Tuesday, March 26, 2013

adequate etiquette

So I would like to talk about eating food;  loud eaters, mouths open, non-eaters, and girls. 

The questions that need to be asked:

Which fork do I use?
This is a common problem area. Depending on where you eat, you may be provided with numerous flatware for a number of courses which are lurking in your future. Rule of thumb- always work outside, in. The servers should place your silver in the correct order but that is if they are properly trained. At Caterina De Medici, we are told to lay in the silverware including the entree course. Many customers do not understand this concept and will just use what ever silverware they damn well please, which is also acceptable. We are trained to clear and replace with the correct silver at the appropriate time. Sometimes you will arrive to a table, and there will be utensils horizontally, above where your plate would be. These are intended for dessert and an after dinner beverage such as tea or coffee. Truth is, do not be embarrassed when you are not aware of the utensil you should use with each dish, your server is being paid (or paying to learn if a student at the CIA) to help you out and teach you as you enjoy your meal. 

Is it polite to ask for salt and pepper?
This is a HUGE deal in my household. My father is the biggest pepper fan I have ever known- although Chris, if asked, would tell you that I am. My father will be a happy man if you remember to put the pepper mill on the table before he asks for it. Everyone in my family races to put the pepper on the table so that he will beam down on them, proud that they remembered his grand mill. As Chris entered our house and he began to cook for our family, and dine with us regularly. He gained the courage to ask my father if in fact every dish needed pepper to be complete. Chris explains that pepper has it's own flavor, while salt maximizes the other flavors on the plate. He jabs me when I add pepper to a soup, because he insists that not all dishes need that flavor- and I have to admit he is right. Pepper can be very over powering. Now the best soup I ever made was a peppery potato soup, but if you had a cream of broccoli soup, would it REALLY need pepper to taste great? 
Each meal we have the pleasure of enjoying with my family, we are sure that the pepper mill is on the table. But after we say grace, as my fathers arms reach to grab for the great wooden grinder, someone reminds him- "Dad, please taste it first, it might not need pepper." One day, I swear Christopher is bound to over pepper something just to make a point. Have you ever salted your fries before tasting them? What is the harm in tasting them, having a little faith that the chef wherever you are dining has correctly salted his fries. What happens if the salt you apply is too much because of the salt that is already on your food? I guess the answer is, yes- it is okay to request salt or pepper wherever you may be dining, but please make a point to taste your food first. 

How do you deal with 'Chatty Patty's'?
If I was a baker, and I wanted to open a dessert shop, and I went by the name Patty, I would call it, Patty Cake. But none of those things are true. In fact, why do people assume that just because my first name is Patricia, that I enjoy being called Patty. If you every meet a Charles, do you automatically assume he will respond to Chuck? Or how about Robert and Dick? I know not everyone who assumes I go by Patty is aware that my father's name is Pat, and that I will not even understand what they are talking about when they address me by Patty. Anywho, people who talk with their mouth full is an awful habit that should be against the law. It's hard to tell the person across the table that they are offending you by showing you their meal after they have masticated it. But I would say that being aware of your own mouth to food habits is the best way to advocate for swallowing before speaking. If I noticed someone at my table, rudely munching while monologuing, they may be ignorant of their impulsion. Start speaking, excuse your self to take a bite, and chew, and then continue on with your conversation. They might take the hint, or they may not. But it's worth a try. 

Why don't girls eat when they are out on a date?
This is the worst of the worst. As a woman, who loves food, it has never crossed my mind to  refrain from eating because of what my opposite may think of me. That is one area, where I am never self conscious. If I am going out to eat, and I am going to pay for my meal, or be treated for that matter- I will not abstain from indulging in the best sounding menu item. Whether it be ribs, or lobster, or a juicy burger with mounds of cheese on top. It drives me crazy CRAZY when girls fall into the role of just eating a salad so that the scrawny looking boy across from them will believe that they always eat lettuce and vegetables and nothing more so that maybe when that guy thinks of her- he will think skinny. That is a bunch of BULLogne if you ask me. Aren't women supposed to have a bit of curve to them? At one point, large women were admired because it meant that they had good mothering skills. And wide set hips (which apparently comes from pasta because every time I eat pasta Chris reminds me that it is going straight to my hips) are an indication that a woman will not have trouble bearing and delivering a child. Let me eat my juicy steak! I can remember one instance when Christopher and I dined out, and I ordered the BBQ ribs, and he ordered the salmon- well when the runner brought our food out, it was not a surprise that I was handed the salmon and he received the ribs. And when we mentioned he had mixed them up, he stood there and said- "REALLY?" uhhhem. YES REALLY- I am allowed to eat meat, in fact my body needs meat in order for me to be the little energizer bunny that everyone knows me as. It just erks me when girls resist eating in front of their significant others or prospective s.o's to impress them. Well what happens when you get married, and you have to eat your meals in the bathroom because you cannot explain to your husband of twelve years that you have been lying to him this whole time and you do in fact eat more than stalks of celery and cucumbers. If anyone has an explanation of this, I would be intrigued. 
I ate the heck out of those ribs. 

How are substitutions received in the kitchen?
Most chefs, but not all, hate when someone changes something on their menu. This includes vegan, lacto-ovo, vegetarians-but I'll eat fish, I can eat mushrooms every day except Sunday, gluten frees, etc. These days, who knows anymore if it is an allergy or if it is just a dislike that has turned itself into a 'self diagnosed' allergy. When we make it through the kitchen classes, we are strongly encouraged to try everything that we make. Some of us may not have a taste for certain things, but how can you know unless you try and retry and try again. Taste buds are a funny thing, have you ever burned your tongue? Well your taste buds will take a few days to grow back, and they will probably be new! Do you remember when you were four and refused to eat your Brussels sprouts so your mother made you sit at the table until you plugged your nose and down the hatch they went? And now here you are today, enjoying the sprouts like they are going out of style. Taste buds change with age and often with preparation as well. Now I am not sure what it is about my father's French toast, but he makes it better than anyone else who has ever made me this American delicacy. And I insisted that Chris make my tuna melt last week, because sandwiches just seem to be more organized when he compiles them. Chefs are very high and mighty about the food they prepare, and sometimes rightfully so. I would suggest you try everything as it is, the professionals put a lot of time into planning each menu item as it is. I am not encouraging us all to take the food we hate most and spend a lot of money on it. But if you are dining with a friend and they get something you don't think you will enjoy, ask them if you may taste it, your world could be changed. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

In a Nut Shell

So it has been about a week since I have last written a post, and a lot has happened since St. Patrick's day.
I finished my last few days in the Catarina kitchen. Everything went pretty smoothly, besides the fact that the last night of service, we went through an entire recipe of soup, and I had to whip up some more at the end of the night so that the next class would have some to start with.
Yesterday was our first day in the dining room. I was over joyed. As I have mentioned, I thoroughly enjoy being in touch with the customer in the front of house. And as soon as I entered; the high ceilings, dim chandeliers, sparkling silver, and background music, my dining room destiny was confirmed. As I was readying myself for service, I was advised that I was only responsible for a two top that would be arriving at seven. I was a little disappointed, but anxious for my table to arrive. Chris was assigned to the pantry, which meant that he would be combining and foaming the cappuccinos, expressos, and coffee. He was glad to stationed in the kitchen, because he is concerned of the service aspect in the front of the house. I assured him he will become more comfortable as the block goes on.

My table landed a half hour early; an older couple with sweet faces. I ordered my assasgios- cute one bites- a welcome from the Chef. These amuses change each night, this particular evening they were a chic pea sofrito on top of a crustini. I offered the couple beverages from the bar and the woman mentioned it was their twentieth anniversary, and that she would have a glass of wine. I brought her the driest of the red wines that we had in stock which she fell in love with. The couple was so friendly and chatty which made the experience for both of us more pleasurable. They were interested in where I was from, when I was to graduate, where I had ventured on externship, and where I was off to at the end of May. The table was very satisfied with their food, and left with smiles on their faces.
Four people walked in around eight fifteen, and I volunteered to take the table, and rushed their order to the kitchen so that they would not drag our night on, as the kitchen does not take any more orders after 8:30. I was happy to serve them their three courses, it gave me more practice on the POS system. We got out of there at eleven and Christopher and I returned exhausted. That was my Friday.

I should mention that Chris and I have both had the sniffles all week, and the coughing. It's no fun to be sick, but even worse then that is when your caretaker is not feeling well either. Crankiness, coughing, drowsiness, neediness, and all. (most of it coming from me, but normally Chris does his best to take care of me.) So this week has been very tough for both of us, but we are using this weekend to recuperate and become healthful. This morning, we got ready, and headed out for the car, I turned back for something that had slipped my mind, until my phone rang..Buzzzbuzzzbuzzz...it was Buzz. "Babe, we've got a flat". Just how I deserve to start my day. It was the same tire as earlier this month, and so as Chris tried to crank off the tightened lug nuts, I phoned AAA. As the mechanic arrived, he could not even remove the lug nuts, and blew up the tire which would get us to Sears- where I gave them an earful. As far as I am concerned, they should have replaced the tire the last time I was there if it was going to blow out again. Chris escaped to the waiting room, so I wouldn't embarrass him. The technician affirmed that they should never have patched up the tire because it was way past due for a new tire. And after a while of debating, I had to pay for the tire, but not the service.

Amuse Bouche

It has been Hudson Valley Restaurant week, which means that participating restaurants decide on a price for three courses that they offer to the public. Christopher made reservations at Swift at the Roundhouse which was located a top a waterfall, and gave us a beautiful view. We decided on our courses and critiqued the service. We were presented with an amuse of himachi fish, which was quickly followed by our first course. Chris had ordered the bacon appetizer, and I decided on the Fluke- although I was not aware that it would be raw as well.

Fluke with fried Quinoa 
Bacon with Lentil puree 

Lamb with Peas, Yogurt, and Mint

Duck accompanied by Brussels Sprouts, Carrot Puree

After that, Chris settled on the duck after perusing the menu for several minutes, trying to make sure that he none of his courses would echo the flavors in his other course selections. And I thought that since the first course had not filled my rumbling tummy at all, that I would go with the lamb. Both dishes were satiating but we were still eagerly awaiting dessert. 

Our dessert was the best thing we ate, and had the most remarkable presentation of all the dishes. As a lover of goat cheese, I picked the goat cheese cheesecake with honey, plums, and pistachios. Chris ventured for the brown butter cake with strawberry foam. 
brown butter cake

Our evening ended with a trip to Barnes and Noble, where we spent an hour gorging on culinary books. I ended up with a new book by Ruth Reichl per Christopher's suggestion. And Chris treated me by buying a copy of Les Miserables, which we just finished watching. So that has been my week in a nut shell. Tomorrow we have to get up early to go to church, it's Palm Sunday- which means Easter is a week away, and we will be back Upstate soon. We cannot wait. Thanks for reading, until next time. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Luck of the Irish

This years green photo

So I thought I would talk a little bit about luck; I don't have it.

Chris and I last St. Patrick's Day
I thought about just leaving it at that, but Christopher reminded me that I actually had something to write about. Yesterday we traveled upstate to my family's home. My mom was waiting on the stoop for us and welcomed us with open arms. I always love coming home, not only for the rest and relaxation, but for the hugs and comfort. We chatted about the uneventful trip, and waited for my father to arrive home from the restaurant. Just when my stomach was empty my mom mentioned there was spaghetti and meatballs in the refrigerator. Christopher always reminds me that meatballs is an Americanized Italian thing and that real Italians do not eat meatballs but Polpette.  I do not care what Italians like, because I am Irish, and I love meatballs.

Mom and I two years ago
I made Shepard's Pie for dinner, I thought it was pretty good, my dad said it was too salty, Chris mentioned that this was probably because it needed a buttered roll to balance it out. Chris and I normally go home after every block which is every three weeks for our three day weekends. But it has been five weeks since we have been to Lansing, and this visit was only 30 hours long. We picked this weekend because of St. Patrick's day, which is my father's feast day, and a traditional party for our family. Of course during this party, we are not relaxing but running the restaurant. Our whole family, including my mom, dad, sister- Margot, brother- Lansing, Sister- Melissa, Sister- Michelle, Nephews- Max and Jack, Christopher, and I pulled off St. Patrick's day at the KFH.

Lansing, manning the bread station

Mom, Chris, and I arrived in the kitchen at 9:30am and we started cutting carrots and cabbage. With a six burner stove it was hard to cook 40 pounds of carrots and 50 pounds of cabbage, plus a sack of potatoes, but we got it done. Mom had ordered in 210 pounds of corned beef, and so it was her job to slice it on the slicer, Chris and I kept testing it to make sure it was fit for human consumption- it was. The soda bread had been prepared the day before by a real Irishman. It was delicious. I think I probably ate half a loaf of bread today, and I brought a whole loaf back to school with me. Mom switched hats at one and went from the kitchen to the bar. I changed out of my chef's coat and into a clover colored skirt. And the festivities began! We charged 9 dollars for a full plate of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, rye bread, and soda bread, which I think is quite the steal. Last year, when I couldn't make it home for the 17th, I took my friends out to an Irish pub because they had never really been exposed to the holiday the way I have. Chris and I shared our first dance, and I paid 19 bucks for just corned beef and cabbage. Anyway, Margot and I worked the dining room, while my dad handed out green carnations to the ladies, Chris put the plates together in the kitchen, Max helped clear tables, Jack and Lansing expedited the food and cleaned dishes, my mom was everywhere, Michelle was at the bar with the Irish baker- Alan, and Melissa was supervising the serving. We all worked together, and we all sung Irish tunes together (even Chris) and it was a great time. It's very nice to be able to go home and be surrounded by people who love you. I know Chris wishes that his family lived closer so that we could visit them often too, but my mom always tries to make him feel at home which I appreciate.

Dad- happy as a clam
After breaking a mirror yesterday, I was reminded that I really do have bad luck as an Irish girl. I mean just looking back on all of my car history and all of the "why does this always happen to me" situations...I really am not a lucky person in general, but I am reminded how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family who cares so much about me. I am also lucky that my boyfriend is my best friend, and that he puts up with everything that my bad luck throws at us.

I brought some cb&c back to school with me, so that I could make myself a snack early this week. I wouldn't be surprised if I received some more corned beef in the mail because there was twenty pounds left over. Family is very important to me and St. Patrick's day is a celebration of our family. This tradition will live on for generations.

Shepherd's Pie
yield: 12 portions

3# ground lamb
3 onions
5 carrots
3 cups frozen peas
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups flour
16 oz red wine
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
5 potatoes
2 cups heavy cream
1# butter
salt & pepper to taste

1. Dice the carrots and onions to the same size as the peas, saute the carrots first and then add the onions to carmelize.
2. Add the ground lamb and brown, seasoning with thyme, salt, and pepper.
3. Sprinkle the flour in using the singer method. Stir in until thick.
4. Add the red wine, worcestershie, and water. Reduce and add more flour if needed.
5. Add peas and butter. Continue to stir all together.
6. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and strain. Mash together adding butter , heavy cream and salt. Run through a food mill or use mixer to smooth out potatoes. Put into a pastry bag with a star tip.
7. Spoon Shepherd's pie into casserole dish and pipe mashed potatoes on top to form a crust.
8. Before serving, flash in a 400 degree oven for five to ten minutes to brown the top of the potatoes.
9. Serve. (Roll suggested)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fond Food Memories

      I have grown to like Chef Vanoli a lot, even though he is so particular about all of his dishes- it translates to passion. He has a under tone of humor, but I think many students are too nervous to catch it. I love to learn, it is one of my hobbies, and so I just absorb every single thing that Chef says and just try and ask questions a lot when I do something wrong. I learned that from my mom, she told me that every time the health inspector comes, she always asks a ton of questions which allows the inspector to give the knowledge he has instead of docking her for not having a spring on the bathroom door, or something stupid like that. Anyway, it's all about how you react when he addresses you. So yesterday we were busy; everyone showed up at the beginning of service and we were slammed. The ticket machine kept printing orders constantly for the first hour, and we were yelling around the kitchen to coordinate when we would plate each dish. On a couple of occasions other teams were not on track with their orders and threw off our pasta and we had to redo the dish. Pasta normally always takes twelve minutes to pick up so we usually call out twelve minutes so that the other teams know that we need to meet at the pass to put our dishes out in twelve minutes. The only dish that takes longer than that is risotto and that is where we had issues. Risotto takes 20 minutes, no more and no less. If it sits in the window under the heat lamp too long, it turns to a paste and is inedible.   The expeditor fires the risotto twelve minutes before he picks up the pasta so that they will be out at the same time, but the person making the risotto has to inform the expeditor when the risotto has twelve minutes left in the cooking process. Well a couple of times, the risotto guy forgot to call out the risotto time and gave me nine minutes to make pasta which takes twelve minutes. Another time, the risotto was not started on time, and when I called out that I was plating the pasta, risotto looked at me like he had no idea what I was talking about. See it's all about coordination in an a la carte kitchen. In order for the customer to be satisfied with their meal, it has to be hot, tasty, visually pleasing, and aromatic. And in order for us to make all of those things happen at the same time, each team has to get their food out at the same time as every other team in the kitchen. It's harder than it sounds.

     Today was a low key day because the entire restaurant was bought out for a banquet, which meant that all twenty students had all day to prepare four courses for one hundred people. The first course was a radicchio salad. I'm not really a big fan of radicchio, which surprises me because I love cooked bitter greens, but radicchio is just ridiculous. The salad went with julienned artichoke which was served raw. Another surprise, artichokes are yummy, but I really enjoy them one way, and I think it's because of a food memory of mine. I fondly remember when my mother was pregnant with my little brother and she boiled the artichoke and just peeled the artichoke off leaf by leaf and dipped it in butter only to suck off the butter and scrape the underside of the choke off with her teeth.

     The second course was monkfish served on top of a broth with lentils and farro, garnished with olive oil and a crostini. Monk fish is the ugliest fish I have ever seen. It is a member of the angler fish family, which are those fish that have a light to entice smaller fish. Well a couple of years ago, my family and I were on vacation in Seattle for my father's business trip and we visited Pike's Place Market. (If you are in Seattle you cannot miss it and HAVE TO GO.) The fish market is really cool, they throw fish around for entertainment and Lansing, my brother, got to catch a fish that they threw to him which was pretty neat. Anyway, they had this monkfish there, and I was disgusted with it, so I went to take a picture, and it JUMPED. So did my heart. I screamed. Turns out, a million people look at that fish a day, and it's tail is connected to a rope that they pull behind the counter to make it jump.

    The third course was a flat pasta in a boar ragu. My team was in charge of the pasta; two people to toss the pasta in the ragu and perfect the sauce and one to cook the pasta constantly stirring it so that it would not stick together. I was in charge of the pasta. We practiced one batch and it took exactly four minutes to get the pasta to al dente, so I watched my watch closely. I thought I was taking the easy job because as I have mentioned, tossing the pasta takes a toll on your bicep, but my height was quite an issue. It was difficult to stir the pasta in the pasta cooker and then lift it into the pans because of the weight of the pasta and the water. Once when I was working at Cornell, I had an issue with my height (5 foot flat by the way) and tried to supplement it with a milk crate. This was a bad idea however because while I was whisking the sabayon over the stove, the milk crate slid out from underneath me and my face fell right into the cream.

   The final course was a sponge cake filled with an unusual fruit filling, the kind you might find in a fruit cake. It was topped with some chocolate rum cream. I was not as involved with the dessert round because I was busy cleaning up the pasta station after one hundred portions of pasta ragu was plated in 18 minutes. We had one gluten free person dining tonight, and I was in charge of precooking the gluten free pasta. It was not good. At all, I mentioned it to Chef, and his response was "If you can not be eating gluten you should not be eating pasta as far as I am concerned." And I agree. On the note of ragu, Chris has this wonderful recipe for ragu which has been in his family for generations. He received the recipe form his grandparents for his high school graduation. Maybe when I marry in I will be able to see the secrets of the Italian ragu :)

    Today I thought I would share a recipe for my favorite pasta on the menu, which is not ordered very often although I think it is the best. It is called Pizoccheri and it is made with buckwheat pasta. The pasta is so light and has a unique taste to it. We garnish the pasta with potatoes, cabbage, and brown butter but I'm it would be good with any light neutral flavored vegetables. You should always measure by weight in order to be most accurate. For the pasta, you need eggs, milk, buckwheat flour, and 00 flour (which is difficult to find at any old grocery store by the way.) By weight, you need twice the amount of eggs than milk. For instance; five ounces of milk to ten ounces of eggs. For that amount of liquid you would need eight ounces of buckwheat flour and 23.5 ounces of 00 flour. There are a couple of ways to make pasta; the "well" method for small batches, but easiest in a mixer or robot coup. I have had the most success when mixing dry ingredients in the food processor and then dropping eggs in one by one, then I would add the milk. Always have some olive oil on hand, just in case the pasta is too dry, this will help lubricate the dough. Let the balled dough rest for thirty minutes and then roll out the pasta and cut. This is possible with a rolling pin and I have done it that way. Although a pasta roller is ideal, but very expensive. I do not own one and on several occasions have been seen rolling pasta by hand. (A note to you smaller chefs- although the slick modern rolling pins are well...slick and modern, they require more muscle work and the good old two handled pins are easier on the arms.

    Some good news, I received a 100% on my costing practical that I took yesterday. I didn't believe it could be real life because I am so bad at math, but Chris really helped me study for this one, and I got some great results. Hopefully this means good things to come! Chris and I will head home to Lansing this weekend because it is St. Patrick's day which is a celebratory family tradition. We will be cooking corned beef and cabbage, and wearing green (head to toe) at my parent's family restaurant in King Ferry, NY- the King Ferry Hotel. If you are ever in the area of the Fingerlakes, stop by for some quality food at very reasonable prices. And come by this Sunday for some Irish soda bread!

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Today marks the three hundred and sixty fifth day that I have spent with said Christopher. So I guess I'll have to tell you all the story of our love.
Before starting school here at the Culinary Institute of America, I was added to a group on Facebook which had members who would all start school on the same date as I was scheduled to start. People counted down the days until our start date, people complained about the dress code, talked about where they were working etc. I tried to be friendly and likable, and started conversations with a few people. I even scouted out who I thought I would have the most in common with, and therefore became friends with my good friend Valerie, who lives next door. September 2011, I sent out a message to this boy who seemed quite quiet and passionate: "Hey just wanted to check and make sure you are as excited for October 3rd as I am :)" To which he responded. "yes." Now I was just trying to make conversation, attempting to make friends, and make someone smile. But that response did not seem very enthusiastic. In my sassy tone (as you can imagine) I replied "good answer. well I was just trying to be friendly, see you then!" "Sorry, I'm not a very talkative person." (Which we all know is untrue.)

So we went on with our separate lives. When we got to school, this guy was quiet and kept to himself, and I was outgoing and friendly. Everyone figured he thought he was too good to talk to everyone else and they nicknamed him 'SuperChef'. Every time I saw him however, I would wave, or give him a smile, nodding hello, and the like. But it was not until Late January that our paths crossed again. I had a  rough start to college and was very home sick.

Chris and I were in the same Management class and sat across from one another. He had some fascination with drawing every person in the class on the soda bottle of the day. I found him odd. The friend who sat next to me asked me one day who I thought was the most attractive person in the class was and after deep consideration, I set my eyes on him. The next week, he happened to post a status that proclaimed that one of his favorite movies was Titanic. And that was my way in. I mentioned that Titanic was one of my favorite movies, and then he started complaining that he regretted including girls in his status and wished that he had posted something about super heros. We bickered back and forth about it, and then went off to bed.

One night, a bunch of girls and I were dressing up for no good reason and Christopher's name came up a lot. After that, he invited me to his room to watch Tangled. I remember saying "Well, I'm in sweatpants and I don't look all that great." He said something like "I don't care" and I thought that meant something like, it's not like I am going to be looking at you. Anyway, fell asleep before the movie was over, and to this day have still not gotten through that movie. After it was over, I woke up and headed back to my room. But decided to turn back and we sat up talking for hours. He gave me his number and I scurried off to bed. The next day I texted him and we started talking on a regular basis.

Soon after that our conversations grew longer, and one night I invited some friends over for a Disney movie night. Christopher tagged along. Then we all went out for midnight shakes. I caught him on camera a couple of times. ^^

I bought my closest friends some daffodils in honor of my friend Corey's favorite movie "Big Fish".  And they outgrew the pot they were growing in, so I planted them outside. One day Chris and I happened to be doing laundry on the same day, and decided to walk outside to visit the daffodils. We sat there together on the cliff and talked for a while. Then he bought me an ice cream cone and we walked back to the laundry room. I then watched as Chris demonstrated how he folds his laundry. At the time I figured he was a little crazy, and that I wouldn't have to remember any of the steps he took in folding laundry. Little did I know, that a year later, I would be doing his laundry.

That Friday, I was talking with a friend on the phone about the crush I had on Chris, when I passed right by him. I was embarrassed, and as you do when you are on the phone and cannot talk about what you were talking about...you say things like "and that's how a bill becomes a law".
I returned to my room to complete some homework. And was jamming out to some music with my roommate when I heard some rustling outside my door. But I lived in the freshman door and passed it off as nothing. Then I got a text that said "there is something outside your door." I opened my door and found this lovely African Violet. He then asked if I would go to a movie with him that night, and I accepted his invitation. We went with his friends to see Project X. Now if any of you have seen this movie, you know that it is the absolute worst movie ever and especially for a first date. If you haven't seen it, I don't suggest it. He did not make any moves, and we didn't talk much. We all went out to eat afterwards though, and he let me wear the hat that his grandmother made him. No kiss goodnight, no hugs. Quite a shy guy.

We spent many nights looking at the stars
We spent the entire next day together, watching movies, and doing homework. Chris is a collector of many puzzles including but not limited to rubix cubes. And those first few times we were getting to know each other we fiddled with every puzzle he had, and I never solved any of them. Right then and there I kissed him. And he said thank you. Such a cutie. From there we were an official couple. And we started our adventures from there.

Had some fun Picnics
On St. Patricks day we walked the tracks
(And did some dancing)

^^I took him home for Easter a couple of weeks later, and he made a whole egg hunt.  

we did a lot of thrift store shopping

We professed our love for each other

We walked across the river

He got me an "I love you" ring

And then came time for externship. And he had decided to move to NYC because it would be easier to move all of his belongings an hour away. I had signed on with Roaring Gap Club in North Carolina. We were very upset to part ways. And our shifts were opposite so we had to leave video chats and updates to keep up. Chris hated his job and had to commute an hour and a half each way. His shifts were from noon until midnight. I worried about him being alone in the city at night. And then his apartment got bed bugs. Now you may think that bed bugs are just a joke, but I am no longer to say that  cute little saying "Sleep tight don't let the bed bugs bite!" Because it's reality. Chris was forced out of his apartment with no where to live. Thankfully he had a friend who lived around the block who let him stay with them. He quit his job and within the same day signed his externship at Roaring Gap Club with me. Once he arrived, we picked up where we had left off and enjoyed many adventures together in a new place. 

Enjoying the summer weather

Traveled to towns around the state

Rode on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Had at work picnics

Ate out a lot

Discovered great places

Foraged for mushrooms

Saw Jason Mraz in concert

Enjoyed the views

climbed some waterfalls

And then we enjoyed Michigan, which is where Chris is from. 

 ^^Played with his younger sisters
Visited Mackinaw island

Ate in Frankenmuth, a cool cultural town
went Trick-or-Treating with these two cuties

^^on our way back to New York we stopped at Niagara Falls^^

Spent some time in my mom's kitchen

^^Won Best couple's costume for "Buzz and his Honey"

^^Watched and joined in on a parade in Rhinebeck^^

celebrated Christmas together at my home
Attended the semi formal dance on campus together

And that in a nutshell was our year together. I skipped over a lot of details, but I take so many pictures I thought it would be nice to put together a collage of our first year together. This next year will bring many more challenges but we will face them all together. We both graduate in May and are looking for jobs in the Upstate New York area. We have recently been looking at duplexes and while this is all scary, we know that no matter what we will have each other. I am so thankful to have found that someone who makes me smile everyday, and makes my life more than worth while. I look back on this year and cherish each moment, and it just makes me anxious for our future. I love you Christopher.