All posts tagged “stress

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A Big Exam

Almost a month ago, I discussed over on MetaCookbook what I was doing to prepare for a big exam. It took most of my energy for the weeks in between then and now.

But not so much I didn’t remember to document a bit of what it took to get ready to go tackle the exam.

I wanted quiche for breakfast the day of the exam. A really tasty caramelized onion, goat cheese, sun-dried tomato quiche. I love quiche, and I really wanted a solid protein-filled breakfast before a four to five hour exam that ENDED on samples of 13 beers.

I like to blind-bake the crust, so it’s extra crispy. For those who don’t know what this means, the basic gist is prebaking the crust with some sorts of weights to keep it from cracking, bubbling, or pulling away from the sides of the pan. I usually use beans, because that’s what I always have enough of on hand.

In which I attempt to blind-bake a pie crust with beans. And just beans. No parchment paper. Totally forgot it. To say I was distracted and stressed would be accurate. Of course, until I pulled this thing out of the oven, I'd convinced myself I was chill.

I also usually use parchment paper between the beans and the crust to be able to pull the beans back out, but apparently I wasn’t running on full capacity the day before my exam. Thus, instead of having a beautiful crust just waiting to be filled with delightful food, I had as one friend put it “Panic Bean Pie.”

After running back to the store and buying yet more pie crust, then trying again, I did manage to make a quiche, but it was more work than expected. Still, it smelled delightful.

Bill and I also made comfort food: Green Chile Cheeseburgers (with added bacon). It was a great evening to sit outside and just not think about the upcoming exam. I’d thought I’d be doing last minute cramming, but my brain rebelled. That was probably for the best.

Grilled burger patty, grilled buns. Crisp bacon. Hot green chile and some smoked cheddar cheese? This is homemade heaven on a bun.

The next morning I was up a bit earlier than average. Bill was awesome and made sure to get me a slice of quiche and made my tea while I showered. The tea was a gift from my friend, JP. Not only is JP fantastic, she’s also a Certified Cicerone® herself and a tea person like me. She’s also the person who told me about the style of mug I used to brew the tea. It helped. Hey, if she’s a Certified Cicerone® and I’m trying to become one, this is like channeling her awesome, right?

(I’m very scientifically-minded, but little rituals that soothe the inner lizard-brained, superstitious self have got to improve exam performance. Not because they call to anything out there, but because they calm you the fuck down.)

No, I did not manage to clean the table before sitting down to tea and a slice of quiche. But I HAD tea and a slice of quiche, which is far more important.

Then, after I had half a second helping, I made sure I had three very fine point black pens in my backpack and, because he is super awesome, Bill offered to drive me to my exam so I could stay a bit later and finish my tea. I did that while filling my favorite water mug (previously seen waiting for a wine party). Which I promptly forgot. Of course.

Luckily, they had water for us. So I was prepared when I arrived.

The instructions said to bring a black pen. I brought three. What if one had run out of ink? Or exploded? No chances to be taken here! (They supplied the water.)

Or as prepared as I could be. I guess I’ll find out in about five weeks how prepared I actually was.

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