The lessons we learn.. the ladders we climb.

The largest of the steep wooden ladders on the...

I have worked in a lot of restaurants. From fast food pizza chains, a large metropolitan Marriott Hotel, Hip restaurants with live music a local Italian restaurant, owned by an Irish American with high standards and great taste.

I have done a little of everything. Worked in kitchens, Done dishes, Waited on thousands of tables, been everyone’s favourite hostess and made all the pasta at earlier mentioned Italian joint.

 I have chopped 15 industrial sized crates of Italian parsley in one standing. Frozen is not the same. It’s just not.

I have chopped 5 gallons of garlic cloves by hand in one standing. Food processed garlic looses something. It’s to mushy. A nice, sharp,  very big chefs knife is what garlic wants.

I have come in on days the Restaurant was closed to scrub the Toilet/ bathroom with bottles of bleach. The bleach smell takes a day to fade. You know there is not a germ on board. Teach your staff well and it will stay spotless.

I can honestly say Every food establishment I have ever seen both the toilet and kitchen. If the restroom is dirty= so is the kitchen. I will not eat fish sushi if the toilet/ bathroom is dirty Feel free to prove me wrong on this. It may not mean a clean RR means a clean kitchen. A dirty RR seems to equal a dirty kitchen.

In my heyday I could remember a breakfast order for a table of eight. In America. Breakfast are varied and confusing, this is an accomplishment.

At Stella’s the local Italian restaurant. Nightly have a 1-2 hour wait for a table. As hostess I would keep guests happy, excited about their meal.

I made all the pasta served for 2 years.

I made the best creamy sausage pasta. I still do. Ask my daughter.

At the Marriott I worked most Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Helping make families memories. I was one cog in a gigantic machine. I learned a lot the. I also opened a bottle of wine worth over $4000. US Dollars. They were not even my table. Everyone else was to afraid.I figured it make a great story even if I got cork in the bottle or spilled it. It has.

The Left Bank Cafe. Ooh close to heaven. I wish I could link this oh what a sad loss. It was all of the warmth I could hope for. With it wood burners and hot soup. Live music from well know folk musicians. I learned a lot here. In more ways than one. I learned about luck, love, strength and friends. It was a magical place.                                                                      On the coast in Blue Hill Maine. If you know it consider yourself lucky.

My first job that was not at my Fathers business was a chain pizza joint.

I was 16. They wanted me to be a manager after 3 weeks. I said no. I did not want to manage a group of unruly students. That I was 2-5 years younger than. Maybe that was a opprotunity I should not have missed.

Maybe that was the rung on the ladder I missed.  Although maybe if I had taken it I would have missed all the extra rungs in between. Some of those have been some very important rungs. Very important rungs indeed.

Life long quest for the perfect fork.

I have had a life long quest for the perfect Fork.

The perfect fork of food. Actually with my love of food its a wonder I am not the size of a house. A small garden shed maybe, a large dogs house but not a house. I am not a svelte woman. I know what other woman call their bingo wings are in reality cheese wings.  There is a direct correlation to the size of the flappers and the amount of cheese consumed.

Once upon a time this would be the month for cheese wings. In America, In December, every where you turn there is cheese. Being that it is a month of celebration, us Americans can justify a bit of extra expense. So the cheese you find is extra special. Aged longer. Served with better accompaniments. Blended into to delicious family cheese balls. Ours is Grandma Wanda’s recipe. I have a following for my cheese balls in my new home of England. Just this week I have had 4 phone calls. Friends asking nonchalant questions so they can squeeze in “are you making cheese balls this year?”.  Of course I am making cheese balls this year, and cranberry pound-cake.  We’ll see about the cookies fudge and brownies.

Now to any other American reading this it is the norm.  We Cook. We cook for our families we cook for our friends, it is not unheard to cook for the firehouse or your local Doctors office. Oh and of course when someone dies, has surgery, or is just unwell we cook. Our mother passed away this week. My sister has not cooked for eight days. She lives in America. Her neighbors, friends, people from my nephews school, gym friends they are showing up with meals, frozen dishes, baked goods.  We cook.

Luckily the American in me runs deep in my veins and I cook. And I freeze, so in my freezer I have meals prepared. Enchiladas, lasagna, baked ziti, shepherds pie… So I have heated up this week.

I miss cooking. If I go a few days without it I miss it. Today I will cook. I have a pot of chicken stock cooking now.  It will become chicken vegetable soup. Hot chicken sandwiches, and a chicken pie. The cooking will fill my heart and soul. The cooking will bring me closer to my daughter. She will help me cut carrots, celery, leeks and potatoes.  We will sit as a family at our table and eat what we have created. We will feed my husband, her daddy.  The pie will be his favourite. My dad would have loved the hot chicken sandwiches smothered in homemade gravy. Maybe with a side of stuffing. For me and my mom it would be the soup. Nice hot Chicken soup so thick veggies you can not see the chicken. With enough black pepper you can feel it in your chest. So today I cook. Today I fill my soul.

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