Between cartoons, I would flip to the public broadcasting channel to watch Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and Jacques Torres' cooking specials. This was long before Food Network existed and most of the foods I watched them make included ingredients I'd never heard of. I still recall watching Jacques Pepin making Bûche de Noël as it was the episode they played most frequently, I swear.
Despite growing up pretending to host my own culinary show, it didn't occur to me until I was enrolled in the American River College Culinary Arts program that, hey, I could do this for a living! I am one general ED class away from my AA in Culinary Arts/Hospitality Management. I worked for one year in the on campus study staffed and operated Oak Cafe, first as a waiter, then in the kitchen. I miss it terribly.
I am currently looking for a job, because I am a bum, in the restaurant industry. Ideally, a bakery job where I can learn more about pastry and sweets and breads.
On that note, for the baking classes at ARC, it is required as a final project that the students type and submit a cookbook of all the recipes they have prepared throughout the semester. I was fortunate enough to befriend a classmate who worked in a print shop and he put together a beautiful compilation of all of our recipes. You can download it here. It's a whooping 92 pages of beautiful photography and some of the best recipes.
I uploaded a sample page in case you're on the fence about it.
So now here we are! Before I leave, have some book recommendations!
On Cooking - an all encompassing guide to meats, vegetables, cheeses, seafood, appetizers, soups, salads, sauces, basics, cooking temperatures, butchering techniques - basically if I don't know how to do something, this is the book I turn to. It's heavy and expensive, but you can find it for a decent price if you check Half.com.
Professional Baking - the title doesn't lie; this book is for professionals, or just people who want to bake the professional way. That means that all measurements are by weight or volume and baker's percentages are included. It has the best recipe for pie dough that I've ever found, which is included in the cookbook I linked above.
The Professional Pastry Chef - my favorite book by far. I could sit and read this book from front to cover, and for some chapters (ice cream!) I actually have. I love his bread recipes. The glossary in the back is quite good, as well.
The Food Lover's Companion - I will admit that I do not own this book, but I want to! It's the cheapest on this list and serves essentially as a food dictionary. In the back it has a lot of good references including things like the hand test for grilling meats, frying temperatures, metric conversions, etc. Every cook should keep this book on hand~
Until next time, eat well. ♥