If It Was Only A Sabbatical – Flash Fiction Snippet

Photo by Alyson McPhee on Unsplash

Over the last year I have written down snippets and little plotlines, even dialogue of a cooking story that has no real basis other than just inserting some of it into my writing life. Since cooking and the restaurant world is so much a part o f my life these days, I can’t help but write about it. I have ideas of some sort of novel, maybe a bit biographical, but I’m not sure. Mostly it’s just playing around with scenes. So after Coffeeman left, I found myself channeling the situation in a different way. What if Coffeeman was leaving only for a sabbatical or something. It would be hard, but doable. Right now, doable is just survival. Surviving till the next change. Nothing so wonderful as sabbatical. (you would not believe how many times I’ve spelled that word wrong.)

So here is something I wrote in my journal on September 5th. With a few edits. Of course.

She let her knife sink into the freshest tomato, still nearly warm from the sun. Slice, slice, slice. Perfect rounds of flesh. It was all she could focus on right now. The prep list was too long, Micha was leaving in a few days, the boys in the kitchen, from line cook to dishwasher, were all acting up, and she was about ready to fall apart. Tired, apprehensive. Could she do what Micha had faith in her for? Did she know enough?

She was ready to swear at anyone who stepped out of line. A recent run in with a shelf, which had left a nasty bruise on her underarm, had left her swearing a blue streak that left all in earshot giving her a wide berth and wary look. She was nearly in tears when she bent back a fingernail after prying at a cambro.

“You know you’re going to be fine,” came Micha’s voice from her left, scaring her out of mind and musings. She let her knife hit the board with a whack and glared at him.

“Don’t do that!” she growled. He just chuckled at her and slid a coup of coffee over too her.She accepted it with a nod and leaned her hip against the counter with a sigh. He was sipping at one of his many cups that she found floating around the kitchen throughout the day.

“Have you taken a break and gotten something to eat?”

She shook her head the tiredness hitting her. The sadness. She was already missing him and the little things she knew were going to be gone. Things like him asking if she ate before her sugar dove and she started threatening everyone with bodily harm and a knife.

“Go eat something. Take ten and come back when you’ve done that. This will wait.

“Bu—”

“No buts, just go.” He shooed her with a direct look.

She made a face at him, but didn’t argue, setting her knife on a towel and heading off to the line to see if there was still some soup from an earlier family meal.

The French Laundry

Nothing much. A touch off of the characters from Just A Day, Just An Ordinary Day… Not – Flash Fiction because I like them and well, yeah. So enjoy. I’m picturing a very different kitchen than what I work in. Something along the kitchen from The French Laundry. It’s so open and pretty. I want a kitchen like that. When I first started working at my place, I was bummed by no windows and no clocks. We never knew what time it was. It was my own insane asylum. Now, I’ve gotten used to it, and I am out in front where the windows are a lot of the time so I can see out and it helps. But I still dream of open kitchens. Lots of windows and natural light. I think all our moods would be better.

Kate

Seasons Change And…

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Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

Autumn is here. It’s funny how it hits so differently depending on where you live in the country and how it affects you differently than someone else. I was talking to Nathan the other day and it isn’t even ‘fall’ where he’s at, yet here leaves are changing and the colors are happening and it is clearly autumn, in that glorious setting of warm days, brisk mornings, and chill nights. The smells are out of this world. I LOVE autumn. Always have. I love the seasonal shift much more these days than before when I was this total Autumn girl. Now, give me summer, give me spring. Even winter has a part of my body enclosed around it now. But still, Autumn holds her hand on me the most.

I haven’t gotten around to writing about it much, being that I get super distracted on my days off, and on my days at work, I have time in the morning but I feel very zombie-ish. Today was one of the first off days when I don’t feel totally wiped for a change. It’s rather nice. But I still haven’t written that much. So much to write about. Wilson and his girl Friday are galavanting off on walkabouts throughout the area. Hands shoved into back pockets, her in riding boots, him in tennis shoes, hoodie? Maybe tweed, sorry, too much Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar magazines showcasing tweed in the fall, have gotten to me.  But they are tramping about the countryside as I am indoors. Good for them, the louses. I jest. It’s so much fun to mock your characters. To poke fun at them. To injure them with a well placed criticism. It doesn’t do any harm.

So there they are, off tramping up one hill and down another,
fingers shoved into back pockets as icy needles fly from the north wind
a shock line up the scalp as radiant heat burnishes from the front,
the sun tilted down at lower planes and angles,
and they climb up over barbed wire, snag on berry bushes
fingers stained purple as plump ripeness bursts into mouths,
grinning, garish smiles of dripping sweetness,
then off-ward again, they climb up steep hills, to sit on a outcropping
granite boulders warmed in the afternoon light,
watching the golden disk slip down behind the mountains, a linger of
golden lines from each segment it sinks down
a line of trees far away, still you can see the toothed branches
you could nearly count the pine cones, maybe
and an unkindness of ravens caw their way overhead
while a wake of buzzards drift upwards then down in spirals,
updrafts, downdrafts, the shifting warmth of the day
now brisk and biting in like little nails, curved thorns of the blackberry,
and twilight sets in so much faster, and faster, and faster,
as they stumble their way down the hill, the warm piney scent of the coniferous gasses
chasing them homeward in the lingering light……

Whoa, where did that come from? No seriously, I just started puttering with a thought I had in my journal and suddenly I have a scene for Wilson and whatever her name is, the muse. I gotta write this down. Cool.

It’s exciting when I write something that is just spitting out from my head. I haven’t had a lot of that lately. I’m distracted by too much phone usage, and well, actually, I’m reading this and that and getting caught in books. Then mentally drifting off.

Well, patting myself on the back, now I have other things to get done. Enjoy that bit of poetry that just slipped out. And honestly, the title of the post came from a new Post Malone song, “Circles”, but I never got around to my music tastes right now. Another day….

Kate

Planning a New Year’s Dinner

via food52–When it comes to silky-smooth squares of chocolate ganache, these Japanese truffles are the ideal. Dusted with a blizzard of cocoa powder, they’re minimalist & bold, and contributor @jun.and.tonic hasn’t had a better truffle to date.

I wrote about last year’s New Year’s Eve tasting menu banquet, In A World Of Food Life And Tasting Meals, and after a conversation recently with Coffeeman, I started thinking about how I would plan a tasting menu, with the little I know. Okay, I know more than I think I do, but well, sometimes I don’t feel like I know a lot. However, there is a passenger driver to my cooking life, and thank gosh he is still there driving and directing along, as I try to not feel overwhelmed.

Being first and foremost a lover of all things sweet, I am right there on desserts.  I’m sort of working backwards, and creating as I write. What can I say, I gravitate towards the sweeter things in life.I was immediately drawn to these truffles when I popped across them via Food 52 on Instagram. I would make these, serve three on a plate and they would be topped with a crushed honeycomb candy dust, a red chili dust, and lastly, cocoa powder.  I am a sucker for chocolate. I will always want to end a meal with a nice piece of chocolate.

via inagarten
Sparkling Grapefruit Granita with rosé Champagne! recipe available on barefootcontessa.com!

An interlude between courses would be a lovely grapefruit granita with a sparkling rose, served in a coupe glass. Or as Ina Garten does it. I mean, the woman has gorgeous class.  And on that note, what about a gorgeous champagne, ivory, and gold color scheme for a New Years? Maybe a bit of silver glitter as well!

The main course would be monk fish. Known as the “poor man’s lobster”, I was able to enjoy it this late spring when I was off to a cabaret play. I fell in love with it’s meaty sweetness and just oh so good. Do I know how to cook monk fish? No. But that’s besides the point. I’m just creating here. Work with me here, people!  Served with an elegant creamy risotto .

Caramelized shallots, for that crispy, caramel y goodness.Something green…. um, well, I might have to come back to that. I’m seriously not sure what vegetable I would put with it. I love kale, but I love it just sautéd with butter, garlic and a little lemon. I mean, that isn’t fancy. I was thinking beets, but, maybe only a beet puree that you set something on…. Eh, I’ll come back to it.

Second course…. Salad. Easy. Radicchio, Belgian endive, sliced red onion, preferably Bermuda red onions (nearly impossible to find these days), sliced orange, black olives and this coriander vinaigrette that comes from a recipe  my mother has had for years. It is spectacular.

Like this, but a bit of green and black. Don’t forget the olives!

Layer the radicchio, endive, orange, onion and three black olives in a layered strip. Not much, just simple and mouthwatering. It marries, my mother’s recipe, with a Ina Garten one. And oh so pretty with the bright magenta and minty lime leaves, orange and black. Trust me. Gorgeous and fresh.

The amuse bouche, or appetizer round always gets me. Maybe a nice mushroom pate… Personally, I would do like a mini charcutarie board. A couple slices of mixed cheese, a crumble of Stilton, a little bit of pomegranate seeds, or maybe slices of fuyu persimmon. Toasted almonds. A couple slices of homemade crackers. Simple, but something to wet the palate. I love cheese boards. I think they are rustic and elegant at the same time. I get stuck on them on Instagram. So much fun.

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Anyways, I doubt I’ll get the luxury or stress of planning a meal like this, but wouldn’t it be fun? I love thinking of food items and menus. I have been doing it for years with character scenes in books. What would Mia and Rafe have for tea? (He’s Scottish or Irish)  Would Luke and Regina have a fancy meal brought to his office at the hotel he owns? and what would it be?  I float around food. I wrote about food in books with woman in the post titled, And The Meal Was. . .  See, I still think food!

Anyways, there’s the start to an elegant new years meal. What do you think? Anything you would add, or take away? I’d love thoughts. Who knows, somewhere down the line I might find myself planning something like this.

Cheerio!

Kate

Timing Is Everything

Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

I love the song from Country Strong, “Timing is Everything.” I believe wholeheartedly in the statement, living my life always amazed by the timing, the tick-tocking cadence of the world spinning. How things line up a certain way and lead to the next thing in life. Hostess Extrodinaire has “everything happens for a reason” tattooed onto her arm. And I fully believe in that as well. But, that doesn’t make me  not still question it at times.

Coffeeman’s last day was an unexpected slip away moment that for all included, lead to a very personal moment of tears, from all parties. It was not planned, it was jarring, and it was heartbreaking. When I got home later, I couldn’t stop crying. For him, for my sadness for him, the suddenness of all of it; the unexpected. The weird irony of it all was that months ago I had had a dream where actions and emotions were exactly what had happened. Not the situation, but this overwhelming heart stopping pain and crying. This feeling of helplessness. At the time of the dream, I was mentally off all day and when my mother asked me what was wrong, I couldn’t stop crying. I knew it was a portent of things to come. I can’t explain why I knew this, but I’ll apply it all back to my belief in God and how certain things in my life have been inferred by Him, either in dreams or a gut feeling, if you will. I believe that is Him talking to me directly. So at the time, I just tucked the dream into the back of my mind for a later date. Then there I was again two nights ago, sobbing for my friend, feeling like I was right back in the dream. Too weird is a statement I’ll say, but maybe it was a warning months ago.

Why did this have to happen this way, right at this moment? Why this specific experience for all of us? I will say that it gives me insight into certain people’s actions immediately following the slip out the door and gone moment. I now have an opinion of certain people that might not have been there had an event like this not happened. Some good opinions, some negative.

Coffeman has affected all of us in ways we never would have imagined. I’m in his life for a reason, he’s in mine, and somewhere it will all make sense. Brother, friend, boss, colleague, he’s impacted us in ways no one else has. Nor do I think we are ever going to find someone who has the same connection with us that he does. Jersey Boy has insanely big, impossible shoes to fill, and I don’t think he will be able to. Friends are impossible to replace. While someone new might move in and you may like them, they will still never be the person that left.

The timing of all of this is still on the fringe of my mind. I don’t get it. I don’t know why it all had to happen this way. Just about all of us is still reeling from Coffeeman being gone anyhow, but for some of us close to the man, I think it’s going to take a long while to move on. I hate that statement, moving on.  And I really don’t have any plans to move on, so to speak. I have great plans to stay in contact on a regular basis with Coffeeman. I respect the man. He knows several things, because he’s seen several things. (we are farmers…… sing the jingle)

Somewhere down the line I hope all of this makes sense. I mean, it’s not like I don’t understand Coffeeman not being here, the changes, bla bla bla (my new favorite statement) the fact that in this business, change is bound to happen. For whatever reason, this one moment, him being here, might be for something to happen down the road. Mrs. B said to me today, (Monday), that maybe Coffeeman was in your life just to remove Lucifer from the picture. She might be right. But I think it’s more than that.

So, as the old chapter closes, and a  newer one opens, all I can do is wait. I can honestly say I 100% do not like the new changes, but be that as it may, sometimes one thing you struggle with becomes the thing you need to overcome to get to the next part. Currently Jose Gonzalez’s “Stay Alive” is playing and I think it applies to everything as well. Especially the tick tocking rhythm.

There’s a rhythm in rush these days
Where the lights don’t move and the colors don’t fade
Leaves you empty with nothing but dreams
In a world gone shallow
In a world gone lean

But there is a truth and it’s on our side
Dawn is coming open your eyes
Look into the sun as a new days rise

Songwriters: RYAN ADAMS, TEDDY SHAPIRO
© BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, FOX MUSIC, INC., A SIDE MUSIC LLC D/B/A MODERN WORKS MUSIC PUBLISHING
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

I’m going to finish this semi rambling post with an online round of applause, as I was never able to get our group of people at work together for said applause for Chef Coffeeman as he slowly backed out of the doorway, shaking his head at our antics, and our craziness that led to his weird eyeball crazy look. I’m sure missing him like mad won’t happen for a week or so, but I’m sure it will soon. I’m dreading the day. Sigh

Kate