Thursday, May 17, 2012

Trip to Munsee

My trip to Munsee was different from the first time I did it as a freshman. My freshman year I walked the trail and I was healthy. This time I was challenged mentally and physically. I was challenged physically because on the second day I had pink eye , which was very painful. I didn't wanna make a scene so I just fought through the pain . Instead we had fun cooking and gassing almost every situation .I was challenged mentally because I didn't think that it was possible to cook for about 50 people My classmates made it seem easy because they never really brung that topic up. Overall I had fun hanging out with my friends ; we played ping pong, pool, and basketball.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Here We Go Again!

So this past week I went to the trail for the third year since I've been at Benedict's. Each time I've been up there it was as something different; first as a freshman doing the trail, next as Cassidy's adjutant, and now as a cook! Going up as a cook has to have been the best time I've had up there out of the three times since all we did was cook, relax for  long periods of time, and teach Mrs. Tuorto how to gas. The worst part of the whole experience though had to be the dishes... I hate dishes!
                                              ​Basic Kitchen Skills The kitchen is the heart of every home. It is a place where great things can be created and also demolished, all in the same day. Your kitchen should be a fun and creative space. But if you don’t know what you are doing it could turn into a battlefield. So, I’m here to tell you the basic skills and rules that I picked up in my first cooking class here at SBP. These are things everyone should know when exploring the culinary playground. 1. Before you touch anything WASH YOUR HANDS. No one wants to taste the grit and grime on your hands! 2.If you are following a recipe you should always set out your ingredients and double check them. You don’t want to miss something and have your dish come out a disaster. 3.There are many different utensils that you might need in the kitchen. The main one is a knife. There are so many kinds of knives from bread knives to butter knives. One you might use the most is a chef’s knife, which can be used for chopping just about anything. When you use this knife you must pinch the bottom of the blade between your thumb and pointer finger. Then wrap the rest of your fingers around the handle. 4.You may also come across a recipe that calls for a double boiler.  Using a double boiler is a way to cook something without having it directly on the heat. To create one you would need a pot and a stainless steel bowl. Fill the pot with water but don’t let the bowl touch the water as you sit it on top of the pot. 5.Another easy skill is zesting a lemon/lime. All you would need is any citrus fruit and a lemon zester. Wash the fruit, then run the zester along the skin of the fruit. STOP when you hit the white part because it is bitter. I hope you enjoyed my helpful hints and the basics to being in the kitchen. If you master these skills, you are on your way to becoming the ultimate chef in your kitchen. Jalen Jones ’14  “The master of the double boiler and JJ Sr. Peace, love, and lemon pledge.

A Day at Munsee

            I haven’t been to Munsee, a camp site owned by SBP, in a long time.  I was happy to see the open land of non touched forest.  This time was different then the other two times I had been there.  This time I was cooking for about 50 people.  I have only ever cooked for a maximum of 5 people by myself, but now it was 10x that.  I was ready for the challenge.  With the fantastic team of Mr. Isaac Tucker-Rasbury and me we call ourselves the I team.  The first night we were issued with the job of making a black forest trifle cake.  With the combined abilities of all the cooks dinner was amazing that night.  Later that evening I received the worst whipping of my life in spades from Mrs. Tuorto and David.  The following day we had a lot of time before we had to cook; Mrs. Tuorto and I went bird watching.  During the watch we saw a bird with a wing span of about 4-5 feet.  We did not find the bird again but we were determined to find it.  That night the I team was in charge of making the Alaskan Burgers.  Isaac and I had to make about 50 patties with about 9 pounds of beef.  When it was time to put the patties to be put on the grill and for Isaac to use the Mantula….it was an epic fail so Mrs. Tuorto and I had to come to the rescue.  That night was also the latest night I ate but it was definitely worth the wait.

Healthy Eating For Athletes

      For those trying to get fit for their upcoming athletic seasons, working out on the track, court, field, pool or mat is the most urgent concern. There is a secret that most people do not know, though. You can take the first step to victory out of practice.
                The kitchen at breakfast, lunch and dinner can be a powerful tool for building and fueling your body. The foods you eat can play a helpful role if you know what you’re eating.
                Breakfast is a key meal for any athlete. One food that offers a variety of benefits is oatmeal.  Oatmeal is a heart healthy whole grain that can help soak up unwanted fat (for wrestlers looking for a way to make weight) and cholesterol (for runners who can appreciate healthy blood flow). It helps with weight issues by curbing appetites by slowing the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. Oatmeal also acts as fuel because it is a good source of B vitamins, important for athletes as a source of energy.
One way to add a little flavor to a bland bowl of oats is to: 
-         Mix plain oatmeal with milk and add a handful of nuts or seeds and dried or fresh fruit. Toss it in the microwave and cool off with a splash of milk before eating.
(The added ingredients also add their own health benefits).
                Hungry for a snack? Yogurt is an ideal solution. It is rich in Vitamin B-12; this super food helps athletes prevent fatigue. It allows you to take in very few calories while maintaining a certain number of calories. Calories are a way of providing sources of energy to your body. Because of this, it is important to have a balanced level of calories each day.
If your game, meet, or match is a little later in the day and you don’t want to worry about eating more food, then a healthy snack is ideal.
 Some foods that are good are apple or banana slices and peanut butter, carrot and celery sticks with dressing, cottage cheese with fresh or canned fruit, dry cereal with dried fruit, energy bars, breakfast bars or granola bars, granola with low fat milk and a banana, pudding and graham cracker, yogurt and canned fruit, peanut butter, crackers and vegetable juice, sandwiches (made with peanut butter, turkey, lean roast beef or tuna), trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, whole grain bagel with peanut butter and a yogurt, whole grain crackers and cheese and whole grain low-fat muffin with low-fat milk.
                The benefit of eating snacks one hour before a competition will keep you from getting hungry and keep your blood sugar from getting low.
                Now from all of the choices I’ve given you you may be wondering “How do I decide what to eat?” The kind of snack you should choose before a competition depends on how long you will be exercising. For competitions lasting longer than one hour, during which you will not be eating, choose carbohydrates that digest slowly. Some examples of these foods are yogurt, bananas, oatmeal with milk, apples, and energy bars. If you will be exercising for less than one hour, choose carbohydrates that digest easily. Some of these foods include crackers, bread and English muffins. One hour before exercise, eat one gram of carbohydrate for each kilogram of your body weight. If you weigh 70 kilograms (154.32 pounds), you should eat 70 grams of carbohydrate. This is 2.20457143 grams per pound.
                Avoid meals that are too large because they can cause discomfort while excercising and can affect your performance. It could halt your activity all together.
 Isaac Tucker-Rasbury ’14 “The Most Hyped Chef!!!!! , Padawan of the Mantuala”

Trip To Munsee

Last week was the first time I was back at Munsee since my freshman year when I did the trail. This time it was a different experience for me because I was not hiking this time, but I was cooking. My class and I cooked for Trail Instructors. It was a good experience for me because I have never cooked dinner for more than 3 people before and also we had to wait until everyone was back from the trail so we ate at ten o'clock at night the last night. I have never eaten dinner so late in my life before.

First Day of Cooking Class

Today was my first day of cooking class. We had a guest chef, Dr. Fletcher. We made asparagus by cleaning it, cutting off the ends, putting it on a pan, mixing it with olive oil, adding Hawaiian red salt, and cooking it in the oven. It was my first time eating this type of vegetable and it was very delicious. Then we cut up apples and onions, and we sauteed it. After cooking it, it came out like apple sauce and I love apple sauce, but it was alright. Further, we made a pork tenderloin. We added salt, pepper, and fennel seeds. The pork was delightful. Finally, we made a dessert. The dessert was short bread cookies with jelly in it. The cookie was quite divine. Overall, I enjoyed my first day of cooking class. It was not my first time cooking. I make eggs and pasta all the time. Also, I make an amazing bowl of cereal. I look forward expanding the varieties of foods that I am able to prepare for my loved ones.

Another Year on "The Trail"

The trail is a big thing at St. Benedict's.  Its official name is the Backpacking Project, which all freshmen take; they spend the month of May prepping for a 5 day hike on the Appalachian Trail.  We fully believe - and have been told by generations of alumni - that it is the most significant experience during their time at Benedict's.

Fr. Mark, the "Big Bee" of our school's Backpacking Project, asked me to have my class cook for the trail staff (approximately 50-60 students and adults) back when the cooking course started in 2002.  I initially balked, thinking that there was no way we could manage preparing all that food for all those people.  Fr. Mark is such an amazing individual, however, and I couldn't bear the thought of letting him down on his request, so I went back to him the next day and said we'd do it.  10 years later, going to cook at the trail is my favorite part of not only the course, but the year.

The kitchen is small and gets hot.  We only have one stove to cook quantities such as 10 lbs. of macaroni and 30 ears of corn.  Sometimes we can't eat until 10 pm because a freshman team got lost on the trail and we have to wait for everyone to find them.  The ticks...don't even start me about the ticks.  But the experience of grilling in the waning daylight together, shouting orders across the kitchen, and ending the day with a hotly contested spades game - as the commercial says - is priceless.
Green Cleaning
            In everyday life, people are faced with some very simple tasks such as cleaning the dishes, cleaning the counter tops, mopping the floor, and washing hands.  Most people get some of the same products such as Clorox and Dawn.  These products get the job done every time but can also have very harmful effects to humans and to the environment.  Also, with the products, people tend to use a lot of water while doing dishes.  With a few short steps one can cut their water usage by over 75% by following a few steps to wash dishes more quickly and more eco-friendly.
            This year in cooking while cleaning the table and counter tops, I was using a spray and smelled something unusual.  When I think of cleaning products I think of the sweet smell of lemon Pledge.  This was definitely not that! I turned to my fellow chefs and we all came to the conclusion that it smelled like vinegar. When we asked Mrs. Tuorto she said the spray was a mixture of water and vinegar.  One cup of water and one cup of white vinegar is a great cleaning product.  It is a great deodorizer, works on hardwood surfaces, dissolves dirt, soap scum, and hard water deposits from smooth surfaces.  It is also a great fabric softener.  As you see, it is easy to make and is very economical and environmentally friendly, as opposed to the products you see on TV.
            Products you might see on TV do their job and do it well but how much do you spend on them and how environmentally friendly are they?  Dishwasher detergent is actually the number 1 cause of poisoning from household products.  It leaves a residue on the dishes and can be consumed, especially if the food you eat is hot.  Cleaning products are also one of the leading causes of pollution in the country.  They produce about 80% of total non-vehicular emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can trigger respiratory problems such as asthma, contribute to smog formation, and inhibit plant growth.  With these statistics I think it’s safe to say that it is better to clean with more organic cleaning products. 
            In the cooking class we have had the great pleasure to not only cook but to clean the counters and our dishes.  The most common thing I have seen so far is leaving the water on while we wash the dishes.  When I wash the dishes I rinse them off a little bit, and then I sanitize them and rinse them off.  But the most efficient way to clean dishes by hand and use the least amount of water and power is to get two buckets of water, one with warm water to wash and sanitize, and the other to rinse (take the soap off the dishes).  This only takes about 10-20 gallons of water depending on how big the tubs are.  The most efficient way to wash your dishes is to use a dishwasher.  Most studies show washing dishes by hand uses more water.  For a lot of dishes it will take approximately about 12-16 gallons of water to clean the dishes as opposed to 65 gallons washing by hand.
            Another small thing everyone can do to help protect the environment is use dish towels.  These towels are simply your basic hand towel.  By using these towels you can save thousands of tons of paper towels.  The towels are multi-purpose.  In class we use them to dry our hands and dry the dishes.  Most chefs use these rags all day and it is a great thing to have to help the environment.
Here are some simple steps to clean the kitchen and dishes:
1.      Kick the dog out.
2.      Don’t get the lemon Pledge but get the vinegar, water mixture.
3.      Get a clean rag and start spraying tables (don’t be afraid-the smell will go away once the liquid dries).
4.      Make sure all food pieces get thrown away.
Cleaning dishes efficiently:
1.      Put dishes in dishwasher and let magic work.
If you do not have a dishwasher:
1.      Put on yellow gloves.
2.      Fill two tubs with water (one hot and with some dish detergent and the other cold to rinse).
3.      Wash dishes thoroughly to make sure there are no pieces of food left.
4.      Rinse and dry with clean rag.

I.D.R 12’  I love to cook and I love to eat but I will never again touch an onion without the proper protection


Spencer Hambleton
A traditional meal in Italy consists of a legitimate five courses. When people in America go out to eat they usually order an appetizer which may consist of nachos or buffalo wings; then you order your main dish and then if there is room you may order a dessert. In Italy it is very different. I went to Italy three years ago and the first time I ate I almost was full after the appetizer (or as they call it in Italy antipasti) because I ate so much and did not know how many other courses were following the antipasti. After the antipasti I was swarmed with all these different courses and could not finish. As the week went on I began to pace myself and finally was able to make it to dessert.
 After the Italian appetizer, or antipasti, comes the first course or primo. The first course is pasta, soup, or risotto. Usually there are several pasta choices. Italian pasta dishes may have less sauce than Americans are usually used to. After the first course comes the second course, also called the main course or secondo. This meal usually consists of meat, poultry, or fish. It doesn't usually include any potato or vegetable. Usually you will want to order a side dish with your main course. That side dish could be a type of vegetable or a salad. Contorni is the Italian word for side dishes. The last part of your meal will be dessert, or dolce. You are usually offered fruit or cheese. Then you may also be offered cafĂ© or an after dessert drink. A full meal usually consists of an appetizer, first course, and a second course with a side dish. It's not necessary to order from every course, but usually people order at least two courses. Italian meals may last one or two hours or even longer.
Some fun facts that I read while doing this research is that, in Italy, the type of pasta is often more important than the sauce. This is different than America because I know people who smother their pasta in sauce and can barely taste the pasta. In Italy they want to put less sauce and really get the full taste of the pasta. Also in the main course, there are very little if any vegetarian dishes. Although they may not be on the menu you can always ask for a vegetarian dish. Going to Italy really made me start to appreciate good fresh food because everything I ate over there was fresh and sometimes the vegetables were grown in a garden behind the restaurant. That trip really did expand my taste buds.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


The Real Men Cook Dinner spring phase course at St. Benedict's Prep welcomes you to our blog! We are cooking together all month in an intensive and completely experiential course. Please check our blog for information about what we learn as we cook.