I'm in the midst of finals week which is why you haven't heard from me in a while. My written final is over (I think it went well) and my practical final is tomorrow. And I am stressin'!
We have 2 1/2 hours to make a three-course meal, which doesn't sound like that much but, trust me, it is. We have to make Beef Vegetable Soup, Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons, Boneless Chicken Legs stuffed with a Mushroom Stuffing, Sauteed French Chicken Breasts, Mushroom Sauce, Duchess Potatoes (which are like mashed potatoes piped into little towers and baked) and - wait for it - TOURNEED carrots, zucchini and squash. Ugh. You knew the tournee had to be in there somewhere.
I practiced at home yesterday (for the bazillionth time) and finished in 2 hours and 26 minutes - but that was in my tiny little kitchen. And I burned the croutons :( Poor Ken has had enough stuffed chicken and Duchess potatoes to last him a lifetime, and I'm pretty sure that after this final, I'll never make these things again.
Here's a picture (it doesn't look all that exciting on my not-so-fancy Fiestaware):
So I keep asking myself, "why am I so stressed?" I mean, who cares how I do on this final? It's not like people won't eat my food if I didn't get an A on one exam. I think I've done pretty well in the class so far. I bet that even if I didn't show up tomorrow, I'd probably pass. Why the big deal? And really, who even cares if I pass? I'm just doing this for the learning experience - not for a degree.
I'm gonna do my best in the next few hours to shift my focus from the stress of earning a grade to the importance of enjoying the experience. I love to cook so this should be fun. And it can be if I let it.
But there's this perfectionistic side of me that wants to do everything right, even when I know it doesn't matter in the big scheme of things. I guess this experience is not just about learning how to cook, but instead about learning how to live life.
So here it is, my mantra for the next 18 hours: have fun, it's not about the grade....have fun, it's not about the grade. At exactly noon tomorrow my mantra will shift to: I need a drink, where can I get a drink ;)
It will be great to have some time off to relax, cook the things I want to and NOT TOURNEE anything for a very long time.