Friday, February 18, 2011

Home Economics

With all my recent baking one of my school friends commented that our Home Economics teacher would be proud of me!  I had a good chuckle as I recalled the disastrous start I had in Home Ec.  My daughter Lindsay is currently in her Grade 8 rotation of Home Ec. and its fun seeing what she is doing.

When I was in Grade 8 the HE (Home Ec) teacher was Ms Jones and she disliked me on sight!  It was clear from day 1 we were not going to get along.  And then we started a sewing project.  Sewing does not, and never has, interested me, much to the disappointment of my mother who is a wonderful seamstress.

We had to make these wrap-around skirts (it was the early 80's) and not only did we have to cut and sew them we also had to silk screen them..... man I feel like I am writing about the dark ages here...... so here is a photo for those don't recall silk screening (lucky you).

I chose a ridiculously complicated butterfly cutout to silk screen and I did them in grey on a dusty pink fabric (remember it was the early 80's - dusty pink was very "in")...... anyway they ended up looking like mutant insects from outer space.  And then I had to sew the skirt.  I had a rather unfortunate episode with the sewing machine.  I did not realise the foot pedal was a speed controller (I am sure this is my Mother's fault for not giving me better instruction and not my complete inattention to anything the teacher said) so I put my fabric under the needle and floored the pedal (I thought I was turning it on).  The fabric took off at an alarming rate and the thread zigged and zagged randomly through several layers of my skirt.  I was somehow mesmerized by this and did not take my foot off the pedal until the needle snapped in two and my skirt came to grinding halt.  I can still see Ms Jones advancing on me across the room full of wrath.  I spent weeks unpicking the layers of my skirt.  I was banned from the machines and had to hand stitch the hem. 

I got an F on my project.  To this day I use tape or staples to hem anything.

You wouldn't think things could get any worse when we moved into the cooking unit...... right?........ riiiiiight ;(

I was monkeying around with my cooking partner Melanie McFie in the kitchen one day and I misguidedly wet a dish towel and threw it at Melanie's head.  The agile Miss McFie dropped to her knees between two stoves and to all intents and purposes disappeared.  The dishtowel was now traveling further than intended and at that moment Ms Jones walked into the kitchen and received a wet dishtowel to the head.  I could not convince her it was not intended for her head and my ever loyal friend stayed low in a fit of silent giggles leaving me out to dry... as it were.

I was in detention forever..........

Ms. Jones left the school (I am sure it had nothing to do with me, quite sure).

Mrs Brown was the new HE teacher - very uptight and prissy and old-fashioned.  But I at least had a fresh start and the rest of my HE "career" was uneventful.  I do remember one day my two good friends who were cooking opposite us on the same island had just put a sponge cake for a test into the oven when we spied the eggs for the aforementioned sponge sitting on the counter.  They looked at us horrified - no way was that cake going to rise.  Quick as a whip we put the eggs in Pippa's apron pocket and she turned towards the sink and got busy washing up as Hayley watched the cake not rise.  We figured if Mrs Brown was at the other end of the kitchen we could give them one layer of our sponge and we'd take one of theirs and we could both have presentable cakes.  We also knew she was very unlikely to taste our cakes - she was always watching her figure (ya right - she didn't want to eat anything we made more likely).  Their sponges were awful. We put ours together and there was a good inch or more missing on theirs.  I had a brainwave to stick a melamine bowl between their layers to prop them up.  We slipped it in and voila the cake looked normal.  But their (and my) fate was now sealed --if she looked and didn't cut they were home free! 

She just looked - phew!

We were all so happy until Pippa turned from the sink and we could see the eggs had broken in her apron pocket and were running down her school uniform - we threw the apron in a bag - Pip made a dash for the bathroom to clean up and we escaped from the class in fits of hysteria, dumping the cake in the bin as we left!

So my recent baking and cooking is a triumph!! I learned alot from Julia Fuku who was our cook and housekeeper when I was growing up (a blog on her one day) and my Mom and Allan's Mom and from the Food Channel.  Allan has really become a great cook over the last few years and I have learned alot from him. As has Lindsay which is why she is acing Home Ec. with food skills from her Dad and sewing skills from her Gaga - I can take NO credit!


I am thinking this white choc silk flan with raspberries and dark choc I made last summer may have passed the test even with Ms Jones. Maybe.

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