Solo [Alluvion Academy]A Chop a Mix

Moritz goes to meet his new cooking instructor...

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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[Alluvion Academy]A Chop a Mix

Postby Moritz Craven on November 9th, 2020, 11:33 pm

10 Fall 520


As the class was finishing up their instructor Priya took some time to get everyones attention. Mortiz was sitting at a table along with a few others, similar groupings spread across the classroom as they had been working on a small group project.

"Now listen up class. Next you are all going to be doing something new. As a part of your instruction, each one of you will pick a trade class. Usually something older people take for pay. It can be anything we offer, but not something you normally take as your general instruction, understand?"

Moritz replied with a "yes" along with the other children, more or less responding in unison.

"So I want you to consider which class would suit you best, for what you want to do or learn about. You only get to take these extra classes in one subject, so choose wisely. I'll be passing around a list to each of you. I want each of you to fill out the form, and to write your name next to the class you would like to take."

With that Priya took a stack of papers off her desk and began passing them around to each table. Then each table further passed these around to the students at their table.

Moritz took his in turn and read down the list. What interested him? What should he learn about?

Anthropology. Next to that was a note, which seemed to indicate it was about... Studying people? Cultures? Nope.

Astronomy, looking at the stars. Nope.

Herbalism. Philtering. Those sounded interesting, though not something he could immediately use...

Cooking. Making food. Mmm.... Now that, Moritz realized, could be of use. His own mother was not very good at cooking, but they had the facilities at home to do so. And if he learned how to cook, then perhaps he could make healthier items, or better tasting ones. Or perhaps get his family to eat more plants rather than animals.

Of course, Moritz realized, that would take time. He would not be whipping up a feast a day after he first picked up a... Cooking thing? Whatever they were called... But still, it could be a good first step.

Writing his name next to cooking, Moritz passed in his filled out form when the time came.

"Alright class, I'll check these over. Come up single file, and I'll give you directions. You'll each be meeting the instructor."

What followed was a long wait, as their instructor Priya one by one went through the pile of filled out forms. A few needed edits, some people somehow not filling it out correctly. Others some clarifying questions. Others still had not decided, and needed help choosing.

When it was finally Moritz turn he headed to the desk at the front of the classroom and peered at the scaly woman.

"Moritz... Cooking. Good choice, I think you will do well in that. That is taught by instructor... Izo. Go to this class here next, and you will meet the instructor. If my memory serves, he usually likes to break in new students before really doing anything. Good luck!"

Moritz nodded, taking the time to remember her directions and the classroom he was to go to, before slowly heading out of the room. Luckily the classroom for cooking was not too far, close enough even he could find it. Left here, then follow along, right here... Then on the other side...

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[Alluvion Academy]A Chop a Mix

Postby Moritz Craven on November 14th, 2020, 2:39 pm

And there was the classroom. Moving inside Moritz checked around, inspecting the things inside. He had nothing else to do until the teacher arrived, and as a few other students trickled in one by one.

There were different things than the other classrooms he had seen. Rather than desks and things, writing equipment, boards, here there were... All manner of other things. Shelves and cabinets and cases along the walls. Jars full of plants, liquids, powders. Sacks on shelves full of things.

When he opened a drawer he saw it was full of cutlery. Knives of various sized. Forks. Some smaller butter knives. Sharp ones meant for cutting. He did not pick any up, just looking and then going on to the next thing. There were also pans, pots, many iron containers. Also ceramic, glass, and wood. He was not sure what they were all for, but assumed they had a purpose.

There were tables of various sized, some with odd things on the bottom- perhaps adjustable?- which appeared to have no chairs or places to sit at. Standing tables then?

Along another side where various metal things, cooking things he had vaguely seen before but could not name. Something to cook on or in or such.

Once he had inspected everything in the room he moved back towards the middle where the other students were gathered. As he did he noticed a man standing near the doorway. He was not saying or doing anything, and Moritz had not even noticed him until then. No, he simply seemed to be... Watching. Watching what they were doing, or perhaps with the intention of interceding if they did something stupid.

Seeing he was seen the man moved towards the front of the class. Opening a drawer in a cabinet Moritz had missed the man pulled out some plain clothes items. Many seemed marked or colored in places, stained, and were simple enough in make. A long bit of cloth, with some bits of string on the sides and top.

"Alright everyone, I'm Izo, your instructor. Put on a apron, and find a table that is your height. Two to a table. First lesson, if you don't want your clothes to get dirty you have two choices. Wear something you don't mind getting dirty, or cover them with something else like an apron. Got it?"

Everyone answered with a chorus of "yes'", and then began moving to the front of the class to acquire their apron. Moritz took his in turn and went to find a table and someone of roughly equal height so they could share it. Then he went to put on his apron, finding it simple enough. Since both ends could be tied it was adjustable for any size user. As Izo put one on at the front Moritz watched and then repeated his actions. Pull the top strings around the neck and behind. Tighten till it was not hanging to far down. Then tie it. A simple knot, cross, then not once, then double the knot by the opposite direction. His did not seem nearly as clean as Izo's but it was serviceable.

Then the other knot behind him, keeping the apron from flying off or from making a gap between him and the apron. Another knot crossed, knotted, then a doubling. With that his apron was on relatively snug, a buffer from dirtying his clothes by the various things they would be doing.

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[Alluvion Academy]A Chop a Mix

Postby Moritz Craven on November 14th, 2020, 3:00 pm

Everyone at their tables and wearing their aprons, Izo continued with his instructions.

"Now, I will be handing out knives. But this is very important. There are a few rules when handling a knife. First, knives are dangerous, so be careful. A dull knife can be even more dangerous than a sharp one, so don't assume because the one you have just then is dull it is not dangerous. Respect all knives, sharp or dull, or you will feel their bite. Two, always cut away from yourself. Never towards. If you miss or overshoot, your liable to take a piece of your finger off. Lastly, always bear in mind how you are cutting. Are you cutting in the air? Pairing? Are you cutting on a board? What is your board made of? What are you cutting? Is it solid? Does it have gaps or hollow spots? Is it a good idea to put a lot of pressure? If you do and you mess up, and it goes to far, it it going to hit you? If your following rule two, it shouldn't be. Be conscious of your knife. It is one of the most common tools you will use."

With that Izo slowly moved about the room with a small box, handing each student a small knife. It was not huge, not like the large things he had seen in a few drawers earlier, but it was not tiny either. And certainly did not look dull or like a butter knife.

Moritz took his when handed, making sure to hold it away from himself, and then feeling it. The weight. How it was weighted. The build. The shape. The touch of the handle. Familiarizing himself with the implement. Boring it into his mind like... A knife scoring a shape into a piece of wood.

Done he set the knife down, point away from him.

Once all of the knives were handed out Izo returned to the front of the classroom, and took something out of his apron pocket. Pocket? Moritz looked down, only realizing then that his apron had pockets on the front. How had he not noticed that before?

Out of Izo's pocket came a... Potato.

"Now, we will be starting simple. Peeling potato's. First, wash the potato."

Izo left the potato in his table, then moved across the room. He took out a pitcher of water from a barrel, and then returned to his table with it. He then took out a bowl and filled it mostly with water. Then he dunked the potato in, moving it around and cleaning it.

Next he took out a odd metal object, and placed the potato inside and it over the bowl. As he did Moritz could see drips and drops like rainwater, as the water moved downward. Moritz focused on the object, realizing it had holes in the bottom.

"A colander, its used to drain out liquid from a thing in water, and leaving you with a wet object that is not in liquid."

Once the potato was done draining Izo pulled out a clean cloth and set the potato on top, rolling it around till it was dry. Then he put the potato on a board and took a knife in his other hand. And then he began cutting, clean even slices. First the base, then a turn and a cut, a turn and a cut, turn and cut till the potato was bare and only had the white insides.

"Another rule of cutting. If you can, cut something while it is dry. You are more likely to miss, or lose your grip, or slide off, if your hand, your knife, or the thing you are cutting are wet. So bear that in mind. Keep your hands and tools clean and dry, as much as you can. Now, any questions?"

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[Alluvion Academy]A Chop a Mix

Postby Moritz Craven on November 14th, 2020, 3:25 pm

Moritz watched Izo, inspecting his finished work. It was a potato, cleanly peeled. He could also see the peels around it, and saw how little white was showing. He had more or less cut only peel, and none of the "Meat" of the potato. The inner white part.

Moritz and several others raised their hands. Izo pointed at another student, nodding at them. "Whats you name, and whats your question."

The young boy nodded, his face growing a bit red. "Uh yes... Could you show that again? And also, how did you cut so close to the potato and only get peel? Is there a trick to it?"

Izo smiled, his face seeming to shift from his earlier expression when doling out rules and explaining to respect knives.

"To answer your questions, yes, and hard work. Yes I can show you again. And how I cut so cleanly the peels, hard work. Hard work from years spent cutting and peeling potato's. I don't expect you all to do that well just yet. Not without years of practice. But with enough repetition, enough practice, and you will learn what to do and what not to do. But there is only so much I can directly show you in the art of knife use for the purpose of cooking by just showing you. I can show you how to hold the knife, how to cut, where to cut, but at the end knife use is a very physical thing. It requires trial and error and physical practice. Understand? You must do, to back up my instruction, or you will learn nothing of the actual active use of the skill. Understand?"

The class, answering with another chorus of "yes", watched ass Izo smiled at them. Then he took out anther potato from his apron. Did his apron just generate them? A bit self consciously Moritz patted at his own apron, feeling inside the pockets, but found they were empty. No magic potato's inside.

Mortiz watched as Izo repeated his earlier actions, this time dictating them out loud. He was curious if Izo had intended to do so the entire time, simply allowing the interaction of getting the students to ask. The fact he had two potato's, or at least two, made him think it was possible.

"Now first we clean the potato. Dunk it in the water, scrub it, clean it. You want to get rid of any dirt or grime or anything on the outside. Repeat this until your potato is clean. If needed you can dump out the water and get some fresh if its too dirty. Just make sure to keep the clean and dirty water separate. That's why I used a pitcher to draw the water, then transferred it without touching into the bowl."

"Once the potato is clean drain it into the colander, that way you get off as much water as possible. Then dry off the potato on the clothe. Now that is step one. If needed you can do this, and then store the cleaned potato for later cutting and things. Or you can peel it right away. For now we will do both, but bear in mind its more efficient to duplicate an action repeatedly than to do a bunch of different actions back to back and then come back to another. So say you needed to peel ten potato. Then you should clean all ten, use those implements all at once. Then once they are all done go on to step two. That saves the wasted effort of going back and force between actions."

Taking up his knife Izo began cutting, using the same clean actions.

"First, I cut off the end. That gives me a nice flat surface to cut on. And it means the potato is not going to roll off, and is less likely to slip about while I cut it. Safety, alright!"

"Now I use the newly flattened end as the bottom, and set it upright. And I begin cutting off and peeling the potato. From top to bottom, one clean slice. Then I turn the potato, and do the same on another section. And then just continue that until the whole potato is peeled. Also if the potato has any eyes or things, use the tip of the knife to remove them. And you are done."

Wiping off his knife, Izo motioned at the class.

"Now you want to peel a potato just before you use it. Otherwise it will brown. So do that last before any other things need to be done, and just before it is to be added in and further prepared. With the demonstration done, its your turn! Gather your equipment, and peel a potato. I will come around for assistance and directions as needed."

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[Alluvion Academy]A Chop a Mix

Postby Moritz Craven on November 14th, 2020, 7:20 pm

The second demonstration done, Moritz left the table and headed for the cabinets and shelves to gather the needed tools. He also found, after someone else pulled one out, that there was a crate of potato's off to the side.

First things first, the tools. He had the knife. Next he found a drainer, or a colander as Izo had called it. He also got a small bowl to put water in, and returned both of these to the table he was at. Next was water, grabbing a pitcher he dunked it in the barrel of clean water and brought it back full to the table.

Knife. Bowl. Colander. Water pitcher... Potato as well, were needed, so Moritz grabbed one and brought it back to the table. And something else... What was he forgetting... Knife to cut, water and a bowl to clean, colander to drain and... Ah, a cloth to lay out and dry his potato on and wipe off his blade if needed. Walking back quickly Moritz grabbed a cloth from a pile and returned to his table.

Having run back and forth multiple times and now having all he needed to peel the potato, some of Izo's earlier words sunk in. Planning out each action could save time and wasted effort. Better to get the needed items, clean ten potato's, then get the equipment, then peel ten potato's. Rather than one by one cleaning and peeling ten potato's. The effort of arranging things and preparing equipment, that needed to be done each time the task was committed to. But if it was done in a batch, that completion was reduced to one, and the actual work was able to be done by itself without repeating the preparation steps. It was clear a good cook would also be a good planner and time manager to stop from wasting efforts and repeating actions unnecessarily.

With this thought in his head Moritz began by pouring some water from the pitcher into the bowl. He spilled a little, but got enough in the bowl to properly dunk the potato. Then he grabbed up the raw potato and dropped it into the water. Somehow he managed to hit the edge of the bowl in doing so, and both dumped the entire bowls worth of water out while also dropping his potato. It promptly rolled across the table and landed on the ground. Moritz quietly grabbed his potato back up, looking about to see if anyone had noticed.

However he was satisfied to see everyone was to busy to pay attention due to their own work. And also one person.... whom Izo was standing with holding up their hand... Had managed to cut themselves.

"I wasn't cutting, I just reached over to move aside the knife and... My finger hit the blade..."

If nothing else Moritz was glad he was not the first to accidentally cut himself. But also he was glad he had not done so when they were not even using the knife. He knew he was not skilled in the art of cooking, but it seemed to take a certain degree of skill at being unskilled to do that.

righting the bowl Moritz filled it with water again, this time managing to get almost all of it into the bowl. Next was the potato, softly depositing it into the middle of the bowl. Using his fingers he turned and scrubbed at it, cleaning it of dirt and grime. Including the freshly added amount from its roll on the floor...

This part took a bit, but after a chime or so of rubbing and moving the potato seemed pretty clean. Pulling it out he set it in the colander, and as Izo had done set that over the bowl to drain. Not exactly high skilled work, but passable he felt. And unlike some he wasn't bleeding.

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[Alluvion Academy]A Chop a Mix

Postby Moritz Craven on November 14th, 2020, 10:14 pm

Moritz watched for a bit, letting the potato drain. It was an interesting contraption to Mortiz, a metal container with lots of holes in the bottom. Small holes so nothing but water fell through, draining one drop at a time. After a bit the dripping all but stopped, so Moritz fished out the potato and laid it on the cloth he had collected.

Rolling it around a bit he got it nice and dry, before placing it on the cutting board. Now was the tricky part. The bit with the knife.

Using the blade he worked the sharp side along to the top, pushing down with the same hand while using the other hand- holding at the opposite end of the potato- to hold the potato in place. With one motion the sharp blade slid through the potato. Looking at it he could clearly see he had cut off more than he should have. It was certainly a flat surface, but he had cut a much larger chunk of the end off than Izo had. Not a great start.

Using this new flat surface Moritz propped the potato up on the cutting board. Then he held the knife back up at the top of the potato, taking time to pick a point rather than just cutting blindly. Here... No a bit over... Right... There... Better... Almost... If he angled it this way, then down... Along the outside. Finally picking a point Moritz pressed downward with the knife, doing his best to slide it along the outer edge of the potato. Only taking the peel, that was his goal.

In truth, he more sheared off a chunk of the potato, peel included, more so than he had peeled the potato.

Turning the potato Moritz focused again, trying to find the right point to cut. Slicing, cutting, peeling, whatever word fit. Pushing down, and cutting, slicing off another chunk of potato with the peal. Turn, pick a spot, slice. Turn, pick a spot, and again till he was back where he started. That just left a small bit on the top which had not been cut off. With a small slice he chopped that off, and was left with... Well only the white inner bit of the potato. But much less of it than he would have liked. Maybe half of the total bit of white inner part that had been there to begin was left, a small core bit. Not so fine as Izo had done, when he left more of the inner potato intact.

But then such was expected, he was new to the task. He could not be expected to do perfectly right off the bat.

As he finished Moritz noticed Izo was at his table, talking to his table partner. After a moment he finished talking to his partner, and turned to Moritz. He took in the mess Mortiz had left on the table, and the peeled off bits, along with the remaining white part of the potato, all seemingly in one glance.

"Not bad for your first try. Keep at it. Lets see, do another potato, and try to get more of the white part intact alright? And from how you cut it, you were holding the knife this way, right? Show me how you hold the knife."

Moritz complied, holding the knife up and outward in front of him.

"Yes, I thought so. Here, try like this." As he spoke Izo moved Moritz hands and fingers about with his own, loosening Moritz grip while moving it further along the handle.

"Holding a knife is about control, alright. Don't get too far up or down the handle, or you lose that. And don't forget, its a knife for cooking. No one is trying to knock it out of your hand, so no need for a death grip. Try that."

Moritz put down the blade, then picked it up again, trying his best to repeat the grip Izo had shown him.

"Close, not quite but close. But better than before. Work on that, and go peel another potato."

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[Alluvion Academy]A Chop a Mix

Postby Moritz Craven on November 15th, 2020, 3:28 am

With a nod Moritz headed back to the crate of potato's near the front of the classroom, taking his spud and returning to his table. Throughout the room there was much noise of cutting and chopping and water pouring, splishing and splashing and moving about of water. This was to be expected, as it was a class on beginner cooking.

Returning to the table with his new potato, Moritz began the same as before. This time though, he noted to himself, he did not need to re-pour the water. A saved effort which did not need to be duplicated.

Also having learned from before, Moritz softly set the potato in the middle of the bowl, careful not to overturn it. Once inside he began to turn and scrub at it, making sure to get all of the dirt and grime off the potato's. This did not take too long, and was something Mortiz realized he could do as much by touch as he could by looking at the potato and checking to see when it was clean. It felt different when clean, smoother and nicer, than when dirty. Then it was rougher and blemished.

After a bit more cleaning it was done, and Moritz took it out and deposited it into the colander, placing that over the bowl of water. Each time he washed a potato it got a bit dirtier, which he supposed meant eventually he would need to toss it out and get some fresh water.

After letting the water drain he took out the potato and rolled it around on the clean dry-ish cloth to dry it, using a patch that was not wet. With that done Moritz deposited the spud on the cutting board, and took up his knife.

Here Moritz made a conscious effort to adjust his aim as he had been instructed, move along the grip for better control and loosening his squeeze. Once it seemed he was holding it properly Moritz turned to the potato and began his first incision.

Aiming near the top, higher this time so that he did not cut off too much, Mortiz carefully positioned his blade and pushed down. The potato moved a bit as he did this, leaving the cut a bit lopsided and deeper on one half than he had intended, but it did suit the purpose of leaving a flat surface to lay the potato on.

However once he propped up the potato he realized it would not work, as it forced the potato to be propped up at an angle, which would make cutting it tricky. There was no choice but to even it out and get a flat surface at an angle from the rest of the potato.

Turning it back on its side Moritz aimed for the deep side of the cut, that way he would start out in empty air and end cutting rather than cutting through into nothing and sliding his blade along. That seemed the safer route. His next cut took a bit more off, and did more than just even the ordinal attempt, but still left more potato than when he had done his first cut on his first potato.

Once more he turned the potato, using the flat side as the base, finding it now stuck up vertically as intended. The trickiest bit was the first cut, before he had lopped off the one end to give a flat surface. Before then the object, the potato in this case, was more liable to move and roll about.

And then he measured and found the point to cut, beginning his first peel. Then a turn of the potato, and another slow cut along the peel. He tried to angle his blade better, arcing and curving his cut along with the contours of the potato. In truth though he seemed to do little better than his first attempt on his first potato, except for one which had been a bit better and another that had been a bit worse.

Still though, Moritz thought, a sign of improvement. Aiming for the top of the potato Moritz carefully peeled off the last bit of the potato peel, and inspected his work. Overall he had done a bit better, and though he had started with a similarly sized potato had ended up with a bit more white center. A sign of improvement if there ever had been one.

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