Hey everyone :)
Today all the Basic Cuisine and Basic Pastry students had to go to a lecture about HACCP, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, the management system used in Canada that addresses food safety through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards. Basically, it was a lecture about food safety and sanitization procedures. It was an important lecture for sure, but still, after sitting in one room for 3+ hours (the lecturer went over time by about 35 minutes or so, to everyone's dismay except the one girl in the front who couldn't wait until the lecture was over to ask her incredibly long list of questions), everyone was getting tired (we'd been awake since 7am or so), hungry (we're culinary students after all!), and hot (the temperature of the room had been turned up one notch too much we all agreed).
Anyway, class was pretty uneventful, but I did learn that one of the principal ways food can become contaminated is when it is at the wrong temperature. There exists what is called a "Danger Zone" for food and that is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Food (at least prepared food, fresh produce, fresh protein, etc.) is only "allowed" to be kept within the danger zone for 4 hours. After 4 hours, according to the lecturer, the food may become contaminated and might thus be unsafe for consumption.
I also learned that out of all the proteins, eggs are the "safest" in that they are the least likely to be contaminated (compared to beef, pork, chicken, etc.)
Also, I didn't learn this in class, but later when I came home and was talking to a few of the Superior Level Pastry students, I learned that there are actually 2 kinds of buttercream icing (which as many of you might know is my favorite kind lol): buttercream made with egg whites and buttercream made with egg yolks. The difference is in the texture and color: egg-white buttercream is lighter and fluffier and whiter, while egg-yolk buttercream is heavier and thicker and more yellow in color. In considering this, I began to wonder what kind of buttercream I'd been eating (and very much enjoying!) my whole life - was it the kind made with egg-whites or egg-yolks? When I asked for my housemates' opinions they looked at each other, smiled/snickered (politely though!) and said that if what I was asking about was "American buttercream," what I'd been enjoying my whole life probably wasn't even "real" buttercream at all. "You Americans use Crisco in *everything*," Chantal, one of the girls said. "Most of your buttercreams are light on the butter, heavy on the Crisco and fat, and extremely heavy in the sugar, while more 'traditional' buttercreams, like you'll learn how to make at Le Cordon Bleu, are made from 100% butter, sugar, although less sugar than is used in America, eggs, and maybe a pinch or too of vanilla extract."
Somehow that does not surprise me lol but you know what? I still stand by my fake American buttercream! You have to admit, it's delicious ;)