baker but has a hard time believing in that. kinda like me. however, i dont think that a habit can run down in a family. maybe it's learning from example; kinda like, becos i see it, i become like that? hmm... that's a possibility. but doesn't matter how it started, i have always been like this. i always tried to be better than my classmates. one time in junior high, a friend of mine who sat beside me got first place in the class grade, and i got second. i cried when i got home. another time in college, i didn't score an A, but got a B instead, and i cried again. looking back, i think it's so foolish. i mean, really, does it even matter now whether i got an A or a B? oh, better yet, when i was taking the wilton cake decorating course, i was so into being better than others in making my cake, that in the end my cake ended up being so crappy. and for what? a wilton class? that's so dumb!

but then again, it's easy to say that things are foolish, but when i'm in the middle of it, my emotion always overpowers my logical thinking. and this competitiveness has become like second nature to me. i don't even have to think it. it just immediately kicks in everytime i feel like somebody is doing something better than me.

i really have to somehow break this habit, because there will always be other people who are better than me. especially now that i am going to attend a culinary school, i have to be more open and be willing to accept that i am not perfect and it is ok to not be perfect. if not, i will waste all my energy just trying to beat others, which doesn't always translate that i'll the best. and in the end, it doesn't really matter if i become the best in the class, because there's a whole world out there, full of great chefs who i will not be able to beat - and i won't even try cuz i know my limit.

....i think the issue here is really not the competitiveness, but the self-conciousness

self-con·scious adj
1. feeling acutely and uncomfortably aware of failings and shortcomings when in the company of others and believing that others are noticing them too
2. highly conscious of the impression made on others and tending to act in a way that reinforces this impression

how am i gonna break that? mm.... have to think about this some more...

Monday, February 26, 2007

darn those sweet tarts!

my supervisor brought in a big bag of sweet tarts on valentine's day. since my office is full of health concious people, i'm the only one who dares to eat them. plus i do love sweet stuff. anyway, it is now almost the end of february. there's still a lot of sweet tarts left. and i can't stop myself from eating them. i think i eat AT LEAST three little packages per day. and now i feel bloated. i fell like i'm gaining weight, which is entirely possible seeing that those things only contains pure SUGAR!!!

darn it! how can i get rid of them? i need a better way to control myself. help......:(

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

professional culinary institute

i audited a class at PCI in campbell yesterday. oh it was so great. i was very excited.

i went there with a friend who's also interested in attending. i left work early and was able to catch the 3 o'clock bart train. i got to fremont pretty early, so i decided to just pick her up eventhough she lives in mountain view and picking her up would mean making a slight detour. got to her place, grabbed a direction from google, then headed on to campbell. we got there pretty early. first we had to fill out a form. then nancy (she's the director of admission ^_^) put us on chef's jackets. she didn't have any extra small ones. she only have one in small and one in medium. i wore the medium one. i had to roll the sleeves three or four times, but still made me feel like a chef (or .. a chef-wanna-be).

she then took us to this big kitchen, which is actually the classroom for the baking and pastry session. we were there before six so we got a chance to talk with the chef and some of the students. the first thing the students did was preparing for the ingredients. there's a term for that in french, but i couldn't remember (it sounded like plah-dah-pluah... eerr...something like that). then after all the studends were all set, the chef did a demo and showed the student how to do the items scheduled to do for that day. yesterday session included biscotti and some chocolate cookies.

everything was so hands-on. after the chef was done with the demo, the students then did the same thing in teams of two.

the only one thing that bugged me so much was the cleanliness factor. i had always seen on tv shows that cleanliness is one of the most important factors in culinary. and i, myself, am a very clean person. during the demo, the chef made some eggwash for the cookies. she cracked open the eggs, and instead of dumping the shells into the trash, she put in on the work table (!!!!). i was like "AGH! all the germs!!!!". then when she rolled the dough, she almost hit her textbook and she didn't even noticed that. man if it were my book, i would've been trippin'.

we only stayed until the demo was done. my friend wasn't feeling so well, and after the demo there's really nothing to see anyway. so we took off, chatted with nancy a bit more. she must think i'm crazy or stupid or both, cuz i asked her lots and lots of questions. but i always like to get everything covered before i get into anything. so i aksed her things like grading policy, attendance, what'll happen if i fail, what'll happen if i dont like the instructor, what'll happen if i need to take an extended absence. some of those things are very unlikely to happen, but there's always a 1% chance that the unexpected would happen and i just wanna make sure that they'll help resolved any issues that might come. from her responses, sounded like they're gonna be willing to assist us all the way till the end.

on our way home, we discussed about this again. my friend said that she doesn't see lots of technique and she's not so crazy about the chef either (my friend is also a very neat person). but after i got home, i thought about it some more, and i think eventhough she doesn't seem to be teaching tons of technique at that particular session, i'm sure there'll be plenty of things that i will learn. eventhough i can always search for recipes or instruction online and self-taught myself, the purpose of going to a culinary school is to get into the fast-lane and get all the infos right there and then.

so i think i am gonna go for it.

now the question that's still standing is: April or July?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Gong Xi Fat Choi!

i had a nice long-weekend. hubby and i had a dinner with my aunt and her family on saturday. yummy food! my uncle cooked lotsa food. i was sitting on the "kids" table and there were only five of us sitting there. there were probable - most likely - more than ten dishes, and they were all so delicious. we didn't know where to start. but we tried our best, yet still ended up with lots of leftover. i took home a bunch of stuff, so that'll save me from having to cook for at least a couple of days.

and then on sunday, we had another dinner, but this time with my friends. we went to cafe won kee at milpitas. the reservation was at 7 pm and surprisingly people were arriving pretty much on a timely manner. we had lotsa food. hubby and another friend have a hobby in photography. so it kinda felt like we had two paparazzis on the table. this hobby is kinda new for hubby, and he just got his SLR camera recently. since he got this new camera, i often time find him missing from the crowd. he would just go wonder off by himself looking for things to take pictures of. after dinner, we then went to a karaoke place in santa clara. we were waiting for an available room, and hubby wondered off by himself again. funny that it turned out that there were two girls kinda hitting on him. they were asking him to join them in their karaoke room. i came to the rescue and dragged him away... HA HA HA. it was a fun night. the girls definitely butcher a lot of songs, especially the hip hop with rap ones. asian chick really can't rap. he he he.

monday was just a relaxing, restful day. hubby & i were originally thinking of doing something romantic. but we're pretty broke from the night before and couldn't come up with any ideas on what romantic thing we should do. so we just stayed home. watched fearless (i think it's pretty good). and then later the day, i baked some cake. the recipe was from cakecentral. its' the one that people are all raving about. turns out that there's a good reason why everybody are so crazy about it. it uses cake mix, so it's very easy to make. took less than 15 minutes to prepare all the ingredients, and then i just need to mix it all together. bake it, and voila! the result was a tasty, airy, yummy white cake. it really doesn't taste like boxed cake at all, which was pleasantly surprising. i'll definitely add this to my recipe collection.

so now i'm back to work. but i wont be here for the whole day. i'm leaving early cuz i have an appointment at PCI to audit a class. i am SO NERVOUS!!! it's not like i'm gonna be tested or anything, but i feel butterflies in my tummy. mmm... maybe it's just the excitement of finally taking the first step in this.

Friday, February 16, 2007

sugar high

okayy... i think i'm sugar-high. i just ate a package of willy wonka fun dip. it was too much. i'm like floating in air now. bad, bad, bad idea. but definitely tasted good tho. @_@

friday - at last!

ohhh it's finally friday!! and we get a three-day weekend. ohh i can't wait till today is over.

not too much plans for the long weekend. it's chinese new year too, so hubby and i will be spending some time with the family. not his family cuz they're on some cruise vacation, but with mine. ahhh.. my uncle's gonna make some delicious cooking. i am actually looking forward for this family dinner, just cuz i haven't had a decent home-cooked chinese cooking for a while now. hehehhe

so far, nothing's planned for monday. but on tuesday, i've made an appointment with this lady at PCI to audit a class. i'm so excited! my friend is going to come as well. i'll need to leave early so i can have enough time to get some food first, and then drive over to campbell. maybe i'll leave around 2 or 3 o'clock. hopefully my boss is ok with that.

i think i'm gonna start in July. i've been going back and forth about this. i really want to start as soon as possible, but if i start in april, then i'll be missing the first week. and that would be such a waste!! the first week is my chance to get to know people, it's also probably the orientation week. and if i miss that, i don't know how much i will actually be missing. so perhaps july would be better. eventhough it's gonna be really close to the day i have to make a castle wedding cake, i think i'll manage. i'll just spend the months before july to practice real hard. i think i can do it. i just don't have a set mental image of the castle cake that i want to make. many of the pictures i've seen looked like a little girl's bday cakes. they're fun, but don't look elegant enough for a wedding. but then again, the bride is a very cutsy girl. her favourite cartoon characters are kiki and lala. so maybe a fun, colorful castle cake would be ok for her.

ah... we'll see. first i gotta give them a sample of my cakes. i just got a recipe online yesterday for a mix boxed & scratch cake. everybody was ranting in the forum about how great that cake is. i'm gonna try it out this weekend. it'll be great if it's really as good as what the people are saying.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

project driven

i think i'm a project-driven person. i need goals and i need to feel like there's a destination that i need to reach. it always brings so much joy at the end when i've successfully completed a goal. and i always learn a lot of new things everytime i take on a project.

that's why i think cake decorating/wedding cake might be the perfect job for me. every cake is like a project; the completion would be the goal. there's always planning involve when it comes to wedding cake, or any cake as a matter-of-fact. and although it's nerve-wrecking the day before the event, when the cake is finally up on the cake table, and everybody's taking pictures and they all say "wow you made that??" - it's just making me feel so good about myself. its like getting a shot of endorphin. good feeling all over. ( hehehe i'm writing as if i've made lots of wedding cake - i've only done one).

my next cake project would be a castle cake for a friend of mine. i've been thinking about it a lot and i think i can do it. but i know that as the date get closer i'm gonna be more and more nervous about it. hopefully its gonna be another success.