Head Cheese/ Frommage de tête…Earlier unpublished stories from “My Life As A Stagiaire” from October 28th memoirs

Previously unpublished stories from “My Life As A Stagiaire” from October 28th, 2012 memoirs

Auberge de la Fenière, Lourmarin, France
Auberge La Fenière
4 stars hotel

Route de Lourmarin [ D943 ]
84160 Cadenet  FRANCE

Tél. : 04 90 68 11 79
Fax : 04 69 96 20 96


Frommage de tête – using 90% of a pigs head to create tasty pork dishes.

I have a new, transformed version of a day that makes me happy. On Friday, I was recruited to be part of the menu preparation for “le fete du cochon”. This is an honor. I had to torch the facial hair off of 6 pig heads including moustache hair, beards, eyebrows and even hair growing from the inside of the ears. The heads were cooked for hours. Then on Thursday, we had an American couple taking a private cooking lesson and they were shocked to see us dismantling these heads (head cheese) and then chopping the meat from the head after plucking out the teeth, skull, eyeballs, and nose cartilage. Those of you who are reading this and know me may think that this is spam mail, but I assure you that the same Tasha who left MB on August 17th has her hands (luckily in gloves) deep in the head of pigs. How VERY French. Chef Sammut came by to grab one of the eyeballs and pop in her mouth. I am not that brave. Some of the meat were made into terrines using tounge meat in the middle, the rest were made into rilletes this morning. There will be many recipes used for the big festival during the next  2 weeks.

Other than that, I am literally working my fingers to the bone. I believe I have strained or sprained each finger, both thumbs and my wrists.

For those of you who find that I may be too old or not tough enough to be a chef, I understand your concerns. However, against ALL odds, I made it to work today. I woke up to gusting winds, no electricity and then I went out to the car and it was actually SNOWING in Puyricard (freaky weather) Then near the tiny village of Rognes, I was redirected by the police (gendamerie) to pass by St. Cannet due to a fallen tree. I then came across another fallen trip near Cadenet, which is close to my final destination of Lourmarin.  All the obstacles became more amusing with each passing moment. I drive a very windy country road to work every day with deep ditches on either side of the road as special encouragement to stay on the route. And despite the weather, we had 57 clients in Le Grand Restaurant today.

I am grateful for each day in France and am delighted to be here in my 10th week. Everyday is a new adventure.

Olivier and his mother came to visit me at L’Auberge as well as a second group: David, Bonnie and Michele.  I explained to everyone how much my head was spinning and hurting the first few weeks of my life here as I was directed to go to the piano (center stove), use a coup de poule (chicken’s ass- translation for a bowl) and generally do many things that were so foreign to me but finally make sense.

As the kettle boils, and against all odds, I can cook.

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Categories: Externship at La Feniere

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