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.


“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.


Knives – Day 2

L to R : Kuma, Misono, Glestain. I love the bear logo of the Kuma and that knife is a powerhorse

My knives are my babies. I have three now. I started off with a house knife that I made my own with shoe duct tape. But then I coveted Lucifer’s knife. Here’s the story behind that knife.

My Glestain, properly edged and sharpened to a high, glossy, razor-sharp edge. Deadly…

Supposedly Lucifer’s girlfriend gave him the knife. A Glestain Gyutou knife. This knife costs a pretty penny and it is gorgeous.  Well, he was using it at work and I loved how it fit my hand and I loved the ‘blue’ detailing….. it was blue painter’s tape at the time, but once the tape was off, I still loved the knife. I had plans to buy one myself.  I always kind of wanted Lucifer’s, partly because it was his and I thought he was a darling, but that was not why I really wanted the knife. I liked the knife. A lot. Unbeknownst to me, Lucifer sold the knife to the current chef of the time. I was so bummed because had  I known he was going to sell it, I would have bought it off of him. I told the chef that if he ever wanted to sell it, I wanted first dibs. He thought it was because I had a thing for Lucifer, but no, it was mostly because I loved the knife.

A month or so goes by, I have currently broken two knives at work, paid to replace one of those, become known as “the knife breaker”,  and now own a Misono that is nice, but still not the knife I want. Note to self and anyone else out there: Don’t drop good knives on a red tile floor. And don’t use the chef’s new knife on acorn squash.  Out of nowhere the chef finally decides he doesn’t want the Glestain. I had a feeling he would sell it at some point and was holding out. Sure enough, I was able to buy the knife because Lucifer, while wanting the knife, couldn’t purchase it back at the time.

This knife, the Glestain has created so much havoc within the kitchen with Lucifer because we were a thing. I think he thought the knife was his and that at some point I would give it back to him. Maybe had he treated me with some respect and actual caring, and not lying his ass off to me, I might have, but the knife became a power thing within the kitchen. When I had it, Lucifer coveted it and always tried to borrow it or ‘boo hoo hoo’ say he didn’t have the funds for a new knife. When he borrowed it, I was forever feeling like the knife wasn’t in the safest of hands, especially after I found out that he had no clue how to sharpen a knife he was suddenly  telling me he’d had for 8 years. Girlfriend gave it to you, hmm?

Finally,  I wouldn’t let him  anywhere near the knife. Turns out he was sharpening a Japanese knife equally, when it should have been a 70/30 type sharpening. These knives are very specific to the angle. Both my Misono and Glestain knives are styled in the Japanese way. Well, for being a ‘chef’ Lucifer needs to learn a few things.

Recently, I just had my two babies resharpened and put back to factory standards. There is no way in heck I would ever give up my ‘Lucifer’ knife. I love that baby to its full extent. I have used it off and on recently and I just adore the knife. My knives are an extension of my work. They are something that centers me when I am in the kitchen. When I get to work and I have something that requires me to pull one of them out, it’s this release of breath that just calms me. Even if I’m stressed about how much prep there is and such. My knives are a part of me. (so of course they are pretty)

I also have a lovely inexpensive, really decent knife, per Coffeeman’s suggestion. At $23 on Amazon, the Kuma has been a delightful knife.

There are now three Kuma’s in the kitchen. Coffeeman, Will Turner, and me. Hence the blue heel. Gotta mark it somehow that it’s mine. You can also see the lovely silver heel of the Glestain. It’s one sexy knife. Trust me.

And I have had people ask me why as a pastry chef I need knives…. well, I’m not just a pastry chef. That’s why. And even pastry chef’s cut things. Butter, lemons, cake, pies, dou

gh… If there is one question that really irks me is that question. I need knives. Please don’t insult me and ask why I would ever need expensive knives.

Now be careful… because I know how to use them, and they are deadly sharp…