In classic French cuisine, hundreds of sauces are derived from five mother sauces. Last week, we learned four and this week, we prepared Hollandaise, the fifth of these grand creations, along with nearly a dozen variations that are now stored in small plastic containers in my sister’s freezer. This weekend’s lesson was at the foundational level, including the chemistry behind the emulsions and hydrocolloid systems that comprise these recipes molecularly. Inside these sauces is a complex dispersion of suspended particles giving them their structure. Although there are hundreds of variations that exist and that can be created, the mother root provides their backbone. Next week, we will be tested on these concepts as we move to Module 2, signaling 20% completion of the program.

After Saturday’s class, I met my sister for a blissfully uneventful evening. The mundane was, for us, exceptional, and in the morning I awoke feeling so fortunate to have this opportunity. I stepped along the stone pathway on the waterfront sharing the sunlight with morning joggers and small dogs that walked in tandem with their owners. I sipped my warm coffee shaking the sleep from me and soaking in the crisp October air.

Ordinarily, a weekend in New York would have followed a more familiar routine, much different from this one. The comfort of the past was so magnetic that it would not have offered room for these new moments. I would have stepped through the doors of a home that I had stepped into a thousand times before and slept in a bed that was conformed to the weight of my body, and yet here I was in a routine much less familiar feeling fortunate despite the circumstances.

This is the integrity that comes from the mother root.

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