Monday, January 23, 2012

Potato Pave

There may be more intricate recipes than Thomas Keller's for Potato Pave in Ad Hoc at Home, but since I am a potato fan and I hang around with a masonry fan (the French "pave" = cobblestone or paving stone), this dish seemed just right for a New Year's Eve celebration. Look at the glorious symmetry, achieved by the construction of foil-covered cardboard frames and the use of several measuring implements! See the delicate layering of potato on potato on potato, separated only by butter and cream! Imagine a potato dish worth waiting for after two hours of baking, cooling to room temperature, refrigerating for a day (or two), then skillet browning oh-so-perfectly!

Sometimes the teaching life feels just like this recipe: complex, multi-stepped, and requiring much patience. Slowly, and day-by-day, we piece together our plans and programs for our students. We labor over lessons. We measure, then measure again. We consult our guides and our guidebooks, checking our accuracy and adopting suggestions. We take what we know to be the right and good approach. We wait.

And then, we've got our finished product, sort of. Kids aren't ever really finished (and to think, some people would like us to be measured by just one snapshot of our students). Neither, I suppose, is this potato recipe. It was good. It was tasty. It wasn't stunning or remarkable, like I wanted it to be. Shortly after we ate, the chefs were intellectually dissecting the process, the ingredients, and their skills, which is just what we do, too, when the outcome isn't quite what we'd hoped for. But it's that hope that drives us to improve, to alter, to adjust, so that we can bring our students that much closer to stunning and remarkable, that much sooner. It's a recipe that works.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I like my potatoes whipped or mashed. I'm thinking that this might not be the best approach to my thanks for 'pave' perspective.