Thursday, November 29, 2012

The song really doesn't end.

This is not going to be super long because my wrist is in a brace and it is hard to type. Why is it in a brace, you ask? I don't know. I just know that saute was my own personal hell today. And everyone wanted fucking fuck barbecue pork, the only thing I saute. Dicks.

I have recently picked up a weird habit. Some of you may call it a tick. I feel like that kind on The Middle who whispers things to his shirt. Which is hilarious. 

Cooking on a line does not require a whole lot of thought. It is muscle memory. Any chef or line cook will tell you, the day you are in the weeds for 3 hours is the day you add a new dish to the menu. Because you don't yet know the best way to make it. I found myself struggling with this and over thinking everything. My mind is always going a mile a minute and this was really making it hard to do my job. When I was working the pantry station it was just salad, salad, salad. You can't over think that. There is time for your mind to move a mile a minute. That is not true on a hot station where you have a flat top, grill, and saute. There is too much going on. 

So, I would let my mind wander. I would think about what I needed to do when I got home or something that happened earlier that made me laugh. This lead to me standing in the corner with a dazed look in my eyes NOT cooking food. Also a fail.

About 3 months ago I figured out the solution to my problem. I would recite a song over and over in my head. It was an accident that it happened, but I discovered that it worked. The problem with this is that I don't consciously choose the song. It stems from something someone says, a song I heard on the way to work, or whatever the pop station the pastry chef was listening to was playing. Sometimes it changes mid shift, but mostly it stays the same through the entire three hour lunch rush. Which is awesome on days that it is the song I hear on the way to work. It really sucks when it's not. Here are some of the songs that come to mind that have been three hours of slow torture:

  1. Moves like Jagger
  2. I Saw the Sign
  3. The Song That Never Ends (almost impaled myself on a knife this day)
  4. Anything by LMFAO
  5. Tomorrow (by Silverchair...that was a weird one that I can't place where it came from)
  6. Since You've Been Gone
  7. Summer Lovin' (Yes, from Grease)
  8. Umbrella
  9. It's Been a While (This was certainly brought on by someone saying that phrase)
  10. Crazy (We were talking about Alicia Silverstone and how crazy she has become and boom!)
I have thought about putting a reminder in my phone for 10:45 that would prompt songs I like. Because those days are AWESOME. Today's song was Isolation by Alter Bridge. I rocked out all through lunch. It was great. You simply cannot have a good service with The Song That Never Ends running through your head. You just can't.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1000 ways I will force you to eat Kale.

My love of food has created a monster. I went to culinary school because I loved to cook. I didn't realize that I would fall into this black hole of what food is really like. I didn't realize that I would get slapped in the face with the reality of food in this country and be disgusted by it. I didn't realize the direction this would take me.

I want to teach people how to feed themselves. I want to teach people that there is more out there than processed foods. I want to teach people that living a life only eating fresh food and produce is not only possible, it is easy. I want to help people. Unfortunately, this has always been my problem. I want to help. I want to do something to change the world. I want to be Ohio's Jamie Oliver.

One of my coworkers walked into work with a bag of quinoa that he got at the food bank. He had NO clue what the fuck to do with it. He was going to throw it out, except he heard me talking about quinoa all the time and knew I could tell him what to do with it. And I did. And he loved it. 

I have been reading up on Vegan food and learning so much about it through my minion and the effects of eating meat. Eating one vegan (or even vegetarian) meal a day does so much for the environment. I tried to google actual statistics on this and failed miserably. So, just do what I say and all will be well. (Note: I don't even do what I say.) 

This is also all tied back to the urban homestead that I want to create in our new home. 

I sent several emails to the state of Ohio today asking for information on how much aide people get from the state, in terms of dollars per day. I have been working with a homeless women's shelter and a food bank to get information on what is realistic for these people. I have been actively trying to put all of this together and to do something with it. I want to teach someone who has $5 a day in food stamps (now called SNAP?) how to eat healthy on that money. 

I walk through the grocery store and see women dragging four kids with nothing but processed sugar and complete crap in their carts and I just want to sit them down and explain the repercussions of this lifestyle. I don't want to force anything on anyone. But, I want to teach kids that food is good. It is not the enemy, the result is not obesity. I want to teach parents how to feed their kids WHOLE foods. 

So, I am trying to make this happen. I am trying to figure out a way to teach people how to eat on $5 a day. It is going to be a lot of work and I am scared I am going to fail, but it is what I want to do. It is who I want to be. 

I love to cook great food. But I think my place in this world is teaching other people how to cook great food.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I will not kill baby seals...unless they become zombies.

  1. I am going to win the power ball. Just so you know. And when I do, I will buy you all something. So, make sure to tell me what you want. As long as what you want isn't like a clubbed baby seal. I will not club a baby seal for anyone. 
  2. I went to the homeless shelter again today and then bought a woman baby formula because the price went up and she didn't have enough money. I am sitting pretty high on my helping people horse today. 
  3. My first ever Thanksgiving went awesome. I think I pulled off some pretty good food, which is good because it is my job to pull off good food. BUT I was still nervous as shit. Because that is how I do.
  4. I cut off all my hair. I do this every winter (??) and always grow it out in the summer. The problem is that I have to put my hair into a hat. And it is bob length now. So, I get this weird halo of hair that cannot be restrained, so after a lunch service I look like I stuck my finger in a mildly greasy electrical socket. What I am getting at here is that I am HOT. But I do love the new do.
  5. I am OBSESSED with The Walking Dead. Borderline creepy obsessed. In fact, right now, I am thinking to myself that I could be watching it instead of doing EVERYTHING ELSE. Like sleeping. And eating. And holding down a steady job. I can't really talk about how amazing it is because Pocket Pen and I are sort of watching it together until I skipped WAY ahead like an ass hole and I don't want to give it away. But, pretty much, all I want to do is watch it. OBSESSED.
  6. I am growing to not hate, but loathe facebook. If I can't figure out a way to block 95% of the ass holes on there, I may jump ship. I don't know how much more I can take.
  7. It took me a week of conversations and begging and pleading and renegotiating to get 4 days off work. It was painful. Everyone else just says, hey, I want this day. I get told I am screwing everyone over. I know they are just giving me shit, but over it. I need a break. I haven't taken a day off work since the last week of September. 2011. I AM EXHAUSTED.
  8. Speaking of work...or just life in general, I am super bummed lately. I don't know if it is the weather getting colder, that our big family holiday is over (we don't really do much for Christmas) or what, but I am crabby and depressed and also my entire body hurts like I am getting the flu. And everyone at work is super crabby too. I got into a screaming match today over cutting fries. FOR THE RECORD, HE SHOULD HAVE JUST CUT THEM WITHOUT THE ATTITUDE. See? Unreasonable and crabby.
  9. Rogue Dead Guy is my new favorite beer. Not really new. Just forgotten. Also it's called Rogue Dead Guy. Best. Name. For. A. Beer. Ever.
  10. One thing I can tell you about The Walking Dead...kill me if a zombie apocalypse happens. The boy pretty much told me I was the last person he wanted with him. I get super annoyed when the people are compassionate about killing the people they know that turn into zombies. Or spend too much time mourning them. It's war people, cut off heads and move along. Mourn at night, privately in your tent. Not in the middle of a field while your friends kill zombies so you can sob over your dead sister. Not cool. Also, I am a heartless ass hole.

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's all a giant, giant blur.

Day one, post restaurant week. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD IT IS OVER. I worked 76 hours in 7 days. Yes, that is about an average of 11 hours a day. And I am counting the three hours I was in the emergency room because I went back to work against medical advice. IT COUNTS. Today was my last long day until after this weekend. 

This one was bad. It went very smoothly from a customers perspective, but it was very prep heavy, so it was a lot of work behind the scenes, but the food rolled out fast, which is key. Overall a success. Everyone in my life is sick of me whining about what a hellish week it was, so I am trying not to make all of you super annoyed as well. But, dude. Fuck restaurant week. Here are some pictures of the food we ran.

 Butternut Squash Alfredo. The cool thing is that this is vegan...made with almond milk instead of cream. I am way into vegan food lately.
 Lamb sliders. Can't lose here.
 This is super out of focus? I have no idea why. It didn't appear to be when I took it. It is a brussel sprout salad with bacon balsamic vinaigrette.
 Pork Belly corn dogs. The boy asked me to make an order of these for him...he said it was the best corn dog he has ever had. The guests agreed.
 Lamb shank served with lamb stew. 
 Grilled, marinated shrimp with parsnip puree and etouffe sauce. 
 Beet and goat cheese risotto. I HATED the presentation of this dish. It looks like the squash is vomiting those pumpkin pics that are all over the place around Halloween.
 Chicken served over house-made sausage hash and topped with a jambalaya sauce. Kind of a deconstructed jambalaya...except I hate the word deconstructed when talking about food. 
Cabbage salad with sesame dressing. This might have been my favorite thing. I ate my body weight in the scraps left in the bowl.

I promise to get back to normal blogging soon. Hopefully before Thanksgiving. This has been the craziest two weeks ever and I am so excited for Saturday (Go Bucks, Beat Michigan!!) I can't even tell you. Two days off in a row feels like a vacation. 

I feel like I lost all sense of reality outside of the restaurant. What have you all been up to? What's going on in the real world?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rule #1: do not start restaurant week in the ER

Day one went not exactly as planned. I went into work at 7:30 to get ahead of the game and was fine. Felt fine, got a good nights sleep. All was well.

At almost exactly 10:00, the worst pain I had ever felt started in my lower abdomen. I thought it was just really bad cramps so I took some ibuprofen and hoped for the best. By 11:00, I was sweating and hunched over in agony. So, I bit the bullet, apologized profusely to my coworkers and drove myself to the ER. 

I was admitted pretty quickly and hooked up to an IV and given fluids and pain medication. The doctor came in to see me and wanted to do a CT scan. Based on where my pain was, he believed it was appendicitis or kidney stones, even though I did not have pain radiating in my back. At this point I called the boy and said it may be a good idea to head on down here in case I end up in an OR in the next hour or so. He showed up right after I got back from my CT.  (which on a side note, I have never had a CT, only MRI's. CT's win. They so win. They didn't even have to drug me to get me in the machine!)

Shortly after the radiologist came in and basically said I had nothing and good luck pooping. Which I didn't totally understand, but he started the discharge paperwork. Just as I was finished getting dressed, not ass hole unhelpful doctor came in and told me that by process of elimination, I was either really constipated (even though the CT did not show this) or I had an ovarian cyst that burst. He suspected the latter and prescribed me some Vicodin to get through the next few days. He recommended to take Metamucil three times a day just in case, but guessed it was the cyst. 

So, I returned to work because I felt completely fine. Until the pain meds wore off. I immediately called the boy and had him bring me more because I could barely stand up. I have never been in so much pain it caused me to sweat until today. Holy hell.

On my way home from work, I stopped to pick up the prescription for Vicodin and the following conversation happened.

Pharmacist: Ma'am, do you know how many of these to take a day?
Me: I don't really like taking pain medication, so I will only take them as needed. 
Pharmacist: Well, make sure not to take more than eight.
Me: (Blinking rapidly with my mouth hanging open) Um. OK.
Pharmacist: The wording is very unclear. Please don't take more than eight.
Me: I don't even know what to say to that. Um. I won't.
Pharmacist: I need your word that you will not take more than eight.
Me: You have my word. I will take only one at a time.
Pharmacist: Thank you, ma'am. Have a good day.

Just. What? Is there some rash outbreak of idiots who get prescribed pain meds and think that they should just pop the whole prescription at once and hope for the best? It was definitely the weirdest conversation I have ever had with a pharmacist. 

I hope all of you had a better Monday than I did. 

Day two has to get better.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


It's that time of year again! Restaurant Week! Today is my last day off until Thanksgiving...which I am cooking this year. Heaven forbid I should ever NOT bite off more than I can chew. So, I am going to spend this day out in the lovely fall weather, not on my couch blogging. I will try to post at least some pictures of the food we are doing over the next week and a half and definitely of the first Thanksgiving.

If you don't hear from me until after the holidays, you know why. 

In the meantime, we are doing vegan food every Thursday at the restaurant in an attempt to lure in a new group of diners. We really only have one vegan restaurant in the city, and they buy all their stuff premade. A few restaurants have vegan options, but really, the city isn't catering to this crowd. This was our feature last week, cauliflower steaks with a tomato coulis and balsamic reduction. I just think this is one of the prettiest plates of food we have ever done. 

Happy Holidays everyone. If you are travelling, safe travelling. If you are cooking, brine your turkey!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

This is a very needy post...but all advice is appreciated.

  1. Neil is back to peeing on everything. We took him to the vet yesterday and got bladder stones. So, it is definitely behavioral. Anyone know how to psychoanalyze a cat? Because we are at a loss and kind of just want him to stop peeing on everything. And kitty Xanax, while hilarious, does not seem to be helping.
  2. I have a pet peeve about things like Jesus toast. Dude. It's a coincidence, it is not a sign from God conveyed on your toast that you are somehow more blessed than the average person. It is also not worth a crazy amount of money on eBay. So, we are watching the game on Saturday and a friend pulls out a picture from a fire that her store had and asked me what I saw. I immediately blurt out "death having dinner with a rabbit." Because, well, that's what it looked like. Everyone else thought it was a penis with an angel. They were wrong. It even had a cute little bunny nose. Little did I know, the person who took it thought it was the Virgin Mary and Joseph. She was also wrong. It was death having dinner with a rabbit. I couldn't get a good picture of the picture or I would show you and you would all agree. Because I am right.
  3. I am doing a chef's dinner to benefit a friend of mine's daughter. She has inoperable brain cancer and is dying. The doctors gave her 1 month once the tumor starts growing again. I am hoping that it never does, but that is only a 3% chance. I am super nervous because I have never really done anything like this and I want it to be perfect for my friend. And I want to raise a bunch of money for their charity. But, I am donating all the food, so I have to do it on a serious budget. Does a hummus app, beet salad, grilled pork tenderloin, and tres leches cake sound like a decent dinner for like $50? Or is that way too much? UGH. So nerve wracking. That is $12.50 a course. That is reasonable, right? 
  4. We finally hung out with our neighbors on Halloween. They came over for trick or treat and to hang out. We have the same house, so it was kind of fun to hear about all the differences and I can't wait to see their house. I was really nervous because what if they were terrible? What if you hate them and now there is this awkward neighbor vibe? That is not at all what happened. They were beyond awesome. He is a super computer dork like the boy and she is kind of artsy and out there like me. We hit it off immediately and I can't wait until we get to hang out with them again. 
  5. I was painting the trim in our bathroom and that is sort of Neils room because his food and litterbox is in there. I now have a spotted cat. Because, of course, our trim is white. And he is not. How do I not foresee these things?
  6. So, I have two pinterest stories. The first is that it makes me want to dress in a stylish manner. Most of  my time is surrounded by guys in chef coats that smell like fryer oil. It's not super inspiring to try to dress better. Pinterest has the opposite effect. I pin outfit after outfit that I love. But, I have no idea where to go or how to create said outfits. I am going to need someone to dress me. And also to do my hair everyday because I am terrible at it. Can you guys just make that happen for me? Because that would be great.
  7. Pinterest is constantly posting these crockpot meals. For those of you not on it, you basically spend one day cooking and make a months worth of meals that you freeze in freezer bags. Most of them are cooked in the crockpot, but some can be cooked in skillets or lasagnas that are baked, etc. There are one or two little stores around town that do the same thing, but you have to go in and cook it with them and then take it home. I have this business idea (please don't steal it) where I make these meals for people. No processed foods. And I would make you 30 days worth of meals that just needed to be thawed the day before. I would mostly market to moms because I have no idea how they have time to cook. Obviously you could use them as needed or use them everyday. Is this a good idea? I realize that this list is requiring a lot of feedback. Would any of you buy something like this? 
  8. The boy was out with the guys tonight which means I got to eat shrimp! I don't think I have ever told any of you this here, but he refuses to eat any seafood of any kind and hates it when I cook it when he is home. There is a whole hazmat like seafood disposal process I go through. It is ridiculous. The things we do for love.
  9. Election day is almost here and I am nervous. I have already voted, so my part is done. I am just really worried this is going to go south. Friends of mine, sensible friends, disagree with my political standings. I have never before said, hey, one candidate is right and one is wrong before. I have always stood by everybody's right to their own opinion. I disagree in this election. The way Romney feels about women's rights, equal pay, the scares me. It scares me for the future of this country. I make $22,000 a year. I take home $1446 a month. That is just under $18,000 a year. I don't have health insurance because I can't afford it. Nor will anyone give it to me because of my back. I take ZERO government assistance. I pay for all of my medical bills out of pocket, including the astronomical price of birth control. If anything serious happened to me, I would need government assistance to pay for medical bills. I would probably need help paying for food and paying my bills. If anything ever happened to the boy, I would be homeless. (Family or friends would take me in, but this house would be gone.) Not everyone who needs government assistance is a mooch, is immoral, is lazy. Sometimes people just need help. 
  10. The owner of our restaurant owns a firehouse across the street and is in the process of remodeling it to move the restaurant. Part of his plan is to have the guests walk through the kitchen to get to the patio. The kitchen where we make constant dick jokes. Where we call each other mother fuckers. Where we yell and scream and laugh and are so inappropriate it is scary. Making me appropriate for the public is a near impossible task. This is a terrible plan, right? 

Friday, November 2, 2012

It was a bad week. Alternate Title: Maybe I need the bubble.

"How long did you have a pulse in your finger?"

"Maybe a day or so. I had to wrap it in a plastic bag for a week because it hurt when water hit it."

"I'm not too worried about the pain. When you hurt yourself as much as I do, you manage to build a really high tolerance for pain."

"How many times have you hurt yourself today?"

"Three. I can't even give you a count on the last seven days."

"You should really be more careful."

"Thanks ass hole. I never thought of that."

This is a word for word conversation I had with my coworker this week. I have really good weeks and I walk away injury free. And then I have weeks like this one. 

And for the record, day 3 on the above injury and I took a normal shower and stopped bandaging the wound. It just proves my point that either a. men are total pussies or b. I have a ridiculously high tolerance for pain. 

And the thing is that I am careful. You should see me on a step ladder...I am so terrified of falling off it I sometimes start shaking. Before I get on a step ladder I assess the situation, find places to hold on to while I am up there, back out plans if the thing breaks. I know how accident prone I am. I don't know why I am this way, but I am. I hurt myself ALL THE TIME. Constant unknown bruises. Although, I am borderline anemic, so I bruise very easily. And I never remember to take my daily vitamin.

Anyway, the point of this story. This was a REALLY bad week. It started with me somehow losing my balance and falling into the bathtub. Taking the shower curtain/rod with me. Luckily ours is not attached to the walls. That ended in several bruises on my arm, a bruise on my butt, and this doozy. I took this picture a few days post fall. 

Last Wednesday is when the above conversation took place. It started with this:

In my defense, I have been there when everyone I work with has done the exact same thing. The way a chef holds a knife/ what they are cutting is designed for this kind of injury versus cutting off a finger. Knuckles and fingers are often shaved with the sucks when you take off a giant chunk of your fingernail. Especially when said fingernail is starting to turn purple. I am REALLY hoping it doesn't fall off. 

The other two injuries were both grease related. One of them, serious. One of them not. 

I was dropping fries for our pantry guy and the fryer oil spit in just the right eye. I couldn't see at all for a good 15 minutes, then had blurry vision for about 30 minutes. I almost went to the emergency room, but after washing it out with water and my vision returning, decided against it. About five minutes later, it splattered all over my hand, causing this:

That little tiny blister on my knuckle? That is what I am talking about. The blister right below it happened a few days before. An the other two scars by my pointer finger and the base of my thumb were last week. Everyone at work is convinced I have some weird skin disorder where I blister too much. My arms and hands are like war zones.

The moral of this story is that hurting myself so much has made me super paranoid. I get that kitchens are a tad more dangerous than the average job, but I have always been like this. And now I am getting scared to take risks of any kind. It is weird. I freak out driving on the highway in the rain. I can't even imagine what this winter and driving in the snow is going to be like. Sometimes my crazy isn't funny and this is slowly becoming one of those times. Don't get me wrong, the shower incident...the boy walked in to me cracking the fuck up and lying in the bathtub. It's still kind of funny.

But, when does paranoia take over? And when is it valid? Am I going to become an agoraphobic and raise children in bubbles? (That was a terrible movie.) 

I had my first concussion at 6 months. Maybe I should just resign myself to the fact that this is what my life will be like. 90 year old woman with 12 broken hips under her belt. Awesome.