My class is American Regional Cuisine. This trimester, I have a series of cooking classes, also called labs, that each last 9 days. I have one lab a day that goes from 1:30 to 7:30. So anyway, in this particular class, we make full meals with many courses, and we feed the class that is taking the dining room service class. I believe there are 21 of us; 4 girls and 17 guys. Everyone is very helpful to each other and I don't sense any competition. Because we are not all making the same thing, I think that lessens the amount of competition. The first day, Monday, was just orientation. We got an overview of what we would be learning about and we got a tour of the kitchen. It is very nice, but cramped at times, and some of the burners don't work at times. But there is always enough burners for everyone anyway. The second day, Tuesday, we practiced knife cuts. I made julienne, mirepoix, brunoise and some rough chops. I also tried some tourneed (sp?) carrots but they came out pretty poorly. After class Tuesday we were all assigned dishes to make Wednesday. I was assigned to a hot wilted spinach salad. I checked out the recipe and it seemed pretty straight forward. We also had a lot of reading to do about the history of cooking and different methods of cooking. Today I made my salad, and it came out alright, except I mixed the spinach and the dressing a little too early and it came out a little too wilted. A nice guy in my class tore up some raw spinach at the last minute and added it to my salad so it was a little fresher tasting. I tried some after we were done serving, and I don't think it came out too badly. We each have a knife kit and three heavy books. We also have uniform inspection every morning, and so far, I have turned out okay. It will be a pain if I ever get turned away to neaten up because my dorm is a 15 minute walk! If we do get turned away to fix something we have to be back in half an hour. 2 latenesses equal an absence and you are allowed 2 absences for this particular class. Each chef is a little different in his/her policies for lateness, absence, and uniforms. Tomorrow we are making the same meal that we made today. Some of the other dishes in the menu today included Wisconsin cheddar cheese soup, Manhattan clam chowder, roast turkey, cranberry relish, a New England boil that included cabbage and corned beef, and some kind of shrimp dish. I look forward to making my salad tomorrow so I can fix the timing, and also so I can learn how to prepare the spinach a little faster. Everyone here is so nice so far. I like my room mates and my hall mates. I feel stressed out at the end of the day, but it isn't bad. I haven't gotten yelled at yet. Keep your fingers crossed for me!