Yes, showing me recipes is sometimes like showing a Bourbon street musician sheet music. Sure we can read it. Sure we know how to use it. But why? Kind of lazy now in our old age. Been there, done that; been to the puppet show and have seen the strings. Of course, if the queen visits or somebody’s going to pay me a lot of money I will follow your recipe to a tee. But for my regular Saturday night crowd? They get the tried and true favorites. The ones I already know; the ones I don’t have to think too hard about.
Back in the day; long before you could buy chicken cordon bleu in the freezer section; people like me knew how to make it from scratch. Not the housewives, not the ones that went to home economics and really excelled. The rest of us who did it for a living so we could pay our rent. We know how to do things with just a knife and a cutting board. I can do things with a knife faster than most kitchen gadgets. I`m so lazy I hate to use electric appliances because, to me, they take forever!
Funny story about one of my first catering jobs. I walked in and they told me to cut cantaloupe into a 1 in dice. Like okay, sure. I walked in, stood there for a minute by the cutting board, and I asked “how many?” And Chef said, “all of them”. So I look to my left and there was a wall of cantaloupe cases that was stacked higher than I was tall. I diced cantaloupe for 13 hours. I understood the whole “wax on-wax off” concept long before there was a karate movie. I really needed that paycheck, though.
There are so many pre-fab food products now that nobody has to learn how to cook unless they really want to learn. I have a tendency to have a really snobby attitude when people tell me that they serve things in their restaurant that they purchased pre-fab from this vendor or that one. I also can`t help but roll my eyes when anyone tells me they bought a gadget to chop things. I commend all of the chefs in the food business that do not take the easy way out. The ones that actually cook.
Just like every aspect of life; some things have to be learned. Some things just come naturally. If you’re lucky, you find out the difference when you’re young instead of fighting some sort of battle your entire life to be something you’re not. And we all know what that means. I guess you could say I got lucky.
Everyone’s personality has multiple layers. You might be really good at organizing things and you didn’t know it until you were forced into a situation where you had to organize things . You never know what you’re going to remember when you get old…so pay attention! Sometimes we end up being really good at things we didn’t want to learn in the first place. Of course you can always learn new things but sometimes when you get old it’s just so much easier to do what you know. I am still in the game, but I no longer care about the playoffs.
I worked so hard that now I have chronic everything-itis. My hands now form a claw-like permanent knife-holding shape. I can no longer pick up heavy things. This Thanksgiving was the first American holiday that I did not work in my adult life. I hate going to restaurants unless they are interesting. My transition to life outside of a kitchen has been difficult but interesting. I had no idea how other humans lived! I have always been the entertainer. I am not sure if I like the role of being the “entertained.”
Anyway, here is a shout out to other internet folks that keep me entertained:
#joshpray ….because Josh Pray called crawdads the “pistachio of fish”. I couldn’t think of anything more accurate myself!
#thescranman #scranstagram….just because I love to work with food and because of you I can keep on, keepin` on!
Life is short. I can`t help but think about a few sappy quotes from the Velveteen Rabbit:
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real, you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Here`s to keeping it real. Peace out.


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