Friday, September 4, 2009

The Bruschetta Incident

I seem to be eating less and less and it's not on purpose. I never thought the food at work will lose its appeal but I'm afraid it has. If I have to eat another steak sandwich or pasta dish I think I might hurl. I have never been a salad person, so the only thing left to eat is the daily soup. Calamari, bruschetta, spring rolls, chicken fingers, fish and chips, sweet potato fries, burgers and even the mighty club sandwich have all lost their appeal. Some days I eat only one meal a day and I am beginning to worry just a little about the consequences of that. Not the desired consequence of losing wait (so far I haven't lost any), but the other, more pesky ones. Yesterday I had a tiny bowl of the daily soup when I got to work at 11 am and until the steak sandwich I wolfed down while standing by my station, at 9 pm, I had only a scoop of chocolate ice cream. I think I skipped dinner altogether the day before. I packed it and brought it home (it was a pasta dish with prosciutto, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and pesto) but Jen ended up eating it. Maybe we'll add the loss of interest in food to the list of occupational hazards, along with the near disappearance of a social life.

As for how the rest of the day was... well, it was long. It was an 11-hour day and I that's all I'll say about that. By industry standards though, I don't think that working 11 hours is even considered long. Not until you enter the 15-hour territory.

After being called in at 11 am --because Chef was bracing himself for a fast and hard lunch rush -- I worked till almost 3 pm straight before I got a chance to look up and check the time. Although the rush was long over by then, there had been a steady stream of orders which kept me on line. I now took a break, ate that scoop of ice cream I was telling you of and then prepped until dinner time started.

All in all a pretty uneventful day until Chef happened to lay eyes on the insert with bruschetta mix. I believe his exact words were "what is this shit?" He was referring to the fact that someone had prepared the mix using dry basil instead of fresh. Chef poked around it some more and said "That's not how you make bruschetta. Did you make this?" he asked looking straight at me.
"No Chef" I answered honestly. "And I don't know who did, either" I continued.
He took some of the mix and popped it in his mouth. "Way too much garlic" he said.
Chef took the tub out, dumped the entire contents in the garbage, called someone from the back to take over my place on line and said, handing me the insert, "look after this for me."

So, off I went, while dinner service was on, to make a new batch of bruschetta mix. I chopped the basil, mixed in the oil, garlic and finely chopped red onions, seasoned it and put it in an insert when round the corner comes Chef, with two pieces of crusty bread. "Did you season it?" "Yes Chef." "Is it ready?" "Yes Chef" I said, eyeballing his bread. So he takes some of the mix, puts it on his bread and takes a bite. Chews a bit, makes a fist pumping motion and says "That's what bruschetta should taste like. You see anyone doing it any other way, dump it out and make a new one." Of course I nodded, but I can already see the problems I will have if I take what someone thinks is perfectly good bruschetta and dump it in the garbage bin while they're watching me. Even if they're not watching me dump it out, I can't make a fresh batch in hiding so either way it won't be good. "I am sorry to waste this but Chef told me if I ever see this on my station, to toss it and make a new one. Now let's be friends."

After the bruschetta incident was over dinner service would unfold more or less uneventfully, and last until after 9 pm. I think we set a new record for clean-up time because I was out of there at 10 pm, 11 hours after getting there. Oh, did I tell you that already? My bad.

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