This time at the end of August and the start of September always has a distinctly transitional feeling. Growing up, I always felt like August 31st should be the start of a new year, but that’s my perspective as a student. But I think all our systems are so intertwined that everyone feels this routine shift similarly. The summer heat finally hints at easing up, and everyone’s pace is slightly quicker to match the days that are getting shorter. I am heading back to school for my last first day of school ever, unless for some reason I find myself in a Master’s program but that’s a different conversation. I’m packing up for my senior year of what has to be one of the most unconventional college experiences ever. Between being an older student who decided to go back to school and the world getting impacted by covid, its been an adventure. I’m gathering my CIA uniform, sharpening my knives, and reading up on pickling and curing for my first week of Garde Manger class. Garde Manger involves the cold cooking, in restaurants, which sounds like an oxymoron, but cold foods are an extremely integral part of culinary training.