I feel like I should be overjoyed about this, and I am. But deep inside of me, I feel like there’s a dark sense of… uncertainty. I feel like my heart’s asking that even though we achieved what I’ve wanted all along, was what I did to get here right? My past self thought so, but now I am beginning to doubt myself. Maybe these thoughts were brought on by my dear Theresa leaving me.
I have to be honest with you, mother, I thought the Reign was a good idea at the time. The other men, Danton, Robespierre, and some others you may know, all thought it was a good idea as well. But as time went on, and I saw the lives of thousands of innocent people come to an end, including dear Danton’s, I did not feel as certain anymore. However, when I brought up this concern with Robespierre, he seemed at certain as ever to keep going. I was scared of Robespierre at the time, so I couldn’t do anything but comply to his wishes.
Eventually, when I got that terrifying note from Theresa to stand up to Robespierre and end the Reign, or she would leave me, I decided that that was what I needed to do. Needless to say, I was successful in ending the Reign, but I ended up getting on Robespierre’s death list. Mother, I was terrified then. I thought I was dead for sure. For a last ditch attempt at saving my life, myself and a few others on Robespierre’s death list ended up coming to form a conspiracy against him, so we would kill him before he could kill us. You know how that played out.
I thought I did my best. I was baffled and so heartbroken when Theresa said I had failed her and couldn’t live with someone who had done so many horrible things. I loved her dearly; and though I knew she didn’t like some of the things I did, I thought she’d understand that it was for the greater good. But she didn’t understand, and now she’s with another man. I treasured her so dearly, mother, I wish it hadn’t ended this way.
Though I’m happy that the monarchy is overthrown and France’s revolution was successful, I need a break from politics for now. Maybe, just maybe, the break might be for good.
I am writing to you as I have some very exciting news to share with you. I hope you remember Teresa, my lady, who you and father had just met when we visited last Christmas. As you know, I have fallen in love with this lady, and I finally gathered the courage to ask her to be my wife. Yes, mother, I am getting married!
Everything just feels so much brighter with her in my life, though it helps that my job is going well too. I remember how I was just a young clerk a few years ago, doing nothing but helping sort papers and writing little articles occasionally. I remember the joy I felt as I slowly gained popularity and experience, and was promoted to overseer of the printing department. There, I published articles that snagged the attention of the Jacobin leaders. This eventually lead to my entrance into the party, where I was finally able to pursue my true calling.
How I remember dreaming about one day, making a change in our France. Overthrowing the monarchy. Leading the revolution against the government. I have surprised even myself at how quickly these things came to me when I set my mind to it. Despite my youth, I was admitted into the insurrectional Commune of Paris as secretary, the Committee of Public Safety and later into the National Convention. This is where I am now, high atop “The Mountain”, where I am a part of making major decisions.
And now, largely thanks to us, the king and queen are finally slain! What an enormous win. And now, myself and a few others such as Danton are planning a little something that will secure the victory for us… you’ll see in a little bit, mother. I don’t know if you’ll like it so much, but it is for the greater good.
But even without all of this going on, Teresa is going to become my bride soon. I can not wait; mother, she is such an amazing lady. I am so incredibly lucky to have her, and I can not wait for us to start a new chapter of our lives together. I hope you are able to make the time to attend our glorious wedding.
Robespierre had become unbearable, even to his own accomplices. The members of the committees were in a power struggle with him, and were afraid that sooner or later, they would become his victims. […] But soon Robespierre, through his speeches and actions, would give “hope to the damned” for Tallien, Bourdon-de l’Oise, Legendre, Le Cointre, and others, who feared sharing the fate of Danton and Lacroix. Every tyrant who threatens but does not strike, is himself struck.
Tallien, Bourdon and two or three other Montagnards who had been threatened could no longer sleep, so, to defend themselves, they formed a conspiracy against Robespierre. But how to go about overthrowing him?
This document was created by Pierre-Toussaint Durand de Maillane, from his book Histoire de la Convention Nationale (Paris: Baudouin, 1825). This can be found here.
This document is significant because it is one of the turning points in the war. Whereas Robespierre was a huge influence in the revolution, leading the Jacobins and holding tremendous power, his very own comrades began to turn against him. Robespierre, sensing this, essentially created a list of people he wanted dead. This list got released, and the people on this list, out of fear and anger, planned a conspiracy against him. They were successful, and Robespierre was overthrown.
This action was very important to the French Revolution because it was the point where a big leader was overthrown. This completely changed the course of the revolution.
This document is very relevant to my character, Jean Lambert Tallien, because Tallien was one of the ones on Robespierre’s list of people he wanted dead. He played a large role in the planning of Robespierre’s downfall, for two main reasons: his wife at the time called him a coward for not taking action against him, and he was now on Robespierre’s death list.
In-Depth night is only a little over a month away! It’s hard to believe that I’ve been cooking seriously for almost three months now, either cooking or baking almost every day. I feel like I’ve been able to experience making a wide variety of goods during this time, and I’m very satisfied with what I’ve been able to learn and accomplish during this project. My mentor has also been wonderful this whole time, and my cooking skills have flourished under her support, enthusiasm, and thorough knowledge. Now it’s time to start thinking about what I want to serve at in-depth night, and how I want to set up my station. There’s a lot to consider, but I have a lot of time to plan, so I hope my station will turn out nicely!
During this week’s session, I decided I wanted to do a bit of baking, and decided to make two different desserts: lemon squares and date squares. I’ve never made a dessert like this before, and when I’ve baked, it’s always been cakes or cookies. The lemon squares were quite interesting to make, because I had to take a lot of steps, like make and bake the crust before I put the filling on. I also had to make a date jam filling to put in the middle of the date squares, which was also quite tedious. I had to cut up and pit the dates, and sauté them with water until the mixture thickened. I had to be quite careful while doing this, to keep the bottom from burning.
Overall, I hardly needed my mentor’s help for this session. It was a slightly challenging recipe, but I realized I had gathered enough knowledge and comfort in the kitchen that I could work through the problems on my own, with minimal to no instruction from her. Obviously I am not a master of cooking yet, but I really think that I’ve mastered the basics of cooking, and am competent in the kitchen.
Since in-depth night is still a month away, I only have the rough ideas of what I’m going to have at my learning center on the night. My rough plan is to have a learning center set up, where I could give out some samples of food that I think would be appropriate for handing out. There’s a lot of things to consider when choosing which foods to hand out, which include price of ingredients, time to prepare the food, allergies and food preferences of guests, how long I can store the food, how I can prepare the food on the night itself, et cetera. After considering all of these factors, my mentor and I decided to have two different types of samples: a main-course food and a baked dessert. The main-course food I’ll serve will probably be something like vegetarian chili. We chose veggie chili because not including meat will allow non-meat eaters to try my sample, will save me money if I don’t include meat, and chili is widely liked. I will probably do something simple for the baked sample, like a bite-sized cookie, because those ingredients are cheap as well, and are generally a crowd pleaser.
I’ll probably have the cookies on a plate with napkins that people can take from, and will serve the chili from a slow cooker (on warm) into little cups with little spoons much like they do at Costco. As for the rest of the learning center, I’ll probably have a poster of some sort which has pictures from my project and some fun facts. I plan to decorate my learning center with a nice tablecloth and maybe some cute kitchen decorations or interesting kitchen gadgets.
All in all, it was an extremely fun adventure I’ve had with my mentor in the kitchen. Though it’s not over yet, I am very pleased with what I’ve been able to accomplish up until now. Cooking is a very valuable skill to have, and I’m sure that I’ll thank myself in the future for learning how to cook well. Hopefully I can keep getting better at I get older, and have fun in the kitchen for the rest of my life!
It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. I am very sorry about that, but I am twenty-three now, and find myself quite busy with my own life. Though I long to visit you and the rest of the family again, I am just too busy with my new job that I don’t think I’ll be able to anytime soon.
Life at the office I work at is very hectic, though I am young and new to the job. All I do is the clerical work for the lawyers that work there, sorting and processing papers day in and day out. It’s not a very interesting job, and there isn’t much to it. However, I am sometimes privy to some interesting information through my work. Much of it doesn’t have much meaning other than personal interest, but there’s one thing that sometimes comes up about a revolution here. A revolution, mother.
I do not know what could happen for sure, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot. It makes me so angry that the nobility of this country live in such splendor while the rest of us suffer. Imagine if they were to share a bit of their food and wealth to the rest of the country. We are not so poor as to suffer from hunger, but there is a famine going around. I see people in the streets starving all of the time, while all of the country’s funds go towards the lavish lives of the nobility. Just imagine if the nobility were all overthrown. This dream may become a reality.
Can you even imagine what our lives could be like if the rebels succeeded? Our lives as a whole would be infinitely better!
But these are just my dreams. I don’t know it’ll happen, but I will be there if it does. Maybe I’ll even do something to initiate it, if I ever get anywhere other than this office. I have a lot of experience in writing and journaling, so maybe I’ll do something with that. I’m considering I might leave my post to join a printer’s office so I have a bit more power and influence, and may even be able to publish my views in a medium that’ll get heard. But there’s a risk in that, too. But what’s life without a few risks?
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I’m fine away from home. You don’t have to worry about me.
As you may be able to tell from my meme above, this meme is a screenshot of a draft of a tweet. This is because, though I really tried to be witty and funny through my meme, it didn’t really turn out that way. Despite the lack of humour, I think I was able to successfully include all 3 aspects of the socials meme: big idea, Zinn, and current events.
In this meme, I tried to showcase that many people are using the constitutional amendments to defend or justify their beliefs, in ways the creators of the constitution probably didn’t intend. For example, a common amendment used in this way is the second amendment, which essentially states that everyone* is allowed to bear arms. This is evident through laws such as one in Alaska, where the law states it is legal to carry a gun into a bank, because of the right to bear arms. In my opinion, this is a very questionable law, and probably wasn’t what the founding fathers expected when creating the amendments.
I also wanted to show through the meme that the amendments are very old, and a lot has changed in our world since they were written. There have been many technological advancements (like discovering germs), political advancements, and huge social advancements since then. These amendments are quite outdated, but they are still used to dictate what happens in our world today (a very different one from their times). Whether or not we should do something to change this is controversial, and is a topic for another time.
This meme connects to the big idea “emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events”. I think that the idea of everyone* being able to bear arms after becoming its own country was a huge new idea back then, and that idea still is profoundly influencing the current events of today.
*that is eligible under the constitution (i.e. citizens)
This week, I was going to focus on pasta recipes, because pastas are easy and often delicious. However, as my mentor and I were deciding on exactly which recipe to make, my mom intervened and requested I make paella this week. Since my mom is my mom, our pasta plans were cast aside, and this week we made PAELLA!
I have never seen paella in my life, so I didn’t really know what my mom was asking for. However, I had a recipe in hand, and was ready to start preparing it. The first step in this is buying all of the ingredients. I usually omit this part of the cooking in my blog posts as it is usually very straightforward, but buying various kinds of fresh seafood, and spending $15 on what was basically half a tablespoon of saffron (a super expensive spice that is basically only used in paella) was a new experience for me. But once I had all of the ingredients, it was time to get cooking!
I didn’t really know what to expect, but I definitely did not expect it to be so much work to prepare. In the paella, fresh prawns were needed, so my mentor and I spent a ton of time taking the meat out of the prawns, which was very dull and painstaking. As well, I had to clean the mussels, which I have also never dealt with before. We ended up calling a fish store on how to prepare the mussels for cooking, as neither of us really knew how to do so. The rest of the recipe was quite straightforward, but overall, the whole dish took so long that our session ended before we were able to make the second pasta dish we had planned to make. It was a lot of hard work, and I have never made a dish so challenging, painstaking, and expensive to make before. For those reasons, one would hope that it would be amazing once it turns out. But alas, unlike the rest of the dishes I’ve made in the past, I came to the conclusion that I really dislike mussels and paella isn’t really my thing (or maybe it was my cooking?).
All that hard work and disappointment aside, I have started making more and more desserts at home on my own. I’ve really started to develop an interest for dessert-making, and had recently made various granola bars and cookies. I have also tried making mug cakes, which are cakes you can prepare in one minute and cook in the microwave, which are often surprisingly good. However, the highlight out of the desserts I’ve made this week is the Oreo cheesecake I made! It was pretty easy to make, and I burnt it a little bit, but otherwise it turned out great!
Here are the answers to this week’s questions:
What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far? Why?
My most difficult mentoring challenge so far has been how I still continue to get flustered around my mentor, especially when a task is taking a very long time. For example, this week, preparing the prawns took an embarrassing long amount of time, which made me feel like my mentor was bored. Since she is doing me a favor by being my mentor, I really felt guilty for making her wait while I went as fast as I could. She has told me multiple times that it is okay and that I should take my time because cooking is all about practice, but I still continue to get flustered when this happens.
What is working well? Why?
I think the bond that my mentor and I have formed is working very well, and really helps make our sessions together fun. While we are cooking, we are able to talk about things other than cooking, such as happenings in our personal lives and interesting stories from the past. Talking to her is really fun, and despite our age difference, she is starting to feel like more of a friend than just a mentor.
What could be working better? How can you make sure this happens?
I think the communication that happens right before sessions between my mentor and I could be improved on. Since they are often last minute, it makes it quite difficult to be able to go buy all the ingredients we need for a recipe before the session begins. Though it has always worked out, my mom and I always find we need to rush to buy all of the ingredients before the session begins, because we decide on which recipe to cook at a very late time. To prevent this problem, I could try emailing her at least 5-7 days before a session to decide on a recipe (rather than 2 or 3) so we have plenty of time to gather the ingredients and there is no rush.
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for lots of cooking going on during spring break!
I’m so happy to be able to wholeheartedly say that cooking, for the most part, doesn’t feel painful or like a chore anymore. When I had tried to cook before, I really didn’t know what to do at all, and all I really felt was frustration and anger when I tried to cook. Now, primarily with the help of my mentor during cooking sessions, as well as my mother who is also a good cook, Chef Abbinante and the assistant chefs of our school’s Cook Training course, and practice on my own time, I have begun to get a feel for the things around the kitchen. Everything is slowly becoming more familiar, easier, and faster, and so my world in the kitchen is become steadily brighter. To my surprise, over the past two weeks, I’ve found myself cooking—for fun!?—to produce results that I, along with my taste buds, are quite happy with.
For this week’s session, Ann and I had decided on doing two meals, rather than just one, which would teach me efficiency and challenge me what many people face in the kitchen: having multiple things going at once, and learning how to manage them. We did not want to go too far out of my reach, though, so we decided on two simple yet tasty dishes, which were a spinach-lentil soup and a lemony chicken pan dinner. I started with the soup, because my mentor said that soup generally tastes better the more you let it simmer, which I could do while I was preparing the pan dinner. So I began to prepare the soup as my mentor watched on. This was quite simple for me, as it was mainly adding and mixing ingredients at the right times, and I was able to carry a pleasant conversation with my mentor as I completed the soup. Though I mostly agreed with this recipe, I felt like it was really lacking in vegetables, which I think is really important, especially in soups (for nutrition and taste). I asked my mentor if it would be okay to add some more vegetables because of this, but she said that I really should try a recipe at least once exactly how it’s written. This way, I’ll have a better chance of knowing what went wrong if something in the recipe felt off. I’m glad I followed her advice, because when I tasted the soup, it tasted very salty, which we figured out was from the vegetable broth. Now I know that for next time, I’ll need to use a different type of vegetable broth.
Once the soup was simmering, it was time to start making the pan dinner. I’ve never dealt with raw chicken before, and was kind of scared of doing so, so this experience was quite new to me. I’ve also never really made or eaten a pan dinner, and have only seen them on places like cooking shows. I was pleased to find out that though everything was new to me, it was actually quite easy to make, and utilized the skills I already had in a new way. With my mentor’s guidance, it was done in no time.
Both dishes yielded great results, and I would definitely make both again. I was especially impressed with the pan dinner, which was really easy to make, with only a few ingredients, which ended up tasting very good. Because it was so good, I made a pan dinner on my own (as practice), with a different marinade, which was equally easy and almost as tasty.
—Answers to this week’s questions—
What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?
I think that how Ann and I’s lighthearted conversations that we have really help both of us enjoy the time we spend together, which makes the mentoring sessions much more fun than they would be. She and I get along very well, and despite the age difference, I feel like we’re becoming to develop a friendship through the sessions. Talking to her from everything from cooking tips to details of our own lives while I cook really helps me enjoy myself, which is really important in this project.
Were you communicating effectively with one another? Explain.
As touched on above, I think we were communicating really well. Not only did we have the interesting conversations for fun, we also are very attentive during the sessions. I always make sure I am asking questions whenever I am unsure, and she always tries her best to answer my questions and support me when I need it. We have not had any miscommunications or problems with anything so far in our sessions.
What learning challenges emerged?
I think that since I am still not that skilled in the various aspects of cooking, it often takes me a long time to complete tasks, such as cutting vegetables finely. It is also hard for me to work with spices, especially knowing how much to use, which one to use (if it’s not specified), which spices work well together, and especially what spices to use if I do not have the one listed. My mentor really helps me out in this aspect, and I am beginning to pick up on how to use spices. Overall, though, I’ve faced some little challenges but no major ones so far, and everything has rolled very smoothly!
Overall, I am very pleased with how my progress is going. I also made some other dishes, like a honey-Dijon chicken dinner and an apple bread loaf, on my own! Both turned out pretty good, and I enjoyed myself while making them. Hopefully I can cook more on my own in the weeks to come!
I have to admit that my hands were a little bit sweaty as I turned the doorknob to welcome my mentor into my home. It was the first time I was with her one-on-one, and I’d never done something where I was privately taught and assessed by a teaching figure. It was a nerve-wracking first experience, and I was really scared that I would mess up somehow, and make her feel as if I was wasting her time. Thankfully, much like her granddaughter, Ann was very sweet from the beginning, and was unbelievably enthusiastic and encouraging from the moment she stepped into my kitchen.
To take a step back in time, even before she had come, we had used email to plan our first meeting. Through the email, we had decided a perfect first dish for me, as well as a recipe to use. Ann had carefully selected a fairly simple recipe for me, and gave me a long list of tips I should consider before preparing the recipe, which was very helpful (see fig. 1).
As I pulled out and measured all of the ingredients to make chicken pot pie as she suggested, she and I began to talk about her experiences cooking, and how she came to know so much about cooking. Ann told me she had gained the knowledge from numerous cooking classes, including prestigious ones (she told me a story about how she went abroad to Greece this summer to learn more about Greek culinary techniques with people from all around the world!), and decades and decades of cooking experience in her own kitchen and in others. She told me that she quickly developed a love for cooking at a young age, and feels as if it is her therapy. She says that even though she is quite competent in the kitchen, she never stops learning, and still loves to take opportunities to learn more about various branches of cooking!
This conversation carried into while I began to prepare the first step of the pie, which was chopping up the vegetables, such as carrots and onions. Though my technique is fairly good, my speed is very slow for cutting vegetables. Ann said the only thing I could do to become faster is constant practice, which I will be doing a lot of over the course of the project. However, I was so slow that I felt like I was burdening my mentor, so I tried to chop faster, getting flustered letting my technique slip. Unsurprisingly, I ended up slicing my finger instead of the carrot, and through the pain, I realized that I should focus on my technique and not let the nerves of my mentor watching me let my safety be at risk.
Once the cutting was out of the way, we began to prepare the rest of the pie, which included sautéing the vegetables, adding the chicken broth, et cetera. Everything was going fine and she was offering only tips and words of encouragement until it was time to add the chicken broth. When I opened the chicken broth, I realized that the inner seal was already open, even though we had just opened it, and we deemed unsafe to use. Since we didn’t have any more chicken broth at home, we needed to be creative with the materials I had. I was very flustered at this point, because I felt like the whole dish would be ruined without the broth, but Ann stayed totally calm and supportive as she ran though possible suggestions for substitutions. We finally decided on using canned cream of mushroom soup and water to add flavor to the mixture, which is quite different from broth but is still a creative and acceptable substitution. Even on our first real meeting, I had run into quite a serious problem, and together we were able to creatively problem solve our situation.
And then we were done. The pie was in the oven, and we were able to sit down and chat about more tips and recipes that she liked and recommended. Some examples of food tips that she gave me were that I should put in frozen peas into various casseroles right before I put it in the oven so they don’t overcook, and to cook chicken, a good way to do it is to broil it in a saucepan with a layer of water.
Though our first real meeting, I was able to get to know Ann quite well, and we were able to discover a way of teaching/learning that would benefit both of us the most. Her style of teaching has taught me so far that being calm and encouraging, even when things go wrong, is the most important part of letting the student thrive. Other things like going in small steps, getting to know your student, and letting them make their own choices with guidance if they are going off track are also very important. I will definitely keep these things in mind when it comes to me developing as a mentor in the future.
In addition to this chicken pot pie, I have also made some other dishes and goodies on my own for practice and for fun (such as granola bars) that I did not take pictures of, but I will make sure to do so in the future. Stay tuned!
Eating is one of my favorite pastimes. Ever since I was very little, always loved all different types of food, and would eat everything and anything. However, it was always my mother preparing my food for me, and now that I am getting closer to moving out and despite my love of eating, I still have almost no idea what to do in a kitchen. That bothers me, because cooking is a skill that I believe I really need for my future, and learning how to do it well, and how to make it fun I think is very valuable for my future of living on my own. Therefore, my in-depth project this year is… cooking! I’m very excited for this, and I hope that by the end of the project, I won’t feel lost at all in a kitchen.
However, cooking is a very broad topic to cover in 5 months. That’s why I chose to go in-depth into what is most practical for me to go into, which is focusing on dinner-type dishes, dishes/snacks I can store and take to-go (like pizza buns), and possibly simple desserts. I like these options, especially the dinner one, because since my mom gets home from work late every day, often it is on me to cook dinners. Since I can’t cook many dishes anyways, and I have a busy sports schedule, my family usually ends up eating basic spaghetti (too often). Over the course of the project, along with learning how to make the types of dishes listed above, I plan to pick up basic kitchen safety rules, tips and tricks on various topics like how to store certain food items, more efficient ways to shorten the time in the kitchen, and some basic presentation techniques. This seems like a lot to accomplish in 5 months, but I think I’ll be able to do it, especially since I will be practicing a lot at home (cooking more out of necessity but also for practice), and I have an awesome mentor to help me!
Though I didn’t struggle to find this mentor, thanks to the advice of Alyssa, I struggled a lot to land on a project that was a good fit for me to do. I bounced around many project, and was planning on doing computer programming until I ran into mentor difficulties. I managed to overcome this obstacle by thinking of many different reasonable options that I would enjoy doing, and I decided on cooking, which may be the option most beneficial to my future.
My mentor’s name is Ann Turcott who, like the last name suggests, is Alyssa’s grandmother. She has taken numerous cooking courses in the past, and is a very qualified cook. Though I’ve only met her once so far, I believe that we could collaborate well, and make this project a huge success. With her, I plan to meet with her bi-weekly either at her house or mine, and we’ll start off with learning kitchen basics. Gradually, I will start making dishes that are harder and harder, learning tips and tricks along the way. I plan to start brainstorming which food items would be good (easy to distribute and tasty) to give out on in-depth night, and possibly preparing them.
As for my final product, I do not plan to have just one item, but numerous ones. Every dish I make, gradually increasing in difficulty, would all be documented as my final product. As well, I would make a large amount of some number of dishes that I would bring to the night and display/serve to interested guests. These dishes will probably be dishes that are appealing, easy to eat, and bite-sized. I am leaning towards having snack or dessert type items to serve because they fit the criteria better, but I will also bring samples of dinner dishes that will be for display only.
I am really glad that I chose cooking for my in-depth, because I think it’ll really help me out later on, and I want to be able to help out my mom (who cooks for the family) who does so much for us. I’m really excited to have my first session with my mentor this weekend, and I can’t wait to get going on this project!
It’s finally time for the great and fabled in-depth project! Contrary to many of the other nines, I have not done an in-depth project before, nor any project that offered me so much freedom that I practically can choose to study anything that my heart desires! I am quite an…