Monday, August 4, 2008

Rustic or refined?

I'm in the honeymoon phase. I'm feeling slightly awkward, slightly off kilter... the order of things is just different enough to keep me on my toes. My confidence level is weird, and I find myself asking for assurances in such a way that I find it annoying.

I'm working on that.

But the work itself is fun, interesting, the atmosphere a gazillion times better from what I left. (Sometimes I think that is part of the problem. I'm waiting for abuse that doesn't happen so I'm all confused. Human beings can be so ridiculous.)

The product we put out is lovely - small batch, artisan care, and serious commitment to the local. Our flour is locally milled. That is just crazy, and couldn't happen just anywhere. The style of the work is rustic.

Rustic is interesting. It doesn't mean careless, sloppy. There is a level of concern over the quality of our goods that I haven't seen in a long time. Indeed, sometimes the concern is a bit mystifying, given what I've been doing. What I have been doing, professionally, would not be called rustic. It would be considered a more finished style, more artful and stylized. Indeed, that's the kind of thing I tend to do at home as well, maybe even more so.

Now, I'm being asked to forget that. But still, there is finely detailed piping on those plain cut cakes. Deliberately placed currants among rough curled chocolate. Carefully cut and scaled laminated doughs filled with a local seasonal fruit mix. So I'm looking at a different style at home, too, for practice. The most perfect fresh prunes I have ever seen (The farmer told me they would be best baked, and then smiled and said considering where I worked, I would know what to do with them) become a rough torte. Monsieur le chef would have approved of this one.

Even if it is rustic.

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