This will likely be my last post from Ballymaloe as we are so busy preparing for exams in addition to our last full week in the kitchen and demo filled days. Our first exam is this Wednesday on wines. My practical exam comprised of a bread and a 3 course meal to be completed in 3 hours is the following Wednesday. Our final written exams comprised of 3 sections the following Friday. Needless to say, too busy to while away the hours writing!
I have been on my soapbox often enough about the shameful disregard we pay teachers in the United States. And I have found it very interesting to hear from my European friends about the esteem paid teachers in European countries with the commensurate salaries for those who do such important work. No surprise that the students from Denmark perform so well compared to American students when you hear about how highly regarded teachers are in Denmark.
When I taught undergraduates Human Growth and Development, I assigned a paper called Significant Memories, based on Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development. Invariably, the students wrote about the impact of a teacher during the stage Industry versus Inferiority, which falls between the ages of 5-12. Reading the poignant stories about the positive or negative effects on a young person’s sense of self would move me to tears and reinforced for me the tremendous contribution a good teacher makes to the world.
Enough of the soapbox, my goal here is to thank the incredible teacher/chefs who dedicate their talents to the stream of students at Ballymaloe. As inspiring and valuable to the students as Darina Allen, Rory O’Connell, and Rachel Allen are in “Demo” the real learning happens in the kitchens with our chefs. I cannot say enough about the chefs at Ballymaloe. I have not had a bad experience with one of them. Incredibly competent and patient, they all have generously imparted their knowledge to us. I only wish I had started to write down all the handy tips from the beginning. They also put the fun in CookingIsFun.ie. Rather than blather on about how fabulous they are (e.g.my earlier post on Florrie) I want to give them a “shout-out” by name. (I had to explain what “shout-out” means, I guess a uniquely American slang, to Tim Allen yesterday).
Emer (aka Mindreader) Fitzgerald. She knows what Darina, Rory, and Rachel need before they do.
To all of you, Thanks a Million! No Bother, You’re Grand! End of! (Three very Irish slangs bandied about here).