amazing and cool shit, miscellaneous, drivel

…Lord of the Flies…

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It’s strange to realize that this is a part of my life these days. A caveat perhaps, a grim and small reminder that you must beware of what you dream of, because you just might get it.

Truth be told, I waffle around this perimeter of working/playing in a real kitchen, surrounded by real chefs and seeing the reality of the profession. It’s not always pretty or glamorous. I understand the mindset, the small subtle things that one must do in order to survive. I know, perhaps more than ever, that handling it 24/7, making it a real career, would very likely shred me to pieces… The only saving grace is that I don’t have to be there. I can, and have, ducked out when it’s gotten tough and ugly, when the grill station turns an otherwise great person into some Dantesque entity that could curdle milk with a glare, who may very well have a slithering tail tucked inside baggy checked pants… Eyes glaze over into some netherwordly stare, and I genuinely hope that they are (slightly) sedated with enough of their favored medication to prevent a complete boil over. Inevitably,though, they get into some other zone that I do not, and can not, handle being observer to.

I’ve been there myself – virtually only ever in my own kitchen and for no real reason other than I’ve wanted to try to get that buried in it – making something, trying to get everything to come out at the exact same moment – completely testing my limits and those of my kitchen; hot pans occupying every burner – other things being held in an oven, the slightest distraction or change or contingency cashed in causing epochal ripples in the fabric of my sanity and the rotation of the heavens and earth… At least that’s what you believe when you’re in it.

I have met, perhaps, one of the best people I could have ever crossed paths with there – a man named Thom (which is the reason I’ve got the name of Jo-Lisa in that kitchen – another story, for another day, perhaps. Suffice it to say that it’s impossible to have two men named Tom, but perfectly alright to have up to 3 women named Amy at any given moment…), who butchers the pigs and lambs and goats. He drives vintage BMW motorcycles along with an ancient and exquisite 2 tone convertible VW Beetle and wears a pony tail. He works in the middle of chaos on Friday and Saturday, teaches me his craft and shares with me a simple reminder that it’s not life or death here. There is no reason to panic. Ever. He is calm, and laughs often. I admire that trait, and if I ever have to grow up, I know, I want to be just like him mixed with a little bit of Julius Boehm…

As always, I wander off on tangents. Maybe it’s eerie for me to realize, I actually do have a bit of a niche there; I roast pigs from time to time, and it makes me realize I can no longer consider myself ‘free’ to wander away from that life. I cannot, any longer, simply walk away. Outlets like this are a bit analogous to realizing you’ve become a father to someone or something – it changes everything… I’ve done them at home, opined and written about them here before, for friends, neighbors, rehearsed the whole gig and fabricated grills and racks to embellish the whole thing. It’s something I’ve only ever done for fun, for the joy of it. Eudaimonia. Until now. Now it’s entered the world of a paying and on demand gig, sometimes 2 in a row, finding myself breaking locks at 6:45 on some friday to get in and start one at 7 in the morning for a lunch special… It’s still joyous and amazing, and there’s nothing that replicates the feeling one gets when you see someone amazed and stunned at what you know, how you know what to do with something… Even better is to amaze yourself…

It’s a funny world of cooks; we peck and sample food constantly – worry at length about how it’s going to be received, come out, come off. We know, in our heads how it should be, what we want it to be, and get worked into a frenzy making it happen. And when it comes out, lays out, ends up on a plate for someone else – the biggest feast for us is one for the eyes, the ears, the nose. We’ll never eat a meal with the rest of the world. Somehow it’s anticlimactic, awkward and truly misses the whole point…

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