Back to Basics and a Weekend of Eggs

Food52 has become my latest obsession and they recently published a list of 20 dishes every cook should know. As someone who wants to become a better cook, I figured, wouldn’t it be best to start with the basics? Coincidentally the first thing on the list is scrambled eggs and I just so happen to have a fridge full of farm fresh eggs, courtesy of the CSA my roommate Maddie and I signed up for a couple of months back. Every week we get a delivery of 6 eggs, a grain (we’ve gotten bread, oats, and cous cous), and a large amount of produce. So our fridge and shelves turn into a garden every Wednesday.

But, back to eggs. They described the method for making three types of scrambled eggs: 1 is made with cream and constantly stirred, 2 is when you cook the whites first and stir in the yolks at the end, and 3 is when you whisk the eggs before cooking and then continuously nudge the eggs towards the center of the pan until it is all cooked.

I made version 1 on Friday morning, which turned out to be the kick-off to a weekend of record egg eating. Saturday morning was scrambled eggs (version 2) for breakfast, lunch was scrambled eggs with toast and (really delicious) grits at Tonic, Saturday night was a chicken and salsa omelet with toast and breakfast potatoes at American City Diner, and Sunday morning was the omelet leftovers. And this morning I made version 3 of Food52’s scrambled egg variations.

The winner?

ImageEggs are wonderful in all forms (hard-boiled, over-easy on toast, fried in rice), but, hands down, the best scrambled eggs are gooey and creamy. Next on the list is pancakes. Yum. But this cardamom sour cream waffles recipe is at the top of my list right now.

wafflesEggs aren’t the only way I have been getting back to the basics recently, however.

Last Monday was my first Hindi course and, while at first I was completely overwhelmed by the abundance of squiggles (to be honest, I am still overwhelmed), I’ve buckled down tirelessly for countless hours of flashcards, audio-recordings of pronunciation, and repetition based writing exercises. And today I was able to read! Granted, I have no idea what the words mean, but (for the most part) I can identify the letters and figure out how to pronounce them all together. Exciting stuff. It has been a very, very long time since I’ve studied a language in its most basic form and it’s pretty fun. Yup, I know what these mean.

Screen shot 2014-01-20 at 8.30.39 PMAnd next weekend I am going to get a crash course on English grammar in the TESOL/TEFL certification course I am taking. It is a course that certifies you to teach English to non-native speakers, typically in another country. It started this weekend and is from 9-6pm, Saturday and Sunday, for three weeks (plus a 40 hour online component). So my upcoming weekends will be spent with a lovely group of 24 adventurous souls, an endearingly outrageous teacher, and lots and lots of information. Teaching isn’t new to me, but I am by no means a trained educator and I have never taught English at such a rudimentary level. I’ve worked with ESL (English as a Second Language) learners, but all of them had an intermediate-advanced understanding of the language by the time I met them. So most of what we are doing in class is brand new and incredibly helpful in preparation to teach abroad, which is what I am 99% positive I want to do come July for a few reasons.

First, I miss teaching. Before graduation I had to make a difficult choice: do research in D.C. or teach elementary school in Dallas. Obviously, I ultimately chose to work at Carnegie because the opportunity was more competitive and limited to applicants within one year of graduation. But I miss working with kids (of all ages).

Second, I love language. One day I would love to teach a particular subject (mostly literature, but history would be fun too), but what I am really passionate about is teaching people how to use language. Immediately after graduating from high school I worked as a debate instructor and taught high school students how to write, speak, and think critically. How to build arguments orally and in writing and how to present themselves competently and confidently. I worked with all kinds of teenagers, but the ones I loved most were the shy ones. The ones who burst out of their shells when they developed even the smallest amount of confidence. In college I was a writing tutor and I loved every moment of it: whether it was the joy on an international student’s face when she began to correct her own grammar mistakes or the English major who–after hours of re-writing and dissecting sentences and meaning–beams with pride at his finished product. Any writer, any level…every human feels the basic need to be able to express themselves and be understood. And now I tutor an 8 year old girl in reading comprehension. Things have been moving slowly, but they are progressing and every victory–no matter how small it–is worth it.

Eventually I think I’d like to teach in areas with limited opportunities for education and work on education policy, both universally and at home. I want to work with different kinds of people–adults, children, early education, special education. But at this point in my life I have continuously bounced back and forth between my two principal passions (teaching and foreign affairs), which leads me to the third reason I want to teach abroad: I would get to combine my love of teaching with my love of travel. I want to explore the world, but I want to do it in a way that lets me learn from and give to the communities I visit and potentially do something worthwhile with my presence. I can’t do many things that well, but I can speak English and–with practice–I think I could be an effective teacher.

I really don’t know what I’d like to do with my life, but when I think about what really makes me tick….it all comes back to education. Few things make me more upset than the thought of the untapped potential, missed opportunities, neglect, and unnecessary hardships millions of children (and adults) experience every day because of poor access to education. And nothing is more fulfilling to me than working with kids. Even though they are loud and sticky, they make the world go round.

On that note; some words from the man for whom today is named:

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Comments:

  1. Are you getting your TESOL certification with Oxford Seminars?? It sounds exactly like the course I took in Dallas two summers ago…I loved it and deff think it helped prepare for teaching English!!

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