It’s A Sign Of Behind The Times

I’m actually having trouble naming blog posts these days. I was thinking in the terms of song lyrics. “It’s a sign of the times….”, it’s a Harry Styles song… bear with me.

Today I finished Paradise Lost by Milton…. Caveat being that I didn’t read chapters 1-11; only chapter 12. I was a little late to the game with the local ‘Salon’ one of the ladies from the writing group hosts. It was rather lovely to be in a literary setting which has been far from my realm for months. My writing group has gone to the wayside because my Friday nights are so late that I can’t force myself to get up at 9am to write. Bleh.

Or Nathan Englander. Look at that hair. He has to be tall, right?

But I am still writing. Not as frequently as I would like, because while inspiration is there, and pops into my head all the time, it’s rather hard to write while pulling pizzas from a 700 degree oven in the middle of a rush. Whew!

Farley Granger. Good, American stock.

I wrote two poems back in 2017 that were from the standpoint of this heteronym Wilson Philips Tennu, a writer living in New Orleans. Tall, thin, similar to Farley Granger (or Nathan Englander), but more floppy hair, he’s in this physical relationship with a Mrs. Robinson-esque woman, although I don’t see her as quite as old, nor is she married. Just she has this way about her. He’s fed up with her, so off to France he goes, which is in poem number two.  Well, these two poems lead to a three month writing spree of various points where he’s trying to find himself, he’s left France, gone to the west coast, lives in a small, rural area, in this mountain cabin that’s very, um, rustic.  For those not knowing what a heteronym is : via Wikipedia 

The literary concept of the heteronym refers to one or more imaginary character(s) created by a writer to write in different styles. Heteronyms differ from pen names (or pseudonyms, from the Greek words for “false” and “name”) in that the latter are just false names, while the former are characters that have their own supposed physiques, biographies, and writing styles.

Wilson writes very long poems with no breaks. Semi rambling on…. Okay, I’m a little like that, but not quite as bad…. making conditions, because like, yeah, I am the one actually writing it… gads that’s confusing.

Anyways, here he is, in the west, and I am working on his journal and poetry. The poor man is rather lost, confused, disgusted with himself. He needs a change. He’s decided to get a job in a restaurant as a dishwasher….. irony……. working the night shift, and he smokes cigarettes like a fiend, courtesy of the Mrs. R. He drives a 1973 sky blue Capri, has two typewriters, one is a travel one, an Olivetti Lettera 22, light blue….  “but I still took my typewriter with me,
the travel one, sky blue, sleek, like a convertible
with its top down, zippy, light on its keys”   (I always say this in my head like Linguini from Ratatouille when he’s explaining about Anton Ego, the critic, coming to dinner)

Olivettie Lettera 22

I’d actually rather like to meet this guy. He’s so not my type, but well, any guy that likes his typewriters and is a bit edgy, sounds interesting at least. Writing from his standpoint is interesting. Sometimes I get lost as to whom is writing, and then I start getting really depressed and wanting a cigarette…. I don’t smoke. Sometimes Wilson can be a bit of a bad influence on me. He stays up late, having dark circles under his eyes. He probably drinks a bit too much, obviously smokes too much. Sometimes I want to shake him for being so dramatic at times. Everything is always so over the top with him. A real drama queen….

So bits of my life make for a perfect inspiration for his life. I kind of feel sorry he’s a dishwasher, but since he’s a writer that sends off work as his bread and butter, I’m okay with him having a lower tier job.  The dishwashing is his jam, though he would much rather have the writing be bread, butter, and JAM.  Fickle man.  Someone should give him a good ‘Snap out of it!’ slap, a la Moonstruck.

Just the other day, the swoop and curls are even better as I work on them, this was only day two of testing.

I realized I hadn’t blogged in quite a while, but then a new spring menu dropped at the restaurant, I was sick again, and just this week finished a 6 day work week with a couple of extra overtime days. Days where I didn’t clock off till well after midnight.  I am seriously tired and two days off isn’t enough. I need one extra at least, but such is life. I am excited about the new menu and one of my ideas made it to dessert menu. Pots de creme. I had done spiced ones a month ago that were not super popular, but these new ones are plain, rich chocolate.  I am excited about a few new dessert ideas I have playing around in my head. I have been killing it on being lead pizza chef. I mean, I am rocking it, even with a Rosie the Riveter look. I have the headband and have been swooping my hair a la 1940s.

That doesn’t mean work has been easy. I love my job but there are aspects that make me want to slam my head into a wall… Or more like coworkers heads, but that’s way too psychopathic, which I am not…. insert evil grin, like the Grinch….. I jest. Really, I do. I joke that I always have my knives with me, but if I actually stab someone it will be because I forgot to walk with the point down and I went around a corner. Yes, I can hear Chef in my head…. ‘Point down!’

Yes, Chef.

I’m not sure how to end this post, other than to say, I need to now read Paradise Lost, especially chapters/books 7 and 9 per Mads suggestion. I am actually going to read the whole thing as I rather like blank verse. Enjoy this Harry Styles song, because I rather like it, and need to listen to it again.

Kate

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Sail Away, Sail Away, Float Away – Musings

Dona and I were catching up the other day since I never get to catch up in person what with living in a restaurant most of the time. Plus she has a busy life as well, and as writing groups and such are not in the forecast for me to get to, well an instant message or two is our only chance at communication.

So she is busy; I am busy. She said she wanted to win the lottery so she could stop. Me being the progressive daydreamer I am, or ‘zoning out’ as Walter Mitty does, I couldn’t just let it rest at winning the lottery. In a flip second I had spun this grand exciting idea that was given a thumbs up and an “I like that’ vibe.

So first you win the lottery. It has to be someone from my writing group, as that is the only way for this whole scenario to work. Lottery won, then what we all need is to use that money to purchase a writer’s retreat. Which is another way of saying a grand estate with a large enough house to have rooms for all of us writers, with plenty of extra rooms to wander around writing. Because as writers, it’s a must that you can’t just sit in one spot. It has to be accessible to a garden, or gardens might be more apt. Considering we are almost always Jane Austen fans, a place to walk amongst the country might be good. A pond, or lake. Personally, I would like a folly or two… So it needs to be plenty of acreage to take long walks. Of course I am thinking of the English countryside… with the rainy afternoons and the chance you might run into that handsome farmer just down the road, or maybe he is a gentleman of the peers and you can run off and marry… I’m digressing. Pardon non Jane Austen fans.

Then of course the house must have a large enough library to house all of our book collections. Two level if possible. The size of Belle’s library might be a bit much, but it doesn’t hurt to consider it.

Then there must be a second estate purchased that is for the winter months. Living in the colder climates and the snow and cold, I start dreaming of tropical places to visit right after Christmas. The Christmas Tree might still be up, but ooh do I want to be where there is warm beach sand and the thought of a fruity drink with an umbrella as I sit under an umbrella contemplating sunbathing or swimming.

Now, due to my current work/job, of course I would be the inhouse pastry chef. I would hire someone to help me with the rest of the cooking, because as a writer as well, I would need time to write! But I could play around with marvelous pastries and desserts. Of course we would all take tea in the afternoon. I would have made delectable treats for that. As we all sit around a lovely tea service and talk about what we wrote that day. And what we were going to work on into the evening, provided we were not watching that next marvelous Hallmark movie, or Downton Abbey, or something British and utterly delightful.

Of course, there would be late night snacks, as writers are notorious night owls. If we all went off to bed, within a decent time range, there would be low lights on throughout the house for those sleepless nights one of us got up to write in the middle of the night. Which can’t be done in bed. I mean, it can, but if one can’t, then we must be able to get down to the kitchen without stubbing a toe.

This is much more detailed than what I wrote off to Dona, but I thought, what a marvelous dream. And the thought of a community of close writer friends is rather lovely. I can picture this a little too well. I could actually go on and on about it, but well, you all probably have your own little ideas of what would make a great writer’s retreat/estate for your group of writers. I like the idea of being able to have the two ‘home bases’, but then being able to visit mountain cabins and lakes, the ocean, the prairie, France, Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, and maybe Maine or New York and the Hamptons, throughout the year. One must keep the adventure active to write.

Again, clearly, I’m dreaming. And when I dream, I go big. I go so so very big.
So, readers and writers alike. What would your perfect writing life be?
Kate

Once In A While – My Walter Mitty Musings

“Once in a while”; the quote and lyrics of the song were floating around in my head yesterday, then I ended the evening with watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The two things flow together in ways that probably only matter to me, in a semi-lazy summer afternoon, flowing into the evening kind of way. Or those spring days when the smell of all things growing come out. The hibernation of winter is leaving us and excitement starts to build.

I’m not on any grand adventure right now. But I am not just sitting around waiting for life to happen. I think I’ve lived a very Walter Mitty life, at least the first part. Not very adventurous or exciting, though I have been rather content in it. But my current life is Walter taking off on a plane to Greenland to find Sean O’Connell. It’s Walter skateboarding down the road in Iceland. That image I have over there in the sidebar of inspiring images….. This one

I’m in this building excitement in my life as I sit down and plot and plan desserts that are, while not awe-inspiring, are something that brings the person eating it utter delight.

That mouthful of something sweet and chocolatey that make the person just ‘um, yum’. A crunch, a bite, a smile of delight.

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

      -The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The quote always makes me think of the William Blake line. “To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.” It’s from Auguries of Innocence. I always loved that line. The magic in it. And Walter Mitty is a pretty magical film. Especially from a writer’s standpoint. The thing makes me cry every time it ends because of the delight in it. I feel like I’ve written about this before. Those déjà vu moments.

Last night it smelled like earthworms outside. Maybe they are coming forth. The blackbirds are in the trees, the rain falls softly, the snow hits the mountains so much wetter. There is that impatience in the air. We are in the cusp of a change. Dawn has come, open your eyes….. from Stay Alive by Jose Gonzalez.

Last year I was so impatient and in love with someone. I was struggling with all aspects of that. The chaos and clambering of my heart and mind. I wrote so much. I was so frustrated with all that didn’t come from what I wanted, to what transpired. A hell of several proportions that even now I haven’t completely let go. I guess falling in love with someone does that. Even now I wonder how I can say I fell in love with someone that wasn’t right for me. But that seems to be how things happen. Ironically, maybe that I write this after reading a line from “Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell”, from the  Ravenous Butterflies Facebook page…. (Check it out)

“leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses.
you make him call before
he visits. you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.”
-Marty McConnell

Wow, those lines hit hard and I want to take a massive step back and look at things from a different perspective.

It’s a new dawn. Life continues to hustle along. I’m Walter Mitty-ing it along. An adventure around every corner, in every baked delight, in every Instagram followed post.

Kate

Begin Again – Just A Ramble About Writing

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

A family member recently was horror struck (my mother’s tone, not necessarily true) by my lack of writing these days. It’s true. I rarely take a moment to write, but I haven’t given it up. In fact, my mind is as active as ever, plotting out bits of stories. From ideas at work to marvelous dreams…. gads those things are active little plots, aren’t they?…… to random bits of poetry, and even dabbling into writing prompts. The writing prompts always give me loads of trouble because the ideas are so good I simply must play with them! Only to have them go spattering of and chasing out the gate. I rather picture chickens scattering out the open door. Pecking at this interesting bit, and that.

Recently, meaning literally just the other day, Valentine’s day to be exact, I was thinking how I should write my cooking novel in chapters or segments of holidays. Because that is a rather irksome thing within the restaurant business. You can’t have a proper holiday because you are working on that day. Personally, other than Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the rest of the holidays are non issues. I love Valentine’s day for the pink, the red, the hearts. That’s about it. I like thinking in food terms with holidays. But a lot of momentous things have happened to me on holidays. People are stressed. People have bad moods. I got a lot thrown at me on those days. Perfect for an angsty account.

But then, what about just by season of the year? Or months? How does one even plan how to write out their novels? And titles. And groupings? Chapters? I should probably worry about this less and just write!

My journal has gotten more traction with bits and pieces that are fiction related. I was writing out a dream a couple weeks ago and realized that if I tweaked it, it would be a perfect Hallmark story. Never mind that I have other ideas for that as well and enough ideas to keep me well occupied despite my lack of time. What can I say, I have a job. Jobs take up a lot of time when it comes into the writing world. But I’m trying to vent here and there into my journal. I would like to sit down and write at the end of my work shift, but I’m usually too keyed up, the music’s too loud, or someone interrupts me. Or I’m trying to get home to an actual meal.  Excuses, excuses. I know. But they are rather decent ones.

I’d like to come up with more than a few things here and there. I’m not as prolific as last year. Last year was semi ridiculous, but well, such is life.

So there, just rambling about writing. Nothing important.

Kate

The Sweeter Things In Life

Life sometimes is funny. Okay, that’s nothing new there. No wise bits of wisdom in this little post. Just life.  Like when you have two customers, regulars apparently, who ask if the reason there have been no new dessert specials was due to the pastry chef is now doing pizzas all the time.

That was an incredibly sweet part in my life recently. In all honesty, being sick four times since a week before Christmas put a serious damper on baking, thoughts of baking, and just getting through the day, never mind the week. I have to say that I love dabbling in all parts of the cooking industry. “Hey Chef, show me how to finish this dish so I don’t have to come get you next time there is only one of us in house.” This after it was literally only Chef and I in the kitchen one afternoon.  Do you know how irritating it is to have yourself on one dish, he’s on another and he can’t be found because he was off hunting down someone or something else?  I am not blaming Chef. Just the simple fact that he can take over for me up on the pizza, but I can’t take over for him. (sadly, the line still alludes me in comfort zone. I don’t like to be back there unless I have to…. Okay, that’s not quite true. I would love to learn aspects of it, or three quarters of it, but my heart isn’t in that area, at least, yet.)

But I digressed greatly there. What I was going to say was, while I like all parts of the cooking industry, the pastry and pizza end of things are more my forte. I’ve even had a few people I work with say I have a touch that others do not. It’s always lovely to have someone ooh and ahh over a dessert. Or pizza.

This last week I finally did run a dessert special. I call it a Chocolate Om cake because it had a little of our chocolate Zen liqueur in it. For a little om in life, you have to have a bit of zen….   No one quite got the juste of this turn of phrase, but I rolled with it anyhow. Who cares. I enjoyed this uber rich mocha chocolate cake, four layers, mind you, a rich cocoa frosting and three, yes three, toasted marshmallows on top. You think, marshmallows, how can that be special?  Well, I made them in house, that’s how!  Ooey gooey delishiousness (yes I know that’s not spelled right). I sold out the first cake in a day and a half. I feel I would have sold out on the other cake as well had it not been for the snowstorm that dropped 8 inches of snow and cancelled all of our weekend reservations. Drat!

See, Om and Zen go together, and think about a chocolate cake. You can zen your way through eating it and end up in an om state…. Just sayin’.

But I have ideas in my head a bit more now that I am feeling better.  Chef is working on his new menu for the spring. He has no desserts on it. I must see if I can brain storm with him. I even had my dishwasher ask me if now that I have made a dessert special if I am going to dabble in others. He mentioned coconut cream pie.  Pies are not my forte, but I might have to think about it. Coconut is a thing I love… mmmm, I’m thinking tropical items. The cold is getting to me.

I love the scenery. The peach snow when the street lights just come on at night. The cold, icy glow of snow and ice at night. The way it felt like a snowglobe moment the other afternoon looking out the windows as the snow fell. It’s all beautiful. but I could really go for somewhere tropical right now. Maybe I can play around with a tropical-esque dessert. Something with pineapple… oh that’s right, Astro D mentioned individual pineapple upside down cakes. Yum. Dollop of whipped cream.

Kate

 

Stains, Spots, And Smelly Clothes

Photo by Dmitry Arslanov on Unsplash

The cooking industry is murder on your laundry. I am sure that there are a lot of other industries that would be in that category as well, but what with spots, stains, sweat, and who knows what else, professional kitchens are a source of constant obnoxious laundry.

Take for instance this weekend when I accidentally had my gel pen leaking a bright blue spot through my apron onto my nice white chef’s jacket. I stared down at the spot remembering the ‘lovely’ accident of the sharpie mark on my sleeves one day when I didn’t click it closed. That spot is still there, albeit brown now instead of black due to several laundry tricks that never worked.  I was panicking a bit because a blue stain on white seemed impossible.

I have so far, found a trick by accident that works. So people who want to get stains out, get your pens ready and bookmark this post.

Lots of places said rubbing alcohol and vinegar rotated with table salt got the stains out. For me it was Simple Green worked into the stain and agitated out. I used diluted first to start rinsing it, but then full strength and scrubbed the fabric with itself until the stain was itty bitty. I will launder it as usual and expect it will come out.

For standard laundering of my regular whites, which are white, mind you, is Tide with Bleach. All of my jackets are from Happy Chef, so are that 30/60 cotton poly blend that you are not supposed to bleach. But Tide with Bleach is great because it doesn’t bleach but gets the grease and stains out. Odor too.  My aprons and jackets frequently smell of old flour and oil and fry oil smells. If you do a regular load of laundry with warm water (warm is a must, cold will not work) and if you can soak the load for a half hour in the soapy water then rinse twice, you will have sparkling clean shirts. I use it for my semi faded aprons as well since it breaks down the oils so well.

For spot treatment on every stain no matter what I use Dawn Dishwashing detergent. I like the ultra or concentrated ones as they work the best. Toothbrush, scrub it in, let it sit for a couple hours or days and bada boom, out comes the stain.

If the stain doesn’t work, consider trying hydrogen peroxide with the dawn. If it’s a colored item, rinse it out once the stain starts to fade otherwise you will have the color fade out because of the peroxide.  A trick for berry stains that has worked wonders, is to first treat the stain with the dawn. It will turn every berry stain into a blueish stain, then use the hydrogen peroxide to slowly erase the blue stain. Rinse.  Every single time it works.

Irish Spring original scent bar soap is excellent for getting out blood as well as sweat stains. Sweat smell too. I have always had a problem with body odor and washing with Irish Spring keeps it at bay, will break down the aluminum zirconium in most deodorant antiperspirants ,  and also helps break apart sweat smells. I have used Irish Spring for years, but I definitely have to use it now that I have switched from a natural deodorant to antiperspirant.

For oil stains, if it is fresh oil, sop it up with talcum powder. Not stuff with cornstarch in it, but actual talc. Raid your grandma’s powder tin, so long as you can handle the strong scent.  Use a small spoon or popsicle stick and apply a little mound over the oil spot. (I have never tried it on anything larger than a dime or quarter size)  Let it sit. For a while. Like an hour or two. Brush off with a toothbrush and repeat if the talc is oily and clumpy or the spot is still there. Repeat as many times as it takes to magically disappear the oil. Launder as usual, or use Dawn then launder. It’s seriously amazing. I have saved so many things from oil spots with this trick.

Definitely if you have a stain that you can’t seem to get out, do not throw it in the dryer or use heat. It always sets stains or oil marks. This is actually why my  chef’s jackets are never in the dryer these days. I never want to set a lot a stain, and sometimes I never know if I have gotten all of the stains. So best be safe instead of sorry and trying desperately to get stains out.

My mother is expert at getting stains out, more so than I am. I am notorious for cooking at home without an apron on. I splatter so many things. I am queen of that. And my dad is notorious for spilling on white t-shirts and brand new clean things, whatever they might be. So yeah, lots of years of stains. She probably has more tricks that even I don’t know, but these work like charms for me. So, if you work in a funky stain inducing industry, these might help.

On a side note about cleaning things, I have found that the kitchen is murder on my skin, producing a lot of blackhead and blemishes. A lot, and I wear a concealer that has sunblock in it, so it clogs the pores a lot. After I wash my face with hot water and a washrag at night, I clean my skin with rubbing alcohol. I have found it keeps the bulk of the blackheads at bay. I still get plenty, but it cuts down the bulk. And if my skin gets too dry, then I use Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner in the morning and I am good to go.

It’s the little things in life that make it easier. So any laundering or beauty care ideas for the cooking industry? Send them my way.  And hopefully these help anyone else.

Kate

A Well Read Woman…

I am currently writing at 3:15AM. God this night life world. The three to eleven shift is killer on your sleep patterns. I swear I am forever trying to wind down from work and thoughts and such. I had massive plans to sit and write tonight when I got off, working on a new little story that has interested me, but there sat my girl friend and I sipping our after work stouts, girl talking for a change. And gosh darn it did it feel good.

We rarely end our nights at the same time as she’s a server and I’m cheffing it and cleaning the kitchen. So it was a rare treat.  So was getting to finish a glass of port. Delish.  I was having a giggle over the port because one of our marvelous other servers was warning me that it would put ‘hair on my chest’, to which I laughed because I had already tasted this port since it is the secret ingredient in my cranberry port sauce.   They were a little surprised when I knew what it was and what to do with it. I was relaying this tonight to my family and we were discussing the marvelous line from Lisa Kleypas,

 

“A well read woman is a dangerous creature.”

Gosh do I love that line. I mean, it’s one of those things where I don’t spit off what I know, but at times… you will find that I know a lot of things, and I read a lot. I may not have traveled the world, but I know things. It reminds me a lot of the quote from Oscar Wilde :

I think that you can be over educated in where your head is so far up there that you can’t see reality, but I digress. (And I love this image and quote above. I have it in an old journal because I love it so much)  I think that I have had the luxury of being able to read so much, and write, that I know things. I don’t mean to brag at all. It’s just kind of a fact. I love to absorb facts and tuck them away and apply them. And working in a restaurant, and talking to people that have lived a more full life than I have, I think they forget that just because I haven’t done something doesn’t mean I don’t know it. I drop little gems on them here and there and get to giggle in the awe struck, or horror struck look on their face. Sometimes it is super funny. Like tonight and the port. It was funny to me.

I am looking forward to being able to do more writing in the days to come, and currently I would say I am at my writing group in spirit. I’m waving to all of you ladies. this stupid three viruses and work and exhaustion is getting to me, but one of these Saturday I hope to get in to my group and write.

What are all you lovely dearies up to these wet and rainy Saturdays? Anyone else have some fun quotes you love that are modern and classic? I just threw two quotes together for this post that relate, but one is from 100 years ago or more and one is modern. Mix it up people and drop some on me. I love good quotes to live by.

Kate

In A World Of Food Life And Tasting Meals

New Year’s Eve brought me to another banquet, though this was more of a very nice tasting menu. I have done several party type meals with this restaurant, and all usually involved yelling, crying, and broken glass. From someone, though I was usually the one crying. Yeah, so when I knew this was coming up, I was excited albeit, a bit aprehensive. I don’t do well under mad pressure. Meaning mad as in crazy and mad as in pissed off.

This was the farthest thing from that. This was amazing. This was exciting. This was a step towards a brighter future and opportunities that I have only had a glimmer of seeing with online postings from chefs. This was new. Apropos since it was leading into the new year.

The menu was in my opinion, ambitious. I can’t say what Coffeeman thought, though he did say something in regards to New Year’s meals and whatnot.

I was in charge of the desserts. Ta da! Of course I was, though due to a very busy week I was never able to actually make the triple flavored mousses that filled the cannoli shells. I was semi bummed about that, but since my cranberry sauce was used for the appetizer, I can’t complain. Chef could easily make it his way. But he has kept it with my recipe. Thank you. I am honored. It’s pretty cool to say that your lemon bars and cranberry sauce are that; yours. (on a side note, right before calling in sick, I made bourbon caramel sauce and a beer cheese sauce that were perfect in my opinion. Ok, I couldn’t taste them, but everyone else said they tasted good…. I think I am starting to get the hang of this cooking thing where I don’t jump at my shadow and I just make)

The New Year’s Bash went off as a hit, which included a round of applause from a very nice group of people. Several Instagram worthy shots and a closer connection with some of my coworkers. I went home on a high that lasted all that night until the next day when gosh darn it, I felt a virus hit at the tail end of getting rid of another one. Thank goodness it came on a slow week.

Below are some lovely shots of some of the items we served for the meal. And head over to my Instagram account if you want to keep updated on other food related items, or dachshund love.  Kate’s IG  https://www.instagram.com/katielynbranson/

Anyways, Coffeeman has no clue how much I actually wanted to cry because it was so amazing. The last banquet/dinner I had to do involved 60 cakes in 3 hours with no prep and a boss that I am possitive to this day, wanted to break me. He didn’t. He didn’t win. I succeeded and goshdarnnit! I will keep succeeding. Like all things in life, you have to fight for what you want, even when sometimes you don’t know what it is you want. You just keep fighting. And good things will happen.  Well, this is a very good thing.

Two posts in one day. Wow, well, being sick leads to ideas. I have been writing some fiction but I have lost a little zing of that since the last fiasco, which is a bit depressing. I have too much inspiration in my daily life and I want to write about it, but now I sit there wondering where or when I should share it. Le sigh. Such is life.

But this might all be the cold/flu talking and being tired and loss of perspective. Let me just go back to hela good banquet.

Kate

Eighty-Six the Cannelloni, There’s Mashed Potatoes in My Ear

Photo by Benjamin Zanatta on Unsplash

Restaurant life is weird. Like really weird. Like you get to work and you ask your coworker how many reservations (res) you have, they say eighty-six reservations,  and you say, “so no reservations then”.  To ’86’ something means to get rid of it, you don’t have it, or you are out. Only one other person got my 86’d reservations, but go with me here.

I asked Elizabeth Swan (William Turner’s wife, of course) how she was today. “I got mashed potatoes in my ear,” she replies. This isn’t a euphemism. This was actual fact. In a funny twist of life, she reached to scratch her ear and didn’t know she had gotten mashed potatoes on her finger. Go figure. But that also kind of summed up the day.

I find the strangest things sift down and fall onto my head. Currently, it’s ash. A lot of ash. I pull the metal paddle out of the oven and stand it up and think “oh crap” as I feel things sift down onto my arm, my head, my face. People are forever saying I have something on my face. I have to ask if it’s white or black. White is flour, duh, since I work with pizza dough, and black if it’s soot. It’s a common occurrence.

Tonight (December 29th) three of us were tired and hungry. I had told my parents I was going to sit and get a drink then be home. So there we sat, Will Turner, D-boss, and me. My “drink” was a cup of coffee and a bowl of cold cereal, D-boss was eating a microwaved cheese sandwich, and Will had a beer. A motley crew to say the least. (everyone was in a weird eating foods mood tonight.)

I have read books where people are out back of the restaurant in the frigid air smoking and bs-ing. A fair amount of the kitchen staff smokes, I love the smell of cigarette smoke (much to the confusion of my coworkers), and will follow them out to their smoke breaks just to stand with them. Tonight one was smoking while I waited for my ride and I stood there leaning against the brick, breathing in the most frigid air possible, and cigarette smoke, bs-ing about nothing important, and I realized, I have become a book setting.

My life is one giant plotline. Heck, I was writing in my head today as I worked. I can’t quite remember what I was writing, though the title did come to me along with the line from You’ve Got Mail via The Godfather “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” Though I was using cannelloni because that is on our menu and gosh darn it if we don’t have to 86 it a lot due to its popularity and time consumption in prepping it.   Also, isn’t this like the greatest blog title? Bizarre enough that you just have to keep reading. Pardon if my post isn’t the most exciting.

I actually sat there realizing that this full time job is my job. Sometimes if I think really hard about it, it becomes this weird out of body thought and I am left wondering how I got here.

Currently I am out for the count due to a nasty virus or something that gave me a horrible cough and ear infection. I missed three days of work this last week. A week that came on the heels of New Years Eve and a tasting menu that was to die for. I am going to finish up this post then sit down and write about that….

The strangest things delight me at work. Or about work. It’s the little things that make you feel closer to a coworker and you suddenly realize that you are a fairly strange misfits of a family. It may not be a perfect family, but it’s family non the less and you know they get you, for the most part, and you get them, and you can say weird stuff like, “I got mashed potatoes in my ear” and that means a whole host of somethings.

I told Elizabeth that I got over a panic attack, and she was like, ‘well at least you got over it’, which was code for “I’m not doing so ok myself.” We all have our moments where we lean on each other, poke daggers at each other, but hold each other up. We manage to keep afloat somehow.

But seriously, let’s stop 86ing the cannelloni….

Kate

Personal Hells

This post is coming after a thing happened with a writing thing with a work thing, with a too personal thing, with well, being a writer just isn’t always an excuse. It kind of all relates to my personality, a lot of which people don’t always get. Heck, even I am still figuring myself out daily.

The first part of my job with my restaurant was hell. A personal hell. Oh sure, there were good moments, and the opportunity was something amazing, but chef #1 and Lucifer were personal hells. They each had their moments that left me crying most of my time after or prior to work. It was because of #1 that I quit one month in and was hesitant to come back, but I liked the job. Lucifer, while a charmer in his own way, became another personal hell.  I doubt myself a lot. Even now with the support of come amazing people, I spend my time doubting myself and selling myself short and worrying that I am disappointing people and always ready to wince and take the blame. In the words of Topenga, or maybe it was Shawn, on Boy Meets World directed at Cory… I want people to like me. It is a fault. It is why I am not always assertive. It gets me into trouble.  And I doubt myself a lot. Even now.

The first six months of my job did not encourage me to have confidence, so when the new boss came on, I think I became this slightly over exuberant puppy. I am a people pleaser. So  I tend to come off as reeaaaalllly exuberant about certain things. I don’t always think about consequences and I would say, what you see is what you get, a lot of the time. Crushed easily, excited easily, a bit neurotic, oh very, very blonde… (“what are you smoking?” ‘Nothing, Chef, I’m blonde. That pretty much answers it.”) <—- true conversation. If I think of something at 3am, I will text you even if you are asleep because, I am awake, why aren’t you? I know I will forget it by morning. I forget other people have lives that do not include my weirdass sleeping schedule.

People think I’m flirting when I’m being nice. I am uber nice. I am the “Oh Kate will do that,” person. (Even when I don’t want to obligation fills me with grief if I don’t do it.) Guys have thought I was flirting with them when I was just being nice. Trust me, I’m not. I do the stupid hair twirl thing when I’m flirting, which I don’t flirt, because I don’t know how to flirt as I never understood what the hell it was supposed to be like. (That’s another long ramble not for here)

It makes life rather frustrating at times. And currently, I can cry at the drop of a hat. You would laugh if you heard me say I love my job and am relatively happy but then say I can cry that easily.  While I love my job, I have not necessarily dealt super well with my role in my job. I stress about coworkers, I stress about coworkers lives, how it’s affecting my life, whether or not things are getting done at work, to my standards, to Chef’s standards, worrying, micro managing, and just all around stressing. It’s made me tired and prone to crying. Just ask three people tonight that I was talking to, oh, pardon, four; and I couldn’t keep the tears in check.

Part of that comes off of removing my piece of flash fiction from earlier. It was just taken the wrong way, for which I am crushed that I might have jeopardized anything within the weird, close, family structure of a restaurant. As Sassy Girl said tonight, kitchen life is stressful. We find our outlets, be it alcohol, crying, snarling, writing, hanging out with friends. It’s a stressful life, and I am not always sure what outlet to use. Writing is an outlet that I like to use, but also like to share, but also forget how public it can be. I haven’t written a lot lately because I have been so busy and my little flash piece was this utter excitement that I had written something fun for a change instead of Night Shift Notes on what was or wasn’t done in the kitchen (goddammit!) I forget that it isn’t always a private thing to ‘share’ your writing. So I hadn’t thought when I pushed the publish button.

I might take a step back from writing so much about kitchen life for a while. I’m not sure. I am trying to figure out the best outlet at the end of the night when the adrenaline is still high. I haven’t figured it out. I don’t know what to do. I want to bounce around walls, and drink coffee, and drink a glass of something buzzworthy and write and sing and do who knows what. I am having a hard time finding the outlet. Hey, anyone with restaurant experience want to give me some ideas of outlets. (Exercise is not one I want to do, so don’t suggest it.)

Anyways. Exuberant puppy me probably needs to tone it down. Writer me needs to tone it down. And hopefully life will continue on without any speedbumps. Today was a detour. Now let’s get back to the main road.

Kate