Doing A Few Lines, And Line Cooks

after mimi

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

nu

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

shugs

(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

chefcomp

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

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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.

The Tears Of An Onion

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No matter how you slice it the onion will never escape its association with crying. They are the butt of many a culinary joke being the runt of the produce litter bringing even the most well seasoned chef to tears. It’s simply a misunderstood edible member of the gastronomic universe with a bi-polar multiple personality disorder. It suffers from identity crisis whether yellow, red, or white, Spanish, jumbo, pearl, or cocktail, shallot, leek, or scallion. One minute its an essential flavor enhancer and the next a breath altering kiss killer. Is the onion is a taste bud joy bringer or is it a tear jerker? Both. This mood changing bulbous veggie staple is a well known in kitchens throughout the world being embraced by virtually every culture. People are often compared to these versatile ever popular alliums. “He is a complicated Person, with as many layers as an onion.” Indeed concentric in nature the royal onion is as complicated as a vegetable can be. “An onion a day keeps everyone away” That man was so ugly he could make an onion cry.” “ A cat has nine lives but an onion has seven skins.“ “An onion by any other name will never be a rose.” Okay, I made that last one up but you dig what I‘m saying.
Ranging in size from tiny pearls to giant softballs the onion can in fact be peeled one layer after another. A staple in nearly every culture despite having an essence so peculiarly strong and venomous it rivals the skunks ability to cause others to pinch their noses shut tight in an effort to avoid its foul odor. It can turn ones breath into a date breaking whiff “It’s not you baby, its your breath.” Point in fact in many an episode of The Little Rascals Alfalfa was turned away by Darla because he had recently indulged in extra curricular scallion chewing. But to infer that it is somehow evil is a disservice. The onion has a unique ability to coax salty droplets of liquid from our tear ducts which are normally saved for emotional outbursts. Only the slightest provocation of cutlery piercing its flesh brings teardrops scampering down our cheeks in a sometimes uncontrollable frenzy. This audacious vegetable permeates our olfactory senses across the entire kitchen in an all out assault that challenges the garlic’s long standing reign as king of tasty but offensive vegetables.
What’s the reason these bulbous alliums make tears come to our eyes? The official culprit is the result of a chemical reaction that is much too scientific to cover in brief format but suffice to say the onion contains amino acids in the sulfur family that get released into the air. These guilty gasses travel up into the air and rub their irritants into our eyeballs prompting the tear ducts to come to our aid and flush out the acrid acid with a tear or two. I have heard of many sure fire methods to work on these all important taste supplements without caving to the olfactory shock and awe campaign the acids wage. A gas mask will work but its rather uncomfortable and hard to find since the decline of the home bomb shelter. Besides it may frighten the children believing an alien to be cooking dinner. There are more prudent methods which involve keeping your mouth open while cutting into the alliums. In fact that will work for a while because you will inhale the noxious fumes into your lungs via your oral cavity increasing that kiss kill impulse much earlier, but eventually so much gas will enter the atmosphere you will still tear up regardless and have onion breath on top of it. Other methods such as running water, cutting near a flame or on the back burner of a stove produce even less successful results. Keeping something in your mouth is the same principle of an open mouth but for the less disciplined of us. The only real advice I have on this is to keep the onion as cold as possible or keep a small fan blowing away the fumes as you slice, dice, mince, or chop.
Once past the tear inducing cut up stage the onion performs its intended task, the enhancement of flavor to almost any dish. In Cajun cuisine they call the onion and its often present partners peppers and celery the Holy Trinity of cooking. It is the basis of nearly every soup an stew in the world, it adds umpf to pilaf, zing to zucchini and pop to popcorn shrimp. Its in sauces, dressings, dinner entrees, salads, appetizers, starches, sides, veggies and all type of combos. Fried in rings or just bloomin it makes solo appearances and it even has a starring role in cocktails. Yes the onion has a many faceted personality and it brings tremendous flavor enhancement to just about any dish. With a presence so pronounced in the culinary world you would think it deserves a huge birthday celebration, happy onion day, a day all its own. Only problem is, we have no idea exactly when the multi-faceted vegetable icon was born.
Along with its bi-polar identity crisis its origins are nearly impossible to trace, even with vegetable/ancestory.com confusion reigns. Some botanists say it was born in Iran and some say Pakistan. Still others argue it’s originally from Central America but the omnipotent onion seems to have been around forever. Many anthropologists believe it was used by our cave dwelling ancestors which could potentially have acted as a form birth control, or perhaps they used the huge onion as a weapon of ass destruction, but either way it makes determining the birthday impossible. There is evidence in ancient Egypt the onion with its potent aroma was use in an effort to revive the dead. At least until the first unfortunate soul tried shredding the much more aggressive horseradish which may very well have the ability to awaken the non living. The royal onion even found its way into Bible passages. The book of Numbers has the Israelite children lamenting of a diet filled with leeks and onions as they traveled the desert. The Romans, Greeks, and Indians all recognized the healing power of the vitamin rich veggie. The Olympians of ancient Greece fortified themselves with onions before their grueling events. Even the Middle Ages showered glory on these globes of culinary prominence. The three main foodstuffs of that era were cabbage, beans, and onions. The magnificent onion was believed to have incredible medicinal properties curing everything from mouth sores to insomnia. These ever popular kitchen necessities were even taken on board the Mayflower thereby sneaking into our history by adding their special flavor enhancement to the first Thanksgiving feast. It was one of the very first botanical treasures planted by the pilgrims on American soil. Yet still no birthday celebration even after all they’ve done for us. No wonder it seems sad.
Despite all its rich history and near mystical appearances still no mention of a birthday celebration for the used and abused reigning king of culinary staple foods. Perhaps that’s the reason noxious sulphuric vapors seep into our atmosphere. Maybe, just maybe the tears we shed are the tears of the onion itself, living in constant pain of the neglect it experiences because we never gave it a birthday to celebrate like we do. The least we can do for this loyal bulb is grant it one. No reason we can’t heap salutations on this fabulous culinary workhorse, this noxious yet tasty bulbous veggie, this fortune bringing, tear coaxing stench causing staple of the vegetable kingdom. So from this day forward, lets make today, April 4th the official birthday of Allium Cepa, the illustrious and attention deserving onion. Don’t cry for me Argentina, just slice me a few of those birthday onions to have with my champagne. Happy Birthday you many layered edible gem you……PEACE

Chef Jekyll and Mr. Run And Hide

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Pot Sink Diaries
J.T. Hilltop

Working for a manic depressive chef can actually make life in the restaurant more interesting. I say manic but I mean maniacal. Granted if you were the target of his demonic wrath it was not interesting, but frightening, but overall it added to the experience. Chef Jimmy could be unbelievably paternal one minute, handing me a bowl of beef bourguignon and offering sage advice (not the herb), and showering me with spit as he screamed directly at my face loud enough to insure everyone in the restaurant heard my total dehumanization the next. Could never figure out why he felt he needed to get nose to nose to communicate his displeasure, I was well within earshot and fully capable of understanding what a dumb godamn Ben Dayho I was. When he got pissed his evil twin Chef Jekyll came out and everyone else ran to hide. When someone angered the Chef he morphed into something non human. His face got all weird and contorted, taking on a smoky red hue. The wrinkles in his face turned into evil scales, his teeth rattled, veins popped out from all over his forehead and neck, and while this part was probably my imagination little horns protruded under his chef hat. His words found their target escorted by a military formation of saliva to make soggy strikes with surgical precision. All I could do was cower in fear like an abused puppy hoping that my trembling wouldn’t piss him off even further. From the corner of my eye I can see everyone else in the kitchen moving slowly and deliberately away trying to get as far as possible from ground zero. When the painful barrage of rapid fire insults dispensed at uzi speed subsided, the chef walked away mumbling as my comrades came to comfort me. By laughing! “Whew, you really pissed him off this time JT, chef giving you big ole cigar today.” “Ew we baby, cigars coming like grapes today boy, you getting them in bunches.” Wasn’t bad enough I just got eviscerated by the chef, now my co workers come over to gloat that it wasn’t them. When ever a chef or manager bitches you out in the industry we say we’re getting a cigar. It goes back to an old saying about someone being so mad they had a baby, but to be more cryptic restaurant people call it getting a cigar, which the angry person passes out after the birth of their tirade.
The best defense from receiving cigars is keeping the chef mentally balanced. I was skilled at creating such a delicate balance by virtue of subtle ass kissing coupled with schmoozing the hell out of him with my witty youthful charm. Holding up a mixing bowl of seasoned ground beef, putting on a sly smile saying “Want me to roll you balls chef?” Or “Chef, here’s the filet mignons. By the way, I heard they call you Mr. tenderloin.” To which he would give an approving chuckle and begin bragging. Little things like that kept the chef feeling good and when the chef feels good I don’t have to worry about flying knives or being stuffed in the meat grinder. I never witnessed any of that but the rumors abounded.
But fuck ups were like little ghosts all over the kitchen hanging out waiting for their chance to be called out for a haunting, and try as I did all too often I was possessed by the spirit of screw up. Sometimes it comes out of nowhere, during an otherwise uneventful shift. Jimmy had a thick Spanish accent an called me Gay Dee, having problems with J’s. Even his own name was pronounced Himmie, short for Jimenez, but he went with the traditional English pronunciation of Jimmy. He used a drawn out Ahhhhh so he could think about the right enlish word to use….Ahhhhhh, Gay Tee? You feel ahhhhh, hungry?” Sometimes took him over a minute to ask a simple question. On One particular shift started out as a quiet night and Chef was prepping something when I got the call. “Ahhhhhh, Gay Dee…Make me one favor por favor.” I immediately abandoned my post of suds busting by my sinks and ran over, “Yes chef, what do you need?” Ahhhh, Gay Dee, go a downstair anda getta me ahhhhh one case ofa gripeece.” Okay, chef needed something and I was the one he called on. Time to build some kitchen creds. It was considered an honor to do the chef a favor, get on his good side. “Yes chef, right away.” I ran down the stairs two at a time.
When I got to the bottom I began to think, “What the fuck is gripeece?” I looked around first in the storeroom, then the walk in, nothing even remotely close to gripeece. Shit! Now what? I ran upstairs as fast as I could an ran up to Jimmy, “Um chef, I couldn’t find the gripeece.” Believing I showed enough disappointment for the both of us I gave him my “what so you want me to do now” sad eye stare. “Gay Dee, please, ahhhh no fool around. Please go a downstair anna get me ahhhh one case of gripeece from frisser.” A light went on in my head, “Oh, the freezer, okay, be right back.” Back down the stairs I ran and directly to the walk in freezer. I scoured the shelves, all kinds of frozen things, ice cream, veggies, puff dough, pasta’s, meat product, but nothing even close to a gripeece. I double checked. Nothing. Triple checked. Still nothing. That light in my head dimmed as nervousness began to settle in. Now I have to go tell Jimmy we are out of gripeece and I don’t even know what a gripeece is.
I trudged up the steps in a state of severe gloom with a side order of fear. I walked up to the chef to give him the bad news, that we have run out of gripeece. “Um, I-I don’t think we have anymore gripeece chef, I checked everywhere.” Then it happened, almost in slow motion, the face contorted, the veins began popping, the scales showed up on his face and his chef hat moved slightly to allow room for the evil horns. “God a dammit Gay Tee I’m a tella you one more time.” Not good. No drawn out ahhh, the octaves rose as the decibel increased dramatically. Smoke rose off of Chef Jekyll’s neck and I could sense the hidden smiles on the rest of the guys as they anticipated evil Chef unleashing a pit bull of fury at me. “You go a down stair, go a to the frisser, and ona da tird chelf you get a me one case of a gripeece okay? Grie…..Peece.” The light went back on as I trembled under his wrath.. GREEN PEA’S!! “Sorry chef, right away chef” A ran to the basement in record time, flew into the walk in freezer and there on the third shelf, big as life sat a case of green pea’s. I tore back upstairs, brought him the pea’s then just stood there like a dog waiting to be rewarded for giving its paw. “What da hella you want Gay Tee? Huh? Getta you culo back to work you Ben Dayho.”
Knowing I dodged a round of bullets I returned back to my familiar soapy space, took the helm over my three compartment sink where I was more comfortable and commenced to scrubbing away, eagerly awaiting the next opportunity to kiss ass and maybe atone for the stupidity of not understanding my mentor. The chef was mumbling all kinds of shit, mostly about me I’m sure so I decided it was not the time to ask him why he called me and the other guys Ben Dayho. I just assumed it must be the name of the biggest asshole pot washer in restaurant history until one of the guys explained it to me. As soon as he told me what chef meant all I could say was, “God damn, I am such a vendejo!”

I Think There’s A Rat In This Bitchin’ Kitchen

rat

Pot Sink Diaries
I stood proudly over my pot sink ready to clean anything and everything the chef could throw at me. Literally throw. My gastronomic voyage had officially begun and I dove in to the trip with a work ethic beyond reproach. I scrubbed and cleaned pots and pans until my fingers acquired the same status Mother Nature naturally assigns to prunes and raisins. I happily scrubbed and mopped the floors, scoured the ovens, and enthusiastically awaited orders from ….well just about everyone else in the restaurant. No worries I was willing to perform any thankless task sent my way. This night I learned about one of the mysterious qualities found in any great chef. A great Chef has the keen acumen of understanding the dynamics of the driving desire of a young pot washer’s eagerness to please. Jimmy picked up on this rather quickly informing me of a special “time” in restaurants, a time when things were “quiet.” He called it “downtime”. Downtime sounded harmless when I first heard it escape from Jimmy’s lips, and I thought it might be cool. JT my boy” came the words from my illustrious leader, “Ees a little slow tonight. Looksa like a we have some downtime.”
Well I could barely contain myself. An opportunity had arisen for me to show everyone how gracefully I would be able to handle this newfound downtime. It never occurred to me that the word itself could enlighten me as to what may be in store. The Chef planned to put me “down” and keep me “down”, by assigning me an assortment of unmemorable chores that will get me down in the dumps. As for the “time” portion of my endeavor, it actually meant time consuming. Flagrantly left out of the phrase was tedious. It should be called tedious downtime. This inspirational portion of the evening I get to perform seemingly insignificant time consuming tasks. There are various levels of joy associated with downtime tasks. It could range from the somewhat mindless variety peeling 50 – 100 pounds of potatoes, to the absolute joy depleting role of shrimp peeler. Peeling shrimp is somewhat misleading as well, because chef hands you a ginourous pan of shrimp which you are require to clean. Remove the outer shell, put a lice sown the back of the tine morsel of future deliciousness and remove the incredibly objectionable digestive track that looks like small black sludge. Then rinse it and ass it to the other couple hundred shrimps. How many shrimp can people eat anyway. Don’t they know you are what you eat? Inclusive of all these food related tasks, are a mysterious set of non food thankless jobs given the official name of maintenance. I say mysterious, because I could never figure out how washing the Chef’s car in any way contributed to the dining experience. But wash it I did, along with every piece of kitchen equipment, and every floor within a 5 mile radius. On this particular evening, I was mopping the downstairs. A serene and peaceful place where all foods and food products reside to meditate. They remain at the Storage Inn, a kind of bread and breakfast for the grocery set, until they are summoned upstairs to become part of something monumental. In a back room, seldom used, was where I was sent. Upon arrival, my keen observation noted two non-moving members of the family rodentia lying on the floor. Damn they looked gross. Summoning all my energy to keep my dinner where it belonged, I walked into the next room and informed Edwin, the Chefs nephew or “senior potwasher” whose true job and intellect were yet to be determined. He was however, my supervisor and assisting me. His having been here so long gave him a queer aura of authority. “Hey Edwin man, there are two dead rats in the extra room.” Edwin’s English was worse even than Jimmies, and he just repeated what what what and stared at me puzzled. So of course I motioned with my hands as I said very slowly, for some reason believing that would help him understand, “Next ..room….dead ..rats, two of them!” This is too fucking tedious, and I needed a cigarette so I lit up and walked into another room to chill. Seconds later I heard a blood curdling scream followed by a pounding of wood to wood. I ran to Edwin fearing the worst and there he was still screaming and beating those two already dead rats as if they were zombies. Hard as I tried, the sight of Edwin clutching a broom and beating the shit out of two dead rats took over every rational bone in my body and I broke out in a laugh so fricken hard if Jimmy and Didier had seen me upstairs they would have felt like rank amateurs. Tears forced their way across my cheeks like rivulets of saline. I had to hold my stomach and fall to the floor in an epileptic fit of uncontrollable laughter. To date this may have been the funniest thing I had ever seen in my life and I wasn‘t even high. This is restaurant life. Now my mood was great. Hope it lasts.
Just when I thought Ed couldn’t make me laugh any harder he moved into action. At first I was repulsed and grossed out to the max. With his bare fucking hands he grabbed one dead rat in each, looked at me with a dopey smile that had me wondering if he smoked my hash as he said, “Come witta me JT. We godda bigga sue-prize forra da cheff.” With the rats dangling at his sides he climbed up the stairs like happy from the seven dwarfs. When he reached the top he made room for me to stand next to him and he held these two dead god damn rodents as high as his arm would allow and yelled loud enough so the entire kitchen could hear. “Hey Cheff…..Lookit a what we gotta for you soup!” As the chef and company began laughing wildly I looked on in horror. “Jesus shit Ed, you can’t bring thee disease ridden mother fuckers in a kitchen!” Mortified I looked around and everyone was laughing except Laura. Oh Jesus I thought, she’s the only other one grossed out besides me. Jimmy yelled back, “getta Jense inna here, we gotta special entrée tonight.” The laughter continued and Edwin took the rats back downstairs’ and no sooner did he get to the bottom when he tripped and fell letting the rats fly in the wind. I ran down to see if he was okay and he was frozen on the ground looking up in horror. Across the room was our illustrious asshole manager with a face so red I thought the beets were embarrassed. Over one shoulder a dead rat, the other at his feet. His eyes were exploding volcanoes and if had found the dignity to speak it would have flowed a molten lava of pissed off. I had to leave because my head was about to pop from not laughing at the sight and air was forcing its way through my nostrils. I knew if I let my tears of joy flow I would have lost my job, and I was thinking Edwin may already have lost his. I will never forget the look on Didier’s dead rat slapped face.
Damn that was a rough night I thought as I stopped at the corner of my block that had once served as my bus top. I reached to the bottom of my front pocket and pulled out the tiny piece of aluminum foil Ken had left me, then pulled my trusty hash pipe from my other pocket and unraveled the leftover piece of black hash. “One or two more hits before heading home.” As I lit the hash I thought about how funny it was that I was talking to no one, yet it felt like it needed to be said. I held the smoke from this sweet relief in my lungs and smiled at my ritualistic behavior. As I exhaled I let out a chuckle, remembering the dead rat and Ernie beating the shit out of it with that broom. Can’t wait to tell Ken all about it tomorrow. “But for now, one last hit before going inside.”
Feeling like my legs were on their own path and my brain in a downward dog trance I glanced up and saw the lights still on. Fuck, I thought, the old boy is still awake. Man I was hoping to go to my room, put on my headphones and dig on “Aqualung” the new Jethro Tull album I just bought. I took an extra two minutes to get my head together, a few squirts of Visine to “get the red out”, and repeated my little mantra chant that helped me appear not stoned. “Om Mani Pardre not too high, Om not too high” My good mood would not last long.

Last Day At Windows On The World

a window

Smell ya later

Working at Windows on the World was the most awesome experience I ever had in the restaurant industry. Fast paced and crazy during service but the waitresses were gorgeous. In fact the waiters were gorgeous too, most of waitstaff were Bohemians. The war between the front and back of the house was non existent because the expeditor was a buffer between the two factions and took shit from all sides. The pace of service was so intense we never really had time to build up animosity anyway. But nothing in my career has ever compared to the camaraderie in the kitchen.
Eight cooks on the hot line, four in the pantry, an a dozen or so prepping, and about sixty workers in the kitchen at any given moment. In the kitchen we spent what little quiet time laughing and getting to know each other better. It was like a damn fraternity. For four hours of service we were all we had to rely on, we all had each others backs. We snuck extra chef coats to each other, beers, joints, whatever. We got high after service and met for drinks before heading out to our homes or wherever we went. We became extremely tight nit.
The thing that I remember most was my last day there. They have this cute little ritual they perform for the people that leave that they love. And I was well loved, the hippie cook who played the harmonica into the expediters microphone, made everyone recognize the moment of silence for John Lennon during the global memorial at his death, and the teller of numerous jokes and puns that kept them chuckling for hours. So I was destined for their ritual which to be honest made me happy despite what the ritual consisted of.
In the back of the kitchen were three huge cauldron kettles for soups and the like. Considering we served over a thousand people a night the kettles had to be big. For the last day of any coworker they loved they reserve the largest kettle on the end filling it with an array of obnoxious liquids. Outdated fish stock, outdated eggs, vinegars, wines, anything they could find to make a disgusting smelly bath to dip the departing warrior in on his last day. My last day!
When the shift ended I knew it was coming because I had seen it before. Some fight like hell and end up getting bruised up, some try to sneak away before anyone grabs them, and some, like me, take it as a sign of love and a sort of torch passing. I passed by that kettle two or three times and I gotta say they really went all out for me. Stunk like rotted skunk anal glands, ripe with overripe vegetables, fish guts, and many things I decided were better not to try and identify. This was going to be one gnarly shit bath and I am going to be stinking for days.

My time came, and my coworkers grabbed me and dunked me like four times, worse than Ollie Dee from March of The Wooden Soldiers. I kicked a little and made a big scene out of it but in truth I went in it willingly rather than fighting a losing battle with ten ornery line cooks. Besides I wanted them to have as great a memory of my last day as I would. A lasting memory, although mine would have an added lasting effect of carrying around an odiferous array of decayed and rotted stenches for the next day or three. I came out dripping with gross puddles of digestive waste. Needless to say I gave them all hippie hugs which they tried in vain to escape always happy to share. I always shared my weed and beers with them so I felt it only proper to share my nefarious lingering funkfest of stink.

What I hadn’t considered was my trek home. Even after washing and changing into my street clothes the elevator ride down 106 floors had people congregating as far away from me as possible, and at least two women gagged at the fetid aroma. I was like a walking silent but deadly rank fart after an evening of beer and eggs. I had visions of a visible stench trailing behind me like a stink shadow. Everything in my wake gasped for air. Everywhere I went people turned to look at me shooting me snarly looks. I had no dog to blame and it was clear I was the epicenter of the situate of smell. I stopped in The Market Bar on the ground floor for my last drink with the crew and the bartender asked me to leave. From there I got on the E train to take the subway up to midtown. I felt like Pigpen from Peanuts as people moved to the other end of the car. Finally I decided to ride the subway in between cars hoping the wind would remove some of the foul smelling carousel around me.

But the aroma offended any in its path, even me. Its not like when you let one slip out and wonder why everyone holds there nose because being the owner of the fart, the one who dealt it, the smell never quite seems as bad. But this odiferous cloud of decayed matter clung to me as if it would never let go even offending me. My olfactory senses were forming an official protest threatening to impeach me if I didn’t shower and scrub with entire bar of Irish Spring and then douse every inch of my body in cologne. If I hadn’t gagged six times already from the stink stream I would have been offended but I knew I was about to take the advice willingly.

When I walked through the door I was greeted as I was every night, with the most enthusiastically happy hound on earth, my Afghan Hound, Stella Blue. No matter what kind of day she had she was always overwhelmingly happy to see me and shower me with canine affection. Unfortunately not one second after jumping up on me her ultra sensitive nose began twitching and I know dogs are not supposed to register emotion but there was serious disappointment in her eyes as she stared at me, shook her ears back an forth and ran the other way. Into the shower I went before any further embarrassment. I decided I needed to burn the clothes and I showered four times in a row. I then marinate myself in so much cologne I could have driven a taxi. It took me three days to completely eliminate that dark cloud of revolting essence of BO emanating from my body, and while the “O” finally skulked away the memories of Windows On The World has never faded. Stella finally got her groove back and forgave me, and the ten dozen or so flies that followed me home that night have since relocated. All in all being dunked in a kettle of decomposed shit water was like a dis-initiation imparting not just the squalid stink but a memory of a lifetime to always take with me for surviving that intensely hot and brutally fast paced kitchen, and if my memory serves me correct I loved every stinking second of it……PEACE