I wanted to share with you a delightfully upbeat post – one with some glitter or, at the very least, shine. I had hoped that the lead into my final round of classes had vibrance, lightness and clarity. And that the culmination of this experience derived from sadness would yield fervor and gratitude. And so it will be.

Saturday afternoon resembled a curious cocktail party where aprons and side towels were the recommended attire. We studied the art of amuse-bouche, hors d’oeuvres, and small plates with foie gras canapés, handmade duck pastrami rubens, terrines, watermelon “tartare”, savory salmon mousse, fried plantains with mango sambal, oysters with kimchi, and a dim sum menu of tacos. By the end of the day, my palate was deliciously drenched. I met my sister in the evening and was asleep by eleven. It was academic paradise.

On Sunday, a cycling event closed down many of the streets of Manhattan creating a pressurized system where buses, taxis, and people fought for space. There was a power outage at school, and after hours of prep, we had to pack up our measured spices and readied fillings with the hope that our doughs could be frozen. I could not get an earlier flight home despite my desperate attempts and my scheduled flight, as it turned out, was hours delayed. Security at the airport was a barbaric parody including an emergency alarm that blared a hideous beeping sound and flashed lights every four to five minutes for a half hour or longer.

I sat at the gate awaiting rescue as a standby passenger on the earlier flight. I longed for an indicator of good grace and perhaps a cosmic reward for patience. None came.

Yet this post is happy. It is filled with bite-sized savory and sweet flavors like those enjoyed in class and it is positive because I choose it to be. It represents not just what happens around me but what happens within me – a lesson I have been learning in this curriculum of study through food.

In the midst of my travels, I received a message from friends who had gathered together to remember my family. They do this periodically, bringing items and stories to share over a meal with one another. Joy is their choice and they shared it with us. And with this post, my friends, I offer it to you.

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