Jewels Hollandaise Sauce, The Happy Culinarian

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Jewels Hollandaise Sauce here on Foodie Channel Network with my new show, The Happy Culinarian (THC). Today I am interviewing the once rising star in the cake industry, Bae King Powder, who just recently wrote his tell all culinary confesional book, “Batter Up, The Rise and Fall of A Cupcake Empire.” Welcome to the show Mr. Powder. Let me begin with the scandel you recently found yourself in with the purchase of illegal products that authorities gave you such sought after top shelf cupcakes. How did it all go down, what toppled your empire?

BKP… Thanks for having me here Jewels, You’re a sharp interviewer, I see you like to get right to the point. Yes its true, I was busted, Leavening Agents took me from my bakery in handcuffs. Really no knead for that. But they had been watching my bakery for quite a while. Apparently some of my shcmuck competitors tipped them off I was using illegally obtained PH in my batter. The batter accusation hit me hard! They were way off base and it came out of left field. First let me go on the record, I had no idea PH from Thailand was illegal, and yes it’s true I used it. The cost of inflation was rising but my cupcakes weren’t. After the Cupcake Wars ended and it was revealed that no whip pans of mass induction were hidden in rebel bakeries. Aside from the politically aligned bakeries all cupcake makers were left flat, mine included. Mission Accomplished my ass!

JHS. Of course, we all remember the bad intel The Food Channel got from Halliburton Lard Distributors that lead to the Cupcake Wars but lets get back to you. As I remember it you claim you were targeted because of your sudden cupcake rise to fame. Exactly how did your cupcakes rise so much?

BKP. Well yea, my batter was much different than most other bakers. With high quality ingredients and hard work my cupcakes rose to near cult status, some even referring to them as ‘crack cupcakes’ because they were addictive. Most of those other shmucks were using short cuts. That’s the reason we rose, not because of some illegal powders in my recipe. I got a much fluffier and porous product and that made me a target. All my competitors wanted to see my cakes fall so they set me up. Just about everybody jumped on the Baking Soda bandwagon and that made their products all seem like cookie cutter copies of each others product. People couldn’t tell the difference between Crumbies, Mack Nola’s, or that new place, Two Broke Chicks. They all tasted the same, looked the same, nothing special. I tried to keep my secret ingredient under wraps like the sandwich industry, or like Coca Cola or any other product that wants to keep their secrets contained. The brand of PH I used was as much intellectual property as my recipes, I had no idea we had broken ties with the Thai’s on PH trade. I had agents dumpster diving on my property while my bakery was closed but that didn’t work so they snuck a mole into my kitchen. Once they had their mole in place they called the Health Department. Shut me down because of a blind rodent that was planted in the plant! Mission Accopmplished my ass!

JHS. So after the clandestine garbage hunting failed they snuck a mole on your property then called the Health department? That’s a serious allegation Bae.

BKP. Oh its more than an allegation Jewels, its an accusation. The other bakeries wanted me destroyed and they lobbied with the Cupcake Icing Agency as well as the Felonious Bakers Investigation pitting both the CIA and FBI against me. They sent Leavening Agents to me looking to get a rise out of me by offering me bribes. I had it on camera but the government had it erased. Of course now I can’t prove anything but if you really look at my pudding, you’ll find the truth there. That was my mission accomplished.

JHS. Proof in the pudding? Conspiracy by government officilals? I mean really Mr. Powder, you want us to believe that all these people conspired to bring your cupcakes down?

BKP. You can believe what you want but if you read my book I have no doubt you’ll see I speak the truth. No one is outside the reach of our government. My cupcakes got too big, rose too high and they didn’t like that, felt threatened. That’s what my book will tell you, all about the conspiracies that took the wind from my sales. If tearing down The Cupcake Dude was their mission, I suppose it was accomplished. But the Dude won’t go down without a fight, I’ll take my batter and come out swinging, slam them for a grand at least.

JHS. Okay Bae, THC wishes you good luck in your plight. Well you heard that folks, buy Bae King Powders new book, Batter up to find out the truth behind the conspiracies. I have to tell you Bae, I usually have my staph read these books for me but I actually read this book in two days. How you built the empire was riveting, I was fascinated the entire read. Not only by the conspiracy but by the whole story of your rise to cupcake stardom. One last thing before you go, what’s next for the Cupcake Dude?

BKP. First of all Jewels, my cupcakes will rise again, like The Phoenix. No breads, I don’t knead the dough, but I am working on a new line of alcohol based cupcakes and deep fried mini cupcakes. People today are all concerned about all the GMO crap so it’s a perfect time to sneak the fried foods craze on them. Also, suddenly half the world thinks it has gluten allergies so I’m developing a cupcake made exclusevily with edible plastics. My first attempt was a C4 cupcake which blew up in my face, but edible plastic is the next wave of the future. I’ll be launching a line of cupcakes with Polyunsaturated Urethane Styrene as well as a number of other substances people won’t even be able to pronounce. Plastics are the future and edible plastics will take over the entire culinary industry once everyone realizes what a brilliant concept filling people full of plastic pleasure truly is. Thanks for having me Jewels, and remember, Never Underestimate The Power Of A Cupcake….Peace

The Imagination Generation cooks, or Culinary Revolution For The Hell Of It

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Food glorious food, We’re anxious to try it. Its what’s for dinner, whether cool as a cucumber or easy as pie we love our food. Food has been essential since time began. Without food the world would be full of nothing but vegetation soaking up the sun’s energy creating oxygen for no one. But as it is we have a symbiotic relation with vegetation. Animals (including us) eat the greenery, digest it, then return it to the plants as composted food for their roots. So we all benefit from the cycle of life because of the cycle of food. Food has always existed even finding its roots in the garden of Eden. Yea, the forbidden apple the iSin that was as they say the fall of man. More like the rise of man which is why so many of us get hungry after sex. Food has had major impacts to the growth an development of all life, especially humanity. Whether it was chewing the leaves of tree’s or the capturing of some animal we survived on food. Food was so important to our development it can be attributed for the creating of societies. We formed tribes to both procure and protect food sources. With the advent of the agricultural revolution food became power. Whomever controlled the food controlled the masses. Humans learned to grow vegetation at will, capture and herd animals for milk and meat, and create warehouses to store food. At one point food was worth more than money. Why in ancient times you could by a chariot polo team for a few cases of wheat, a six pack, and a cow. Brothels accepted loaves of bread for making it rise and it gave cause for a new phenomenon arose, thievery. With people stealing food from one another and beating each other up or killing for food an important new force needed to be created. The police force formed in ancient Athens where the policeman were paid in what else? Donuts. The police eventually evolved into armies which as Napoleon so eloquently put it, marches on its stomach. He reportedly always hid a taco inside his coat which is why so many photos show him apparently holding his stomach. But that was then this is now, and now it costs a lot of money for a small amount of food. But we pay it because not only do we need food, we friggen love to eat. Home or restaurant, no difference, bring on the food.
Why do we love to eat so much? Properly prepared food can fill us with a plethora of wonderful emotions which is one reason we love to go to restaurants. What is a restaurant? Originally the French term for restoring it referred to the hearty soups that were said to restore ones health. What a great concept, a place to sit, eat, and converse in a Nice setting. Or was it Paris? Whatever, the concept gained ground and a new industry was born. Forks and knives, chopsticks, or fingers, food was bought prepared and served the world over and Auguste Escoffier took it upon himself to develop recipe systems and a set of basic tenets for cooking. That was the late 18oo’s and those laws stood firm for almost a century. Red wine for meat, white wine for poultry or fish (Pick your Poisson). Everything served within the lip of a plain white plate. Everything was standardized right down to the size of cooking utensils. This worked well for many years until a new generation grew up and took over the sauté pans. The imagination revolution was about to break the restaurant industry wide open.
Like most of my generation, I colored outside the lines on purpose. But some of us took it even further, like coloring the tree’s blue instead of green, or making the sun magenta because the word on the crayon looked cool. I was particular to periwinkle myself because I not only did it look cool, the name made me chuckle. It was one of the only crayons that made a daily appearance in the cheesy crayon sharpener on the side of my 64 color box of Crayola. That was the first known instance of thinking outside the box. We were the generation that would stretch the limits of imagination like silly putty, make it bounce around like a superball, and allow it to take flight from balsa airplanes, to water pump rockets, all the way the flying saucer Frisbee. Our entertainment was just as far out, with uncles who are Martians, talking cars, nose twitching good witches, and pretty genies in bottle seemingly common place events an acceptable. We even let our imaginations allow us to believe that a movie star on a three hour boat tour would bring an enormous change of clothes, and once stranded a professor could invent everything on a deserted island except a workable raft. Our minds were open and free and TV opened many dialogues on previously hushed or taboo subjects like racism, drugs, and the all time favorite, sex. It’s the generation that looked to the moon and said lets not just look at it but lets go there and find out if there really is any cheese, let not have a small concert lets have a festival for half a million. It was only a matter of time before some of these new forward thinking creative out of the crayola box coloring kids would grow up an become chefs of the future. Ha Ha.
And we did. The first thing the rebel imagination generation of cooks did was disregard all of Escoffier’s rules. No disrespect sir, your shit was incredible, but we are in the age of culinary renaissance and it was up to us to disregard the rules, deconstruct everything that had been done for so many years and color outside the roasting pans. Sauté the red snapper, throw in some shallots and fresh thyme, hit it with some pinot noir and deglaze. Finish with a touch of fish stock , pinch of cream, and spoonful of raw butter and man oh man you have one tasty ass snapper with a buerre rouge. Red wine and fish?? Blaspheme! We broke all the old rules, decorating our plates with fresh herbs, making wines work with anything, rare duck breast, barely cooked or half raw foods, crunchy veggies, nouvelle cuisine was taking its stand against the old strong brigade system of cooking. Women washing the pots and pans? Bullshit ladies, come on inside the kitchen and show them what kick ass chefs you are. The old regime cringed, knocking the cigarette ashes into their sautoise pans. Sacrebleu, what are zose crazy long hair chefs doing? And what kind of cigarette is zat they smoke? Sorry Charlie, but revolutionaries only want the best tuna, served mostly if not entirely raw. Salads took center stage as entrée’s with hot meats served over them. The imagination generation turned the culinary industry on its pigs ear. Sweetbread day in the morning we kicked some ass back then!
Now I watch proudly as a new generation of rebel chefs begin to take their place in culinary history, sustainable food systems, farm to table programs, and molecular gastronomy are the next new wavers an they have been doing a tremendous job. Women have made their major impact on the industry an in an ever evolving world its up to them to keep our interest in dining, not just eating. Personally I think the industry is in great hands, hope its no0t just my imagination

Psycho Kaler…. Qu’est-ce que c’est

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Despite my age I remain for the most part in touch with the fads and fancies of the young. I engage in most of the social media sites and no, I’m not a stalker, just like to stay in touch with the youth because quite frankly for me they are no loner the future, but the present. One way I accomplish this is to listen to the popular music of the day in an attempt to shed a light of understanding their concerns. Music reflects each generation and much of it is born of anger or frustration and by design sound like crap to the older generations. I can relate to that sentiment and like most generations believe mine even invented it. I remind myself how I was as a youngster the media dictated much of my emotions and how I felt, for me the Viet Nam war the defining event. So I get how much of an impact media events can seem monumental while young. Crisis today such as Solange vrs. Jay Z in elevator UFC or the marriage of Kanye and Kim, (a figurative and literal big ass wedding) can have lasting effects on the physiological status of the young and hip. So I dig fads and try to remain aware of what is “hip” or popular.
In my days as a chef in New York City it was essential to be keenly aware of any and all food trends and to follow their lifeline. As an example I’ll chart the course of the darling of the dairy industry through the eighties, goat cheese. What could possibly sound more delicious than curds of aged smelly goat’s milk? But it was tasty and it hit the culinary world balls out. (Or should I say it was a Hella hit?) Prior to its mainstream culinary popularity it was consumed mostly in posh (or arrogant, depending on your view) French fromageries by intelligent beret wearing cheese lovers. But in the early eighties it made appearances in many fine NYC restaurants over salads, such as Aged goat cheese coated in crushed philberts, sautéed and served over a bed of mesclun lettuce with a warm raspberry hazelnut dressing. Many upper eastside bistros served a similar dish and eventually goat cheese made its way downtown to some of the more trendy restaurant, grapes, pear, and goat cheese sautéed over fresh baby spinach with walnut vinaigrette. Not long after that it settled into Greenwich Village where it cemented its place in hip culinary culture by becoming a cheese choice on burgers and as a pizza topping. These days its found its way into the family chain restaurant industry at TGI’s and the like. It was one of the food trends that successfully made the transition to culinary fame.
I supported the goat cheese movement the moment I tasted it, stigma of nanny goats gruff aside. There is another new trending food though I am having difficulty getting behind. Kale! Kale is nothing more than a spinach imposter that even gets snubbed by Brussel sprouts. Touted as the worlds healthiest food and despite its attractive purple variety kale tastes like bitter angry collard greens dipped in ipecac and sautéed with fine metal shavings. While I will admit to its health benefits and its outstanding array of vitamins I come from a time when kale was considered urban seaweed. And I also admit it had a rough upbringing, it could not have been easy in a family consisting of broccoli, cauliflower, and collar greens, between the constant harassment of children who despise the entire family as early as its pabulum eating stage, and then the horrible George Bush moment when a sitting American president admitted openly to not liking broccoli, kale had to live in some pretty dark shadows. And yes the cute curly leafed veggie held prominent status in the middle ages, but at that time chastity belts were all the rage as well, and well… when’s the last time you hear of anyone wearing one of those things? Hell I’ll even cop to have used purple kale in many a crudite display in my career, but for me kale has a special dark spot in my heart, I once confused it for spinach in a high pressure moment.
I was in culinary school, our chef instructor was know for handing out reports when he caught you off guard. Its well documented the times he had students scratching their heads trying to guess at the height of a curry bush while most of the other students chuckled. Many a student was given an assignment of listing the 16 essential ingredients in curry or the genetic difference between fruits and vegetables and so on. With only two days left in his kitchen I had so far escaped being given a report an was certain I could finish the last two days without consequence. I experienced a minor lapse of attention during the height of service the chef handed me a pan of braised kale an yelled “JT, take this spinach over to the veg kitchen right away” I obediently grabbed the pan and offered a smug “yes chef”….. That’s when he stopped me. “Oh so this is spinach huh? Suppose you bring me four page report tomorrow on difference between spinach and kale?” Busted! Caught off guard that sneaky premeditating chef had me cold. I have never forgotten that stupid report. I was up until after midnight working on the damn thing without the benefit of Google or Wikipedia!. Perhaps that’s why I know so much about this new and hip uber-healthy bitter star of a veggie, and maybe, just maybe its why I harbor some degree of anger as well. Perhaps the bad taste in my mouth is not the result of this leafy wonder cooked incorrectly but the taste of a memory scar from my school days. That’s it, its time to forgive and show what a big person I am so right this minute I’m gonna cook up some braised kale with caramelized leeks. Wait, I almost forgot, no hip new dish is complete with a tried and true food fad, so I’ll top it off with some broiled, ash covered aged goat cheese…

Doing A Few Lines, And Line Cooks

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Potsink Diaries
Leaving Mimi Dee’s was hard but I had to do it. I was smoking way too much weed, I had affairs with three women and got caught. I got too close to the edge having cheated myself out of a great relationship with a great chick. Carrie would never talk to me again and honestly I didn’t blame her. If I wasn’t stuck with me I’d never talk to me either, but it is what it is. Or was. I found myself in a new relationship with a new job so now and its time to man up and act like an adult. Me, an adult? Not sure that can work but I had to at least give it a go. I applied for and got a job as line cook at Moonleaves, a family restaurant in Syosset not far from Mimi Dees. I say line cook. At Moonleaves that had two meanings, one was the cooks line where my sauté station was. I had four entrée’s and two appetizers to prepare and plate during service. The other line cook was all the cooks doing lines. I never saw so much white powder in my life! It was as though the entire staff snorted a gram a day. Pot, pills, and cocaine flowed so freely it was more like a drug mart than a restaurant. Dishwashers, busboys, waits staff, cooks, just about everyone in the kitchen did drugs and the manager was a raging alcoholic too drunk to notice.
The amount of total degradation there was astounding, cooks banging waitresses in the storeroom, oral sex among the glass racks, even an area specifically reserved for gay sex. You could watch, partake, or just ignore, your choice. It was the Sodom an Gomorrah of the restaurant world and this was the mid 70‘s, the decade of decadence and drugs. Pot was smoked constantly out by the dumpsters, pills were exchanged openly, lines of coke were cut on sheet pans, and in the walk in refrigerators soup pots of screwdriver and gram jars of cocaine were at the ready. “Freeze Break” meant someone was running into the fridge to take a hit of blow an a swig of vodka and OJ. It’s a wonder we ever got a single meal out let alone get through service of a hundred and forty dinners a night. So much for a serious relationship, I fell into it like a pro, screwing every waitress I could and having my clock cleaned orally twice a week. Yea, line cook and head waitress were ironic terms at Moonleaves.
Even though I was engaging in so much extra curricular I also had begun to actually hone some cooking skills learning to make sauces a la minute and handling a constant litany of ordering and picking up of my food items. I was finally good at something and actually enjoyed doing it, a win-win. Pay for play. I had gotten so good at my station I helped out on the grill when it was overwhelmed, and the other line cooks when they needed a hand. The sous chef was ecstatic because it meant less work for him so he could go back to the glass racks where he would find non culinary satisfaction.
By early December I was beginning to fall apart from all the sex and drugs. I lived with my girlfriend Janet who enjoyed the weed and coke as much as I did. I always reserved some of both for home. It was becoming harder and harder, or sometime not hard at all, to perform sexually with Janet between my indiscretions and the coke both. The staff Christmas party was just around the corner and I could only imagine what a sick fucking party it would be. There wa sure to be tons of party enhancers and lots of parking lot sex. I resisted as best I could at Moonleaves when sex was offered but in the end I wasn’t the most faithful of lovers. No way I could bring Janet the party to meet the waitresses I have been with. I know Janet didn’t like me working there, and for good reason she was jealous. I was juggling it all really well, barely balancing sex at home and Moonleaves by never allowing the two to overlap. Repeated requests to meet my “friends at the restaurant” were deflected and redirected. Janet wasn’t stupid and even though I was a “strapping young stud” I could only handle so much. Besides, a girlfriend always knows, whether it’s the distant scent of perfume from a tryst hours ago or just the way we kiss. Putting passion into a kiss is like a fingerprint to a woman, and Janet was quite a woman. “JT, either you take me to the Christmas party to meet your friends or I’m going to eat there everyday.” Trapped like the rat fink I was.
I needed to figure out how to keep Janet from the restaurant. My two separate lives were on a collision course and the explosion would surely destroy both worlds. A plan was hatched. Let me just put a touch of perspective on this, I have hatched an enormous number of plans and from that maybe a handful have worked in my favor. This one had all the earmarks of being amongst the majority of failures. What logic I found in asking Janet to marry me as a way to get out of this would confound Einstein. But that was the plan, to buy a ring, ask Janet if she’ll marry me, an tell her we could get married sometime next year. I believed it would give me time to figure out a balance. Now I just had to figure out how to balance the news to Trudy, the waitress who sort of became my work girlfriend, the one waitress I had become exclusive with at Moonleaves. I know she is planning something huge for us at the Christmas party that involved a jello bath and some Quaaludes so I decided I could wait until after the party which now Janet won’t feel a need to go to. I’ll tell her its not a “party” party but more like we all just sit down to dinner together. Weak at best, but I was convinced of my own schmoozing abilities.
Janet was prepared for the usual argument surrounding Moonleaves and the staff party so it caught her totally off guard when I handed her a small box. Her eyes lit up like stadium floodlights, “What is this? JT……What’s in the box?” Girlish excitement was building as her face took on a kid at Christmas look. “Well…..why don’t you open it and see.” Her hands shook fumbling with the box as I positioned myself on my knee in front of her timing my request in perfect unison with the opening, “Janet, will you marry me?” She jumped up screaming, her hands flailing wildly, “Oh my God yes, yea of course JT, of course I’ll marry you.” We embraced while Janet allowed tears to flow freely, tears of happiness and even I got caught up in the frenzy. After kissing me a dozen times or so I became unimportant, “I’ve got to tell my Mom, and my sister, and…” She rattle off a number of her besties while the depth of what I had just done sunk in. Jesus shit, what have I done? Not sure I thought this one through.
Janet and I made love that night, with extreme emotion and reckless abandon. It was the wildest sex the two of us had in a very long time. Four times before we finally collapsed in exhaustion. The party had not come up in conversation once and now I’m not so sure I played this right. I will most likely need to opt out of the party all together to concentrate more on how to keep work and home separate on a more permanent basis. I would need to tell everyone at Moonleaves I was engaged which would change things drastically. I could still do the drugs, but the sex had to stop. Maybe it was for the better anyway.
The second I got to Moonleaves I was prepared to tell everyone of my wedding plans, but Trudy had other idea’s. Trudy was a hot an very sexy chick, not the kind of girl you bring home to Mama. With long straight jet back hair and the sexiest eyes alive! She wore a ton of make up which she didn’t really need because she was real pretty. But the make up made her look intensely sexy, like the woman that grabs you by your libido and forces you to surrender to her will. Thick black eyeliner, huge curled eyelashes, a deep blue swatch above each eye and the reddest lipstick around coating some naturally thick succulent lips. HOT! She put her hands up to my chest, looked deep into my soul with eyes smiling that sex smile that melts my loins. With a playful kittenish demeanor she pushed me toward the glass racks. I should resist, this shit has to stop. Too much drugs and I know Trudy thinks we are boyfriend and girlfriend even though she knows I live with Janet. I mean she lives with her boyfriend so its not like we would ever be together as a couple. That’s it, no more! She pushed my back against one of the racks and I grabbed her cheeks tilting her head up to mine to tell her we can‘t do this. Oh my God she looked so hot and vulnerable. Before I spoke a word her hand wandered down my stomach to my jeans as she undid my belt, then the zipper. Before I knew it I was rock hard on the racks moaning while Trudy gave me the most incredible head ever. When she finished me off she raised her head, kissed me with an open mouth an I hungrily swapped spit with her. “Mmmmm, that was good baby, see you after my shift?” I was no longer thinking no more, I was thinking lets do it again Trudy. “Of course baby, I’ll get a room after service.” I gotta quit this job!!!

Hope I Die Before I Get Old

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A Potsink Diary Reflection
Cooking at a rest home was not especially challenging but I’m still in a kitchen, at least sometimes, and I had fun working with Margie and Flo. Margie was not only the big boss but a favorite of the owner so she called all the shots and since we worked together much of the time we became fast friends. I got my kitchen responsibilities done faster and faster so I could have more time on the floor to hang out with the nurse and the aides. We laughed and joked a lot, I was one of only two males working there, but it just never dawned on me that nurses could not only tease with expertise, but they are also practical jokers.
One day as I was flirting with one of the aides Margie snuck up from behind and said to me “Jhay, you afinish so faust today dot we got spayshal job for a you.” A shot of adrenalin started coursing through my central nervous system because the sound of that had an eerily similar ring to it. It sounded too much like the “downtime” Chef Jimmy was so adept at. I thought back to all the mindless tasks the chef assigned me that not only bored me to tears but drained what little sanity I had left in me. In a sheepish voice I inquired if it was in fact anything like downtime but Maggie assured me it was just a small job and she needed help with an SSE. I started to feel a little relief, SSE didn’t sound like it was anything horrible. But an uneasy feeling did come over me when I saw the dastardly dog smile on the other nurses. “Meet us up inna Miss Lemcows room upstair. We meet you dare Jhay.”
When I walked in the room I began to get a tad concerned. After all, this place was loaded with some of the most extremely senile people to ever observe the Civil War. At the very least they read about it in the “Recent History” books. I was called into the bathroom where they had poor Mrs. Lemkaugh sitting naked on the toilet. It was an embarrassing sight for me but Mrs. Lemkaugh never even took notice of me. She wasn’t in control of her faculties and as I would soon find out not in control of bodily functions. I tried to look away but its like a car accident, the harder I tried the more I looked. I was depresses at how depressed the old woman’s body was. Any muscles or tendons in her breasts had long ago lost any of its substance and hung like deflated balloons. Her whole body just seemed so frail and wrinkled. I felt very uncomfortable, as though I were violating her privacy. I guess I was but she was completely unaware of my existence let alone my embarrassment at that violation. I looked away choosing to focus on my Jamaican boss who I was beginning to develop a crush on. In Margies hand was a metal can much like a flour sifter with a red rubber hose attached to it. “Here Jhay, I need a you hole dis can up over da heyd ofa Miss Lemcow.” Totally confused and wondering what the fuck was happening I stared blankly as I grabbed the can. Flo, the sexy forty something nurse leaned up to my ear and whispered “Is this your first Soap Suds Enema honey?” It took a minute for the words to sink in. Now the SSE took on an entirely dark aura. I had heard all three words before but never in the same sentence and certainly not as a single concept, but there it was. Soap. Suds. Enema. Innocuous as three words, I use soap, I bust suds, and I know what an enema is but how in the fuck can all three become one? Pondering the concept it can only mean one thing. I was holding a can of soapy water, so there’s the soap and suds, but where does enema fit in? I looked down at Margie grabbing the other end of the rubber hose and in an instant it hit me. Oh my fucking god in heaven that’s where it fit in, literally. She is sticking that hose in….in..oh my fucking god in heaven she stuck the end of the hose in Mrs. Lemkaugh ass!! “Okay Flo let off de valve.” Flo, the not so sexy anymore forty something nurse, shot me a smile usually reserved for Karmic retribution. She reached up and released the valve. In an instant the can emptied its contents of soapy water and went directly to Lemkaughs ass, which apparently mixed in the contents the Mrs. Lemkaughs gastro-intestinal system was holding on so dearly to. It made the stink carousel of decayed horseshit from my old landscaping days seem like jasmine incense. I gagged as I tried desperately not to breath. At least not through my nose although inhaling that stench in my mouth did not seem an acceptable alternative. I could tell they were enjoying my pain and Flo let out a chuckle. They had gotten me good on this one. “Am I done here?” After I managed to utter my request, I held my breath and very quietly offered a “Jesus shit” mantra “Of course Jayh, you canna go backs de kitchen.” With that I put down my soap suds enema can and left the room. I could still hear the ladies laughing and all kind of sloshing and flushing. I gagged once again as I considered a despicable thought. I feared this wouldn’t be my last SSE and my job around the nursing home was evolving a bit too rapidly.
I was to learn quickly that playing jokes was a way for the nurses to keep their sanity in check. Everyone says don’t get involved with the patients but you really can’t help it. It’s like being surrounded by your grandparents and all their alter egos and they are all so cute. One of the darkest jokes was when Margie sent me into Old Mrs. Carrols room to check on her because she never showed up for lunch. Mrs. Carroll was a staff favorite because she was funny and didn’t seem to have any family. At least none that came to visit. She was kind of in her own little world but she was funny as all hell when she got rolling on shit. “JT? What the damn kind of a name is JT? Whassa mattah, your Mom and Dad couldn’t afford a whole name so they just gave you initials? Where are you from anyway, N Y?” She would say shit like that with deadpan face and so sarcastically accurate it could make a sack of onions cry in envy. Anyway, I went in to see how she was and she was like motionless in bed with her eyes closed. It was eerily quiet in the room which smelled strongly of stale urine. Another aroma I had become accustomed to! Many of the patients, the old folks, had lost control of their body functions. Every room had a cloud of urine stink to one degree or another and the carpets had faded stains everywhere if you looked close. But today the urine cloud was unusually aggressive. It snuck out from the corners of the stained and worn carpet and like a stench poltergeist dancing about merrily in search of an olfactory gland to haunt. And haunt it did. With the unappealing fragrance of rotten eggs soaked in ammonia the cloud of stench creeps into your nostrils and looks for a place to hang out. Sometimes it teams up with the century old shit stink. After decomposing in a ninety year old set of intestines remnants collect in the bowels to congregate. I looked over at Mrs. Carrol who was just lying in bed. But I mean JUST lying! She wasn’t moving at all. I called her name and no response. The silence in the room was the most eerie silence I had ever felt and as I got closer to Mr. Carrol her face was purple and lifeless. I damn near shit myself. I began to shake and knew in an instant that the smell today was so strong because its the smell of death! Something I never ever want to smell again. I was overcome with emotion. Profoundly sad because someone I care about is lying dead in front of me, confused because what the Hell is death anyway, and angry because why did she have to die. I wondered who her family was, if they cared. Had she known love? Is there anyone from her life who’s going to miss her. Then I started thinking how I have to break the news to Mar….Wait! What!! Son of a bitch they knew when they sent me in here! My anger shifted its focus.
When I got back to the lounge they were all laughing hysterically like it was one big god damn joke. My emotions were boiling until I looked at the ladies. They were laughing, but they were crying too. They were trying to cope with the loss the only way they knew. I walked up to Margie, looked her right in the face and said, “Oh yea, laugh now, cuz when I get you back you gonna forget how to laugh at all.” She glared back at me then we all started laughing, and crying, and this weird hugfest started as we all tried to put Mrs. Carrols death away to somewhere. Deep in some mental attic filled with cobwebs so it won‘t effect us. Like I said, we’re not supposed to get attached but it sure is hard when you lose a patient you’re attached to. Real hard.
But that was life at Mimi Dee’s. A mixture of emotions and never knowing what the day would bring. I was cooking again, flirting tirelessly, but had become a fixture. Something had to give. All the young ladies, some from my school, some from other schools, and the nurses. I flirted like it was part of my job. And let me tell you I really dug it. I did feel some degree of guilt because Carrie and I were very serious about each other. Flirting wasn’t exactly cheating, but it wasn’t complete faithfulness either. But still I dug the shit out of so much attention from so many females. Margie would tease me relentlessly about taking me home to her ‘Garden Apartment” when hey boyfriend Bob was out of town. It felt so good but I worried a little if I would ever take it too far. I want to be faithful, but between my raging hormones and insatiable sweet tooth for dancing on the edges of life I had to consider I may one day get too close to that edge. On top of that I knew life was getting stale for me here. I knew I needed to get out of here and get back to proper cooking but I was just so comfortable here, and comfort isn’t something I’ve had much of in my short life. So what do I want to be, a chef or a cheating boyfriend with a job but no career. Something has to give.

Time To Settle Down.

Sugar’s Existential Crisis and A Sweet Intervention

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(A Love Once so Sweet)
Sugar cries “Oh girl you must be mad what happened to the sweet love you an me had? Against the door he leans starts a scene and tears fall an burn his sugar dream.” Yea, it’s me your old pal sugar and I’m having an existential crisis. I’m not gonna sugar coat this I just don‘t even know who I am anymore. Remember me sweetie? I was always there for you when you were a kid, always! First in cubes wrapped in paper, then in bowls at the table, I was dancing in your candy, frozen in your ice pops, swimming in soda, and even the subject of one of your favorite movie songs. You remember Mary Poppins singing about how a spoonful of me helped the medicine go down. But now many of you scorn me, blame me for so much of the bad stuff in the world. Don’t hate me just because I’m refined, I can’t help being well educated. Seems you love culture in yogurt but oh my god don‘t let sugar get refined. It isn’t fair, it makes my crystals burn with anger contemplating what’s happening to my once sweet life.
People say I ruin dental plates and rot teeth, I increase peoples body fat, I cause hyper-activity in children, I cause acne in tens, I‘m bad for your liver and I cause diabetes. Now some even suggest I‘m responsible for cancer. Four out of five doctors hate me but I’m not mean spirited or evil, just ask the fifth doctor. When did I become such a bad influence? Why do they categorize me so unfairly, after all, I’m just a carbohydrate, a simple sugar. You can find me naturally in milk and fruits. You may know and love me by some of my other names, fructose, glucose, or maltose. When people use those names they aren’t so quick in judging me. It’s when they use the full force of their contempt staring at me disapprovingly and calling me “Refined Sugar” with an unabridged distain that hurts. It make my blood caramelize and goes directly into my dextrose filled heart . Who am I, what am I, why am I here? I think I need to do some repressed memory exercises to search out my roots and maybe figure out where our love story went wrong.
You may not realize this but I’m older than Jesus Christ himself. That’s right, I came on the scene around 8,000BC in Asia. Yea I was a mere infant back then and was extracted through chewing the cane I was born in. Some brilliant dude in India figured out how to crystallize me around 350AD. They shared the method with some Buddhist monks and before I knew it I was a staple in desserts everywhere. Believe me, its no coincidence that stressed spelled backwards is desserts and I was the main reason! Anyway, the Romans and Greeks used me in medicine (another non-coincidence, lol) but the Arabs actually built housing for me they called mills. Now I was a substance of great importance. An import of great importance and exportance. Cultures went crazy for me, the British colonists even referred to me as white gold. I was a huge profit maker and unfortunately a main reason for slavery in the Caribbean. I don’t like to talk about that aspect, that was the dark period of my life. Not brown sugar, that’s jut me teamed up with molasses. So you see, I’m really not a bad guy and I just don’t understand all the negative energy around me.
My troubles began back in 1957 when some “refined” doctor classified me as poison and accused me of being nothing but “empty calories” shortly after I achieved refined status. “Oh he doesn’t really have any vitamins or minerals like the natural stuff.” Get over yourself Doc, I bring the sweet baby, I make people feel good about themselves, make them happy. I put smiles on children faces. Is THAT empty?
Anyway, that’s why I have been questioning life and why I’m here. What I need is some support, an empathetic ear and comforting words from my friends to let me know I’m still loved. That’s why The Existential Baker asked you all here today to this sugar intervention. He put aside his own profound queries on life which rive him mad just for today to help me get my sugar Zen back on track and into dessert and other culinary preparations. Place your wrath back on GMO’s where it belongs, not on an old sweet friend. When you open your cupboards later today thank that 5 pound bag of sugar for always being there for you, tell the cute little sugar bowl how great it tastes and put some in your coffee or tea. I know many of you use artificial sweeteners and that’s okay so long as you don’t forget about me. Go ahead and use me, use me as much as you want I don’t mind. Just don’t overuse me, I do sometimes have a tendency to wear out my welcome as well as a few teeth when I’m used too much…….Peace

The Sick Bastards Network presents Naked Chef

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The hottest kitchen competition in town)
Rated WSC (Warped Sexual Content) Parental discretion advised. In fact make that everyone’s discretion

Its hotter than Hells kitchen, bigger and harder than any of the Top Chefs, more dangerous than having it Chopped. Its here and its sure to make the Doughboy rise and moisten Melba‘s peaches. The Buck Bone Naked Chef lets it all hang out in a bare bones competition that leaves no sharpening stone unturned. What kind of creations will come up as three naked contestants ply their culinary trade and anything else that pops up while in the buff. That’s right three naked chefs competing for the coveted title of The Buck Bone Naked Chef.
Tonight We’ll see if Jack can whip up your soufflé or cause it to fall short. Will Destiny’s skilled hands get the dough to rise or will she end up going down? Will Stan fluff his meringue into stiff peaks or will he fold over. Join our three judges Ben Dover, Hal Apeno, and Helen Back as they choose who’s naked body raises their bar and who goes home fully dressed and unsatisfied…

Well good evening folks I’m your host, Hugh Jass so come join me on this episode of Naked Chef. First lets introduce our contestants. From Pullet Pennsylvania, Master Chef of “The Back Door”, Jack Mioff. Jack? “I’m Jack Mioff and I work 16 hour days so I won’t stop until I’ve given every ounce I have.” …Ho ho, he sure looks like he can go the distance, next here from Deepcavern Nevada , chef Destiny Dancer who heads up the culinary staff at “Swinging On The Maypole” in downtown Twin Peaks, Destiny? “Me and my girls are coming for you boys if your not up for it now you will be when I finish you!” ….Hoho, threatening words from such a pretty lady. I’m even feeling it,haha. And finally, Stan Dinghard, the very popular New York City chef at “The G spot”,.. Stan? “ When I pull out my secret weapon from under my apron it will bring them to their knees.”…. Oh boy, sounds like he’s got more than just a few tricks under that apron, I think we’re gonna have some very stiff competition tonight. So Let’s get right to it contestants. In the first round we’ll be looking to see what our naked culinary competitors can come up with using the secret ingredients, Zucchini and Oysters. Contestants, strip off your clothes and get to work. You have 20 minutes to pull it off.

Okay here we go folks, Jack has turned on the Hobart 10 gallon mixer and ..Oh my god look at him go. The mixers on low and he’s rolling his hips in time to the machine, very suggestive I think he’s trying to throw Destiny off her game, lets listen in on the judges, “ Oh my dog Hal it looks to me like he’s hanging bit too close to the mixing bowl and….Ohh snap, that had to hurt!”.. “I’ll bet it did Helen, not sure how he’ll get that out of the whisk. I would have used a paddle myself whada you think Ben?” “I think Destiny has great melons.” “Just like you to notice Ben but either way Jack’s’s gonna have to get that thing out of the mixer.” …. Okay, lets go on over and see just what Destiny has working up. Well look at this folks Destiny is giving you viewers quite a treat as she rolls out her dough. That’s some serious bouncing right there, haha. .. Back to the judges, “Holy crap Helen what ees she doing with dat zucchini?” “I can tell you this Hal, the way she is washing that thing the zucchini may come squeaky clean but I can’t wait to see how it makes Stan Dinghard deal with the sight, he hasn’t taken his eyes off her.” No kidding Helen, Hal you seem to be staring yourself. I hope they can get back to work..”….. They aren’t kidding folks, Stan hasn’t moved a muscle. Well hasn’t moved a muscle aside from the obvious hanging chad muscle, haha…. Tell you the truth I’m not sure she’s washing the zucchini it looks to me its more like she’ greasing it for something. Lets go see if Chef Dinghard has his head back in the game. I see he’s not standing still, he’s just having trouble getting his oysters off. Seems the shell is clamming up him, hahaha. But it looks like all three are making headway. Whoa, hear that bell, 2 minute warning constants, time to wrap things up and start plating for the judges.
While our contestants plate their appetizers lets meet our judges for tonight’s competition. From Mexico, the man who puts then heat in the meat of Mexican food everywhere, Hal Apeno. “Tank a you, tank a you, I am berry pleased to be here.”…Okay Hal. A man of few word, haha, and now the lady who has gone from being a homeless crack addict to restaurant whore, I mean restaurateur, Helen Back. “Hellooo everybody. So nice to be here on Naked Chef Bone. Can’t wait to see all the booty. Heheh, I mean bounty Hugh, not booty, hehehehehe. I‘m just happy to be near you Hugh Jass, teehee”… And I‘m certainly happy to be near you Helen. I can see you have your big cleavage…Oops, hahaha, I mean your big cleaver tonight Helen. I better watch where I put my meat, hoho. How much did that monster set you back. Four dollars and ninety cents I think, I gave the guy a five dollar bill and he gave me back two nipples. Oops, heheheheh, I mean I don’t know how much Hugh.” ….No worries Helen, we speak blond here on Sick Bastard Network so we know just what you mean honey. And now our final judge, the man who puts the coarse in intercourse, Ben Dover. “Oh piss off Hugh, when your tip reaches your butt you can just fuck yourself.” … haha, eat shit and live Ben. I see Ben is in rare form tonight so contestants, bring out the dishes. What have you got there Jack Mioff?
“Well I got off to a rough start letting it hang too close to the bowl there, but I made autoerotic oysters. Oysters hogtied around this slice of battered zucchini covered with smothered onions.“ Mmmm, looks good Jack Mioff and clever theme, lets see what the judges think, Hal? “No very spicy but still she’s a hot, not bad there Jack Mioff, not bad at all.”…All right. Confidence from Hal, not bad at all, Helen? “It feels good going down my throat but its much too big. I like to start off with small mouthfuls.” Okay Helen, well said, how bout my angry friend Ben, what say you? “Piss off Hugh, this looks and tastes like shit.”…Oh no, not much praise from Ben Dover. Next we have the well endowed Destiny. What do you bring to the table Destiny? “I made a dill cake with greased zucchini and raw oyster because they make me horny.”…. Hahaha, I think I’m horny too Destiny, but what about our judges, Hal? “Spicy and hot. I want her.”… Ho ho, I hope you mean it was hot and not her. Helen? “I just can’t get that image of her greasing the zucchini out of my head, so slow, up and down, and up and down. I vote for her to do it again. How on earth did you get the bread so tasty Destiny?” “Oh, hehehe, I used fresh dill because fresh dill makes a tasty dill dough.” …. Okay lets not go there, too deep for me, haha, lets move on. Ben? “piss off Hugh, I just want to screw her. I’d like her to Ben Dover, haha.” ….Good enough Ben, good enough, believe it or not that’s big props from Ben Dover. Finally what did you make Stan Dinhghard? “I made a zucchini pancake with oysters absolut. Vodka glazed oysters with some bacon and Vidalia onion chutney on top.” …Mmmmm sounds delish to me, whadaya think there Hal? “Actually this shit looks good and tastes amazing. Maybe just needs a little hot sauce.” …Another nice compliment from Hal, lets hear what Helen has to say… “My God Stan is hung like a horse. What I’d really like is for Destiny to grease his zucchini, hehe. But I really like the way this whole thing feels in my mouth.” …My that’s a ringing endorsement from the slutty, oops sorry, I mean sultry Helen Back. Now our final judge, Ben?…. Get your head out of your huge ass Hugh, you know this food rocked it. But does he have to keep swinging that humongous sausage around?” ….Well Helen seems to lick it, I mean like it. Contestants, one of you will be eliminated this round lets see who has to get dressed.
Well the judges have spoken. Jack Mioff, your zucchini bread was pretty flat but your sticking it in the mixer was entertaining, Destiny, greasing that zucchini was so intense all three judges voted for you to have immunity this round, and Stan, I gotta say, you better not get too hard or there’s gonna be an accident for sure. So the first one to put their clothes back on… Jack Mioff. Sorry jack, get dressed an go back home. “Fuck you guys, this game sucks. I want to slap you Hugh.” …Whoa!! Ha ha, I’m ready for it, go ahead Jack Mioff. There goes one sore loser, but then if I had my beef jammed in the mixer I’d be black and blue too. Lets go to the final round. Contestants your ingredients for tonight’s entrée is banana, figs, and pork tenderloin. Destiny, Stan…..get to it, you have thirty two minutes.

Stan is off to a fast start, he has his tenderloin up on the counter and it looks like he’s… massaging it? Oh wait, I see what he’s doing, look at Destiny fixated on Stan’s tender loin. Lets listen in on our judges… “Conyo man, dat some huge tender dere Helen, si?” “Oh yea I see that thing Hal, Destiny seems to be staring too she better snap out of it and…oh wait, oh my God, I never knew anyone could peel a banana like that!” “Holy cheet Helen, Stan just stopped pounding his meat.” ..“Will you two idiots quit babbling, of course he stopped for chrissake, look at the way that broad is eating the banana!” Wow!! Damn she’s not eating it, she’s sucking that thing and I want to take notes. Hugh if I could do a banana like that I’d have all of you guys licking my fingers and eating it.” ….Hoho, I think Helen meant eating out of her hand but either way everyone has stopped everything and…..Wait, what’s this?? Oh oh, this could be bad news for Stan, he may get disqualified. He has piled up all the ingredients in a tower. That’s quite an erection he’ got there, no pun intended, hope he can recover. Destiny is back by the stove and is she ever giving our viewers a view. Ten minutes to go contestants, Stan, better calm that thing down before it gets disqualified. We want you to stick it out, but not that far out, haha, and Destiny I sure hope you have something to lay on your plate. We’ll be back after these messages from our sponsors, Trojan Condoms, with their new stealth rubber, she’ll never see you coming, and our favorite fast food chain, Mc Do-me’s, they give you the meat but hold the pickle.

Welcome back folks, the final bell has rung and its time to find out who gets dressed and who gets their own reality show. Judges, lets see what Destiny and Stan have for you. Destiny, what is your entrée? “I have roast tenderloin with rolled up balls of figs. As a side I placed the tip of the banana into a sliced fig.” Oh my, that’s an interesting presentation, it looks almost phallic, Hal? …“Phallic schmallic Hugh, I jus wanna see her eat another banana.” …Sorry Hal, that trigger has already been tripped, Helen? ..”Destiny, meet me after the show!” ….Helen I’m not sure, “Piss off Hugh, let them meet Helen said I can watch! Just give her the prize and get rid of the dude.” ..Um, oh, I..I.. It doesn’t work like that Ben, we need to judge. Lets go quick, And I mean quick to see what Stan cooked up for us, Stan? …”Not that I think its even gonna matter, but I made scaloppini of pork tenderloin grilled in banana skin, with a cognac fig reduction and a purée of savory banana over cinnamon infused Jasmine rice.” …That sounds mighty tempting Stan, what do you thin Hal?…”Taste good, but not as good as dee chick.” Yikes, Helen? Helen? Stan, you can’t do that, get away from Helen…”Shut up Hugh, don’t stop Stan, if you keep going until I come you get my vo….oh shit, that was pre mature!!” Helen, please, this is…”Piss off Hugh. We all voted and the dude is out. Clean yourself off and get dressed Dinghard! Bring those melons over here sweetheart, you’re the winner.” …. Ben you can’t say that kind of….oh, damn…We’ll be right back…CUT!!! Go to commercial now!!”
Shsshshshshshsshshshshshshshshshshshhsshhsh……….
Hello folks, welcome back I’m Hugh Jass here at The Naked Chef on The Sick Bastard TV Network, along with our celebrity judges, Hal Apeno, Helen Back, and Ben Dover. Well we had an unconventional show tonight to say the least but with this cast its about what we’d expect around here. We have to say good bye to a fierce competitor, but quite frankly Destiny made it hard for him from the start. In fact she made it hard for just about all of us. Stan plunged in and gave it his all but in the end he got beat by his competitor. Destiny made it so long and hard for him he just had to down, and not just on Helen, haha. His cream wasn’t rising to the top no matter how hard he was…I mean tried. Stan, put your clothes on and hit the road dude, Destiny will remain naked. “Can I just say I had a great time here. I won’t be able to beat it for a while but I am glad I came. Helen, thank you for your number I’ll give you a call. Destiny, if I had to go down I’m glad it was on you, I will never forget seeing your milk pillows bounce as you rolled out your dough. I think my only mistake was with the thickness of my pork, I didn’t pound my meat enough, but Destiny’s knockers knocked it out of the park anyway.” …Indeed they did Stan, glad to see your not a sore loser. Personally I can’t wait to watch Destiny beat her next opponents on Naked Chef Champions. In the meantime I’m gonna Ben Dover my Hugh Jass to Helen Back until Hal Apeno gets it Stan Dinghard so Destiny Dancer can Jack Mioff. Thanks for joining us, I’m a Hugh Jass and we’ll see you next time on, The Naked Chef.

This Is Your Life Spinach (Potsink Diaries)

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Here’s to you spinach you vibrant green member of the vegetable kingdom, winner of the peoples choice award for your leading role in Iron Man the Diet, voted outstanding roughage of the year from 2009-2013, four years in a row. A staple in the Gerber Baby line of vitamin rich pabulum sides, forever etched in our culture as the thing to eat for instant strength. I know many of us treated you badly in our early years sticking you in our pockets to avoid eating you when Mom attempted to force feed you to us. In the end though Mom was right because you really are “Good for us.” We’ve grown up and have learned to appreciate you not only as a side but as the base of spinach salads, the central ingredient in restaurant appetizer dips, and the heart of spinach casseroles. We’ve even forgiven you for that time you got stuck in our teeth embarrassing the hell out of us. We’ve come to love you so this tale is dedicated to you, Spinicia Oleracea, you green edible flowering plant we love to consume.

This Is Your Life Spinach

The worst thing about being a line cook on a slow night in a restaurant is the tedious chores a skillful chef can come up with. Whether its peeling a hundred pounds of shrimp we don‘t need today or the hundred and fifty pounds of potatoes the day shift now won’t have to peel tomorrow the chores always suck. Don’t believe me? Try rolling two thousand meatballs then laying them on out sheet trays. Yea the extra chores suck and everyone has one downtime task in particular they hate so much they would be willing to pay someone else to o for them. At the very least make an attempt to barter a fair trade for something less mundane. Being assigned many thankless “preps” I developed a trick that worked for me using my ability to zone out into a meditative daydream state to amuse myself while performing. I create stories or events built around the object of my benign task. One night for example, the chef came out from the walk in with two bushels of fresh spinach on a cart.
“Ah….JT… Ere ees some spinach needs to cleaning, get on top of it.” Spinach? I hate cleaning spinach! Most people buy spinach in those easy to use cello bags already picked through and washed but a bushel of fresh spinach in a restaurant comes complete with lumps of dirt, roots, and stems requiring tedious meticulous attention to get clean. Spinach is my personal bane, the one task I really hate because it seems the bushel is an abyss. I‘d rather do the shrimp or even the potatoes but what else can you do? “yes chef”
The first of two bushels was placed on the table so I jumped in and began picking while mentally preparing myself for my zone. Highly skilled at meditation I spent two minutes getting my breathing right and clearing my mind to make room for some internal entertainment. I picked the first few leaves placing them in a large bucket working up to a rhythm so I can go on autopilot:

The crowd is cheering building to a crescendo as Ralph Edwards walks on stage. A hush over the people as he begins, “ Born in what was then Persia, you moved to the Mediterranean around the age of 8. Knighted by Catherine De Medici you worked your way into our hearts and palates around the world. Green and leafy you come packed with iron and vitamins. Maybe kids don’t find you appealing but the health conscious world adores you and your attributes. In particular the vegan crowds hail you as the perfect vegetable. Stand up and take your place on the vegetable pedestal because tonight, Spinach……This Is Your Life.” The crowd roars it approval as spinach takes it place on the large Barcalounger chair smiling from root to root.
“Do you remember this voice Spinach? A raspy voice from backstage, “Hey pal how the Hell are you? Long time my leafy green buddy. Remember the old days in the supermarkets when no one picked me unless they thought I was you?” A short pause before the recognition, “Oh my God, Kale, how are you? I hear you’ve become quite popular yourself, I can’t believe you came here tonight.” Spinach and kale reunite on stage and share a few stories from the old days… “Wait spinach, there’s more. Does this ring a bell? “I bet people will buy more spinach if I can find a way to freeze it.” Spinach jumps up knocking kale to the floor, “Clarence? Clarence Birdseye? Holy shit Clarence you came from the deep freeze to honor me? I am verklempt. My sales increased tenfold since I met you.” The crowd is giving Clarence a standing O, Clarence embraces spinach lovingly. “We’ll be right back.”

“Ordering, one chicken, two veal and a shrimp!” The familiar sound of the chef ordering, we have some customers so I am free from the drudgery of spinach picking for the time being and back on the line cooking. Karen the cute waitress nudges me, “Back from outer space JT?” I shoot her my trademark mysterious stoner smile, “Theres room in outer space for two. Should I reserve you a spot?” As usual my chef is unimpressed, “JT get your ass back on the line. Stop too talk right now.” Chefs English was always good for a laugh so knowing he meant stop talking I went up to him and said, “That’s what I’m doing chef, I’m stopping to talk.” Karen giggled while I high tailed it to my station sensing the confusion in my chef as he’s trying to figure out what I meant. Anyway fun time over for now, time to get back to do what I do best, cook. Unfortunately the rain has put a damper on the evenings diners and the service is short lived. Thirty minutes later my chef sentences me back to picking spinach. Back to my zone:

Ralph returns center stage, “Tonight we honor Spinach who comes in three basic forms, Savoy, dark green curly leaf variety, semi Savoy, the hybrid which is slightly less crinkly and far more popular, and the flat which is the one being cleaned here tonight. You have added nutrition to so many dishes around the world, adding vitamins and iron as well as flavor, but none as popular as the dish created by this blast from your past. Recognize the accent? “If y’all really wanna know love its when I add epinards to something I done made fer John D. Rockefeller. When he done come downa mah place in Nawlins he be looking fer some special way to eats them there sex making bivalves so popular here in The Big Easy. Eye-sters. Mmm mmm, he show dew love him some eyesters that Rockefeller!” Spinach sat up in its chair, “Antoine? Oh my god chef Antoine! Wow, Man you lifted me to culinary royalty when you created Oysters Rockefeller, how can I ever thank you?” The crowd watches as Spinach tears up an hugs the hefty Cajun chef.
“Wait spinach, we aren’t done yet we have one last person here to say hi.” The crowd gets tense waiting for this last visitor as a voice booms across the room, “Well blow me down, ack, ack, ack. Well that’s all I kin stand and I cant stands no more.” The crowd goes wild as Popeye walks from behind the curtain to a thunderous applauses. Spinach lets the tears flow this time overjoyed to see the one person who has done more for it than anyone else ever. Together they break into song, “I’m strong to the finish cuz I eats my spinach, I’m Popeye The Sailor Man.” Olive Oyl, Wimpy, and Brutus join the duo as the screams of elation erupt. It’s a Popeye The Sailor/Spinach reunion for the ages!

As the celebration continues the very popular sailor pulls something out of his pocket replacing his pipe with a rolled cigarette. “Ahoy there Spinach, I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam. Would you like a hit of this jay?” Simultaneously Olive Oyl walks over with a serving tray with cup saucer and teapot. “Ohh my, would you like some tea?” Popeye insists, No have a jay” Olive counters again, “Tea!” it’s a battle now of who can be loudest. “Jay!” “Tea!”, “jay!” “tea!” Finally it dawns on me its neither Popeye nor Olive, neither a jay nor a cup of tea. Its the chef is yelling “JT! What is wrong with you, I said you have an order!” Bam! Snapped back to reality! “Sorry chef, I just spaced out a second, I’m on it.” I ran behind the line back to my station to cook my orders, “Space out? What iz these a-space out? I was calling you for five minutes, lets go!”
Everything was back to abnormal, the chef yelling, the wait staff scrambling, the cooks sweating it out as the dishwasher puts away the cleaned spinach. The pressure is on but it actually feels good because us crazed restaurant people thrive on pressure. I can’t help though to take one last look at my bucket of cleaned spinach smiling while thinking it wasn’t all that bad a task after all. While my five sauté pans sizzled out a rhythmic beat I thanked spinach for all it done. Thanks spinach, even I am green with envy…Peace

It’s Me, Fate, I Hear You Want To Cook Again

fate

From The Potsink Diaries
It‘s been three months since the restaurant closed and fate had interrupted my path to culinary enlightenment by replacing my knives with rakes and shovels. But fate wasn’t done tossing curve balls at me so on one Monday I was taught just what a practical joker fate can be. It appears destiny has a bag full of tricks with a mystical abyss and a knack for emotional table tennis. Like a ping pong ball I got paddled hard forcing me out of the restaurant across the net to a field of hard labor, then smashed back into another kitchen. Fred had driven me to Mimi Dee’s early in the morning to manicure the lawn while he ran about town “performing” some chores. Popular belief on the rumor vine claimed those chores he performed were for one of the nurses at the Huntersville location. Whatev, not my business which was fine by me as it left me alone to work the property at my own pace.
Left to my resources, my new tools of the trade, and a cheap lawnmower I set out to give the yard a neat trimming and edging. A mani-pedi for the acreage of land. After about an hour and a half into my solo performance a very sneaky dark cumulo nimbus cloud slithered across the horizon setting cloud camp above my head. One loud crack of sneering thunder and seconds later I was the focus of a drenching downpour. Not a dipping of the toe in the pool, but one soaked to the bone bucket full of rainwater followed by another. The skies blushed dark crimson as if foretelling the twisted new path fate would have me following. Having become somewhat intimate with fates and destinies I assumed that my new path would be lined with irony. “Jesus Christ this shit’s really coming down. Can’t get anything more done here so I guess I should go inside.” I mumbled it to myself to validate it was proper for me to stop work an seek shelter. As soon as I entered the back door a very familiar sense filled the room. The clanging of pots and pans as they jockeyed for position on the stove, plates chattering while being pulled and stacked from the dishwasher, and a general sense of culinary atmosphere called me by name. The air was full with the smells of a variety of meats and vegetables with wafts of consommé memories from a large pot of chicken infused liquid hoping to one day soon become a soup. The smells and sounds were the familiar frantic state of culinary urgency shortly before service. The aura of intense pressure was reminiscent of Cumberland restaurant, my one time Mecca. It was crunch time even in this institutional kitchen and I was so taken aback by my memories I shook off the rain and blurted out to the Nurse in charge of the kitchen, “Can I help? I know a bit about food.” Without a smile a very attractive Jamaican woman in a not very sexy nurses uniform yelled “I need zeese onions peeled and cut, tink you could a’handle dat?” Nary a word more need be spoken as I rushed over to the table with the onions, grabbed a familiar feeling knife and pulled out a cutting board. In a matter of minutes I had peeled, cored, and diced the onions. “What else do you need?” The Nurse stopped in mid stride and asked “You gotta all dem onions done?” I could tell she was doubting me so I held them up and said “Yup, where do you want them?” She smiled at me with a huge open mouth and I noticed a small gap in her front teeth. Suddenly something seemed sexy about her despite the uniform. As I looked closer I realized the uniform fit pretty tight allowing a perfect view of her shape. She was in her late twenties or early thirties, slender and very pretty with firm looking curves in all the right places. Her skin was smooth and silky with an exotic ebony glow. She looked at me approvingly with dark brown eyes that twinkled sweetly in contrast to the sharp authority she normally displayed on the staff. “Put day inna pot dare witt dee carrots.” When I asked her if she wanted a mirepoix I thought she was gonna run over and kiss me full on the lips. Maybe I hoped she would but either way she flashed me that huge tiny tooth gapped smile. “You do know your way round de Kitchen. My name is Margie and yes, I needa celery in dare too. Tink you canna hanel dat?” Time to respond with my innuendo laced charm, “I can handle whatever you got Margie. My name is JT.” She teased back, “Zhay Tee huh? What kina name is dot, can‘t afford whole name? ” It was feeling good, cooking and flirting again, “My real name is Justin, but my friends call me JT because I am Just Thrilling to be with. It seems we are friends now so I guess you should call me JT.” “Yes indeed it do Mr. Trilling. I tink maybe we work well togetter.” She punctuated her statement with a suggestively tender wink. I can’t tell you my thoughts at that moment but they were accompanied with a tingling typical of a growing boy. It felt great as I assisted Margie in the kitchen getting lunch together quickly and efficiently while the rain continued to pound on the back door just begging to come in for a visit. It felt good to be back in a kitchen flirting again.
After lunch I helped clean up then went outside to put away the tools I had abandoned in the storm since the rain ended as abruptly as it had begun. As I was surveying the yard deciding what else I could do before Fred got back when I heard someone yelling my name. Margie was calling me from the front door of the mansion. When I got there she smiled a huge smile saying to me “I got some good news for you Zhay. I jus talk ‘a Misser Viero an him say you canna work here wit us inna de kitchen and aroun’ de home full time. We canna use the help and you no have to work inna da rain no more. What jew tink jusa trilling?” There it was. Right there fate dangled its fickle tickle of decision in front of me with ominous repercussions. If I say I would love to Fred will be mad but if I say no I will be saying no to old man Viero. Yes also means no more shit spreading, being back in a kitchen, and the chance to do some serious flirting. It really had felt awesome working in a kitchen with Margie. I could definitely see myself working with her and a crew of nurses. Not to mention all the young chicks who help her which I would be working with. Okay, go ahead and mention it I know I will. True I have a steady girlfriend and all, but like my Mom says, “You can look at the menu as long as you remember what your entrée is.” Not sure exactly what she meant but give her credit for trying to speak restaurantese to me. Decision’s made, fate be fucked! “I think I would really like that Margie, when can I start?” She looked as excited as I was and told me I should finish out the week with Fred and start next Monday. Once school starts we will work out a weekend and afternoon schedule. My new job would be to maintain the inside of the home, help in the kitchen and whatever assistance the nurses may need. All in all it seemed like it was nothing but gold, at least until I learned what new adventures were in store for me. I neglected to remind myself that things were not always what they seemed but that’s okay, I would find out in good time what new tricks fate had in store for me to tickle its devious funny bone. As intimate as I thought I was with fate I never realized it was planning to teach me about urine stains and enema’s. I had a lot to learn.

Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Mire (From The Potsink Diaries)

joe K

It wasn’t that I wasn’t used to the fecal matter hitting the rotary oscillator it‘s just I wasn’t thinking the fecal matter would figure into my life. The closing of Cumberland restaurant was a lot to deal with and frankly the furthest thing from my mind was me needing a new job. No longer was I an apostle to a culinary madman, no more waitresses to flirt with, no more free beers or paychecks. I was now saturated with disappointment and disillusionment believing the universe had let me down. Maybe I needed to seek another avenue of employment, to shed the dry snakeskin of the restaurant industry and molt to another field. Actually field sounds right I should get as far away from any kitchen, knife wielding Chef or teasing waitress and do some fieldwork. I need a sacrificial rack of lamb. I should do what Ken suggested and go work landscaping for cash. As fate would have it and timing being everything my brother’s ex boss was in need a laborer. I can labor! So it came to pass that I had became the new landscaper laborer for Munsons Field and Dreams. More accurately put, I had become the new lawn mowing leaf raking topsoil carrying shit spreading go boy. I had chosen to become a hard working laborer having my skin scorched everyday by dermal burning threats the sun makes good on while also enjoying the hearty aroma of freshly decayed organic shit. Not just any old shit, but class A number one horseshit Munson got from the stables. Enough about the perks though, there’s also a downside.
Every day ended the same, my arm and back muscles pounding out a rebellious beat building to a painful crescendo.I try and cool the aches and pains with an ice cold beer but it seem as though all my muscles tightened up into ball of overworked subdermal tissues and tendons screaming at every movement. My skin radiates a pinkish aura from hours spent unprotected by those relentless threats of the harsh sun. It left my neck and shoulders feeling rug burnt adding to my misery. As if that weren’t enough there was an omnipresent stench of decaying crap implanting its neverending carousel of stink deep into my nasal cavity. Deep! One of my less enviable jobs was to take compost, decayed animal shit and who knows what and spread the malodorous mixture across a field. At first the smell of evaporating morning dew so earthy and rich comes up off the ground like a wisp of warm steam in a pleasant tease just waiting for its replacement. Breathe deep and enjoy that nature while you can because within seconds the dank aroma of compost rises triumphantly up the nasal passages. Its a blend of some of the most offensive smells I could ever imagine, if dogs smelled that stench when they sniffed another dogs ass the species would go extinct. The steaming stench of a mountain outhouse combined with a quarantined fraternity bathroom joining forces with week old spoiled milk creating a cacophony of disgust that slowly creeps up my nose making an all out aerial assault on my entire being. The assault continues for hours even after my work day was done. Like pigpen the stench takes on an identity of its own following me everywhere even stalking me all the way to the shower where it finally meets it’s match and scurries defeated into the drain. A small portion of it sets up camp in my clothing as a rank reminder of my newly acquired hopelessness that was eased but never eradicated by the cold beer.
I began doing diet pills every morning to keep me awake and give me the energy to bust my ass out in the shit fields. An expensive proposition because on days that it rained I would be sent home making no money for the day, needing beer and weed to calm me down from the pills. Between the pills, beer and weed I went through all my savings after just one week of solid rain. Penniless I was gloomily staring out Munson’s tool shed listening to the rain wondering how the fuck I got here. As if on cue fate suck its fat foot inside the door forcing its way in. Out of the blue my friend Patrick came by with an offer to become an assistant groundskeeper for a local dude who owns three nursing home properties. It’s a full time job despite weather and Patrick was quitting. The job was open and he promised to recommend me. Think how cool it would be to be able to use my newly acquired skills on three locations where you get paid even if it rains. That’s how it was that I became something different. Now I would be a shit spreader with a title. The assistant groundskeeper of the Vieros Health care facilities. I was still in charge of manure movement but now I can add garage cleaner to my resume. Whatever, I was working and making money on a regular basis again. Besides the work wasn’t nearly as exhausting so life was good again. Adios Munson, now I can concentrate on saving up money to get the Hell out of here.
I found myself spending most of my time at one specific locations, Mimi Dee’s. That was the nickname used by the staff at the Miriam Deegan Adult Home owned by the Vieros one of the richest families in town. They also owned two other homes but I only worked at each once a week. Vieros Ault Home was a full scale nursing home, and the Lighthouse was a health related facility, which is a fancy name for old folks home. The only difference in the two being that about eighty percent of the “patients” at The lighthouse and Mimi Dee’s could care for themselves. Those at Vieros couldn’t even wipe their asses but that was already too much information for me. My concern was making sure all the properties were well kept, trimmed and mowed so the families of the patients would believe that no expense was spared in the upkeep of their parents dwelling. Mimi Dee’s was sort of their flagship home so most of the attention was bestowed on that property. But I was happy mowing lawns and raking leaves, even trimming the shrubs which I knew by name. Not the Latin names, the names I made up for them to keep me sane while spending hours alone caring for properties. Big Zebra, Burning Bush, Sticks, just weird names to entertain me. One great benefit was not having the shit stink hanging around me all day and night.
So here I was in a quaint little Long Island community called Cool Springs working on a property of a former Pratt Mansion turned Rest Home. Tending to the chlorophyll producing zoo of colorful organic plants and flowers busy enjoying their days photosynthesizing away and looking pretty. My boss, Fred drove from property to property and left me alone most of the time. He drove me to Mimi Dee’s, gave me daily chore lists, and went about his business. A questionable bonus was being invited inside for lunch everyday. Not the taste bud tingling foods Jimmy made but it was decent and best of all free. Maybe that wasn’t the best part that would have to be the company at lunchtime. I sat around the table with two other guys, six cute young nurse’s aides, and two nurses. On most days I was the center of attention and I dug that. The free meal was back, the flirting was back, and the paycheck was back. What could possibly go wrong?