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Where I’m From
By Brandon Clarke
If I said I was from South Jamaica Queens, where police activity up and down Guy R Brewer Blvd was the norm, would you know where I’m from?
Where I’m from, there’s always some type of activity going on, ranging from a group of people hanging out in front of the Bodega on Foch & Guy R. to gunshots ringing out late at night over some pointless conflict. Where I’m from it varies from time to time whether to order take out or prepare food bought from the local supermarket and usually consists of me hearing complaints about how I never eat what’s cooked in the house. Where I’m from its common for me to eat frozen foods out of the fridge or make a sandwich because of those days that come along where you get too lazy to cook anything or do a task that involves laboring in general. Where I’m from you have to deal with a vegetarian dad who complains when meat is cooked in the house and how the smell bothers him, and on top of that my mom complaining about my dad complaining to begin with. Where I’m from the temperature in the house is always just right along with the water pressure being super powerful in the shower and having the habit of being in there too long because it’s just that good. Where I’m from you always have to be aware of your surroundings even when going across the street just to go hang out at the park. Where I’m from I started as one of the only skateboarders in a small radius of my house and just started booming with progress over the last 5 years. Where I’m from its common for the older people of the neighborhood to sit on the benches outside of the field across the street from the Baisley pond and spend a Sunday afternoon watching a game of cricket. Where I’m from the entrance to the Baisley Pond Park was the hill my dad decided it was time to let the seat of my two wheeler go and watch me go by myself for the first time on my own balance. Where I’m from people from other neighborhoods can’t tell the difference between the projects buildings and the cooperative buildings. Where I’m from you can hear the music from the basement community room filtering up through the vents when a resident of my 8 floored building decides to throw a party. Where I’m from the Q111 & 113 busses barrel down the boulevard full of people commuting to Jamaica Avenue trying to get to work on time. Where I’m from you’ll hear the LIRR occasionally roaring from a speeding train as it goes over the bridge. Where I’m from the neighborhood is deceiving… How could a place with so much scenery and nature be filled with violence? Where I’m from is where I’m from and no matter where in the world I go or how much I don’t like what goes on in it sometimes, it’ll always be my home.
To: Professor Akana
From: Kimberley Gonzalez
Date: December 16,2011
Subject: Anna Nurse Memo
Who was there?
Chef Michael Ayoub was at the Anna Nurse Workshop. He is the Chef of his own restaurant, Fornino’s. He is an experience chef and previous owner of many restaurants.
What did he do?
Chef Ayoub made mozzarella and pizza. The mozzarella was topped with volcano salt which added a good color contrast. During the presentation of making the mozzarella and pizza, Chef Ayoub took the time to answer questions from the crowd.
How did I feel?
I enjoyed the workshop with Chef Ayoub making the mozzarella and pizza. I am a big fan of cheese so I was interested in the process of cheese making. I plan on visiting his restaurant to enjoy the food once again.
When I attended the Anna Nurse Workshop, the chef was Michael Ayoub. He was the owner of Fornino’s restaurant. The restaurant is known for its brick oven pizza.
While I was at the Anna Nurse Workshop, Chef Michael, made fresh mozzarella and grilled pizza. We saw exactly what he did to prepare these foods. He also handed out a sheet with the ingredients and steps to make these foods.
Attending this Anna Nurse was very exciting for me because of my nationality. I am Italian, and to learn how to make one of my favorite cheeses is very exciting for me. I loved the food and I am so happy that I now know how to make fresh mozzarella and grilled pizza.
Balut… Balut, is a delicacy in the Philippines, its considered as an aphrodisiac and high for protein. It is a fertilized duck embryo, boiled and served as street food. You can almost find this food anywhere in the Philippines. We usually eat it with salt and vinegar with some herbs to balance the flavor and texture. People have a tendency of liking the juice inside better than the embryo itself. the juice inside is very silky and savory. The embryo itself is developed and you can eat the chick, you need to spit out the bones though cause its inedible. Vendors usually carries a big basket bag to put the eggs and cover them with cloth to keep it warm. people have been very picky about this food cause it does not look appetizing at all, however sometimes this has been a measure of being a Filipino back in my country, if you can’t eat it, your not man enough yet, not a full Filipino yet.
To: Professor John Akana
From: Antonio Tlapanco
Date: September 18, 2011
Subject: Anna Nurse Workshop
Who was there?
The guest chef for the first Anna Nurse Workshop was Michael Ayoub. He is the owner and chef as well of Fornino’s located at 187 Bedford Ave in Brooklyn. He is well known for his pizzas however he mention that he has a new passion for making pasta. I decided to do a little more research on him and I found out he has a passion for glass art. He actually does some himself and displays it in his restaurant.
What did he do?
It is hard to forget what he did during his time at the presentation because the food was great. The first thing he did was make mozzarella from scratch. This was not the first time I seen it made from scratch however it was still a good experience. The process was first having the mozzarella curd in hot water and stirring it. Next, the water was drained and then Michael Ayoub makes small mozzarella balls and dropped them in cold water with ice. He cut the mozzarella in pieces so that we the audience can have a taste. He topped the mozzarella with black lava salt and some olive oil which in my opinion tasted great. After the tasting he made some of his grilled pizza using the cheese he made. The grilled pizza was also great and looked good as well.
How did I feel?
I think that the Anna Nurse Workshop was definitely worth going to even though I had to stand. I plan to visit his restaurant in Williamsburg since I spend a lot of time there. It is a disappointment that I have only attended one workshop but there is always next year.
Where I’m from, we eat piñón. Piñón is a Puerto Rican version of lasagna. It consists of plantains, ground turkey, and french style green beans. We only eat this dish on special occasions in the states. In Puerto Rico, you can find someone cooking this dish every day. My mother usually prepares this dish but I can make it as well. The main ingredient in this dish is plantains. You have to slice the plantains from top to bottom and fry them until they are crispy on both sides. The ground turkey is cooked in a separately and seasoned to taste. You add the green beans to the ground turkey when it is done. When the ground turkey and plantains are done they are set aside as you prepare your dish of choice for the piñón. You set the ingredients in the dish the same way as you would for lasagna. First, plantains are placed down overlapping each other so that the other ingredients won’t escape. Then you add the cooked ground turkey. You then add another layer of plantains and so on. You then bake it for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.While being prepared, the sweet aroma from the plantains overwhelms the kitchen and neighboring rooms. Piñón is a very balanced dish since you have the sweet plantain and meat with green beans. Eating piñón makes me very happy because I only eat it on special occasions. My best memory of eating this dish is the first time I prepared it. It was perfect in every aspect. My family was also very satisfied with the dish.
Where I’m from, we eat Fareen. The main ingredients of this product are cassava. Fareen can be used for breakfast as a portage, by soaking it in water, or for lunch as a substitute for rice, and also at special occasions in creative ways. The older women of the household usually prepare it. When the husbands, comes back from the farm with bags cassava, the women go straight to peeling it. It’s usually like two bags of a hundred cassavas or more. They then, wash it thoroughly and start to grate it. After it is grated it’s very soppy, and so they now have to extract the juice. The juice is extracted by using a long sieve like tube called matapi. A wood is put through the end hole of the matapi, and to balance it, a person sits at the other end and the juices are squeezed out. After the juice is completely out, the remains are then sifted in a sifter to make sure no lumps are there. Finally it is put into a big pan to fry. While it is being prepared, it usually has a very starchy smell. When I eat fareen I feel very full, it’s delicious. My best memory of eating fareen is with barbeque Tasso. It’s the best.
December 6, 2011
Where I’m From, we Eat Chocolate Skulls
Where I am from we eat Chocolate Skulls. Chocolate Skulls are a Mexican treat that is only eaten during the Mexican holiday called Day of the Dead. However, it has gained some popularity so it is now made for a Halloween treat. The required ingredients are chocolate, hard candy, and pomegranate flavoring oil. The process of making this tasty and sweet treat can take several hours and due to the time factor it is usually made by the more experienced but anyone can make it. The steps of it being prepared consist of first melting chocolate and then being poured into the mold. The smell in the air when it is being prepared is an overwhelming chocolate and sugar. I am sure that is the same smell you would smell if Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory existed. The first bite into a chocolate skull is hard however after eating it can be the sweetest thing you have ever tasted. Eating one will make you extremely energetic but it also makes me feel relaxed. I have not had one in so many years and I hope to have one again soon.