June 5, 2009
OK, I must admit, I have become an Eric Cooper Groupie and I am president of the fan club. Let me explain before you judge why I have come to idolize this God of a chef. He has a talent unmatched by any chef that I have known before, and I have done my share of working in restaurants in my college days. I also enjoy cooking myself, so I can appreciate the skill involved in the vast range of Eric's ability. Every day he has fresh breads cooked for dinner - flat breads, foccacia , rye bread, all grain bread and on and on - not dissimilar to the multitude of ways shrimp can be cooked as described in the movie Forrest Gump. Each day Eric whips up a dinner that is some new culinary delicacy that brings joy to the mouth and stomach. Not only that, but he is always eager to share his knowledge, recipes and pointers and welcomes anyone that may have time to assist him. He has even loaned me several of his cookbooks to peruse. Each one he offers has wonderful, insightful information on the foods, cultures and the preparation. He has a wealth of knowledge of spices and how to infuse oils and dishes with flavors that makes one's palate sing. When he offered the opportunity to help learn his methods of bagel making, I was an eager student especially because I enjoy eating bagels! The best bagels that I used to be able to get were at the Bagel Factory near my home growing up, but I have not found really good ones since. The process involves many steps, so we started with the dough making in the morning before we were going to have them for lunch the next day. We made the dough, waited an hour for it to rise, weighed it into 4 oz sections, shaped them, then shaped them and put them into the refrigerator until the following morning. Eric explained how to make sure the dough was worked enough or too much and how it affected the dough and how to best shape them with the corners wrapped up under the dough. I have to admit they were beautiful, and I look forward to the end result tomorrow! Thanks for the lesson Eric!
The LMG returned today with the whale group, and I learned of their fun stop at Port Lockeroy. This station is a British development that was currently unoccupied. There is an exposed whale skeleton that they took lots of pictures of, and also of them playing in the snow. They were blessed with some beautiful weather on their trip, collected more great data of the whales and krill sampling. We decided to have one more round of the fish printing in the carp shop for them since they missed the first round. Everyone had a good time and because we ran out of plain white t-shirts, everyone started printing on other articles of clothing. Julie even started the trend of fish printing our jeans, so I am excited to say that I now have my favorite pair of jeans imprinted with an icefish! Only two more days on station - I cannot believe this phenomenal experience is drawing to a close.