Category: book

Eating in America Sucks #1

Reason number 1: Grocery Shopping.

I am well versed in the art, efficiency, #foodlife, #cheflife, convenience of grocery shopping.  I am basically an all around bad-ass when it comes to grocery shopping, saving money, feeding everyone, being amazing in my personal eating life.  Extracurricular duties consist of bagging and personal transport of product to the house, non-conditional of stairs involved or personal weight limit. I am fortunate to live in a neighborhood where I have an extensive access to ethic and individually owned stores.  But, alas, jewel exists and you do frequent it.  And when you do, you remember…

Food here sucks.  This is one of my many installments “Eating in America Sucks.”

Today’s lesson: Potato, The Lost Staple

Seriously the only options for starchy veg at the Jewel-Osco is the potato.  This classification is further limited to seriously 4 varieties under the exquisite umbrella of potato.  Idaho, Grade B Red, Sweet Potato, Mixed Medley Of Very Small Potato Resembling Thing.

That classic baking potato, the Idaho.  The quintessential Midwestern mashed, the Irish Racism Potato, Idaho no You Da Hoe.  But like honestly, it is the most boring kind of potato ever.  Do no get me wrong, I love, love this potato, but this is number one boring.  More bland than a potato.  Get it?

Moving on to grade B potato.  This is like that golf ball sized red potato, that small red apple resembling thing,  that tastes subtly sweet with a delicately creamy texture.  The grade B red potato is like that, but a step down.  It is larger and it’s silky taste has been genetically modified into the semblance of the hoe from Idaho.

Sweet potato is great but that is the old stand by.  I had sweet potato yesterday.  I came to the store hungry and wanting something slightly different that the same thing I eat everyday.  Been there, done that sweet thing.

Alright are you bored yet? Drink some coffee because this dissertation on the cooking grade potato found at the chain, corporate grocery store in not yet over. Rounding up our potato misadventure is that small, almost rotten bag of medley potatoes that are you last choice, your life saver, the possible one!  First of all, the potatoes are so small that there is no way the potato had time to develop any flavor.  It looks like it would taste like a green strawberry.  Secondly, this potato is too tiny to have any flesh beneath the circumference of the skin’s orbit.  The skin makes up the just about the entirety of the miniature potato.  I am not entirely certain, but I do not think that the peel is commonly preferred as the favorite part of the potato.  In fact, I think that it is common practice in the USA to peel the potato and throw the outermost layer away.  Garbage.  Since most potatoes are peeled, and most peels are garbage, the fate of our skin potato is, how shall we say? Compromised? Delicate? Uncertain? Not me of course, I like the skin, but I still do not want a potato consisting mostly of skin.

Yeah that’s it.  Those are the only potatoes offered, sorry for the lack luster list.  Out of the 5,oo0 cultivated variety of potatoes agriculturally grown, our most influential food retailer offers up a humbling 4. (Seriously 5,000, ask Wikipedia). OMG boring.  But really more than uninspiring it is insulting.  Dear lord I am not paying $3 a pound for a shitty baking potato.  The Tiny Skin Potato Medley of Sorrows is a dismaying $4 a bag.  Are you out of your mind??

Anyway, no other options for a starch element to add tonight’s dinner.  There were no parsnips, turnips, plantains, god forbid a celery root, or rutabaga.  What the hell do you do with that?   I dunno, ask the damn Oracle and use it in place of the uniformly bland white guy.

I must imagine how foreigners and visitors and immigrants and travelers must feel.  Do they feel bad for us?  I mean if they do I understand.  I am an American and have lived exclusively in the Midwest and I still feel like I am missing out.  Missing out on variety. Missing out on freshness.  Missing out on spontaneity.

Daily tasks

Cooks notes for the day:

That day when you don’t quite get the seal on the ice cream spinner door to suck properly in place, so as you spin the ice cream, the loose base drips steadily cause a huge, huge sticky mess. The entire time you are debating weather to take it out and start over, or roll with the continual mess.  Either scenario ends in a fanciful mess.  If the ice cream turns out icy again I am going to loose my cookies.

The restaurant next door come over to ask to borrow 70 pounds of fryer oil.  You respond casually: “only if you beg and crawl.”

The entire bottle of yuzu spill on the floor because the bottom inexplicably detached as if an invisible alien snuck into the kitchen and sliced off the entire bottom in one quick pull of the trigger.  $100 bottle gone in a flash, it was a delicious smelling mess.

The server warns you that you probably should help the lunch guy because she just rang in 6 plates.  6. Total. Plates.  She wants it to be less than 45 minutes and I am sympathetic.

There is a young good looking man/boy applying for a food runner position, so you try to check him out behind the semi-sheer black curtain.  You dropped your work to see him, but do you say hello?  Nah, don’t feel like it.

A beverage delivery man tells you he just saw a rat run into the employee bathroom.  I obviously do not believe him, until I see the prep guy pulling the door shut as to trap Mr. Raton.  Until he gets a moment to deal with the situation, you kindly tell your co-workers not to use the bathroom.  After he kills Mr. Raton, he chase one of the line cooks around the alley with the corpse of the rat.

We know that when the toaster and the freezer are plugged into the same outlet, the fuse will eventually blow.  The situation still remains unchanged.

Finally get around to changing the menu into a format that I find slightly more satisfying.  Slowly, so slowly moving into the right direction.  I realized today how much I have given up on bettering the restaurant and myself.  I am glad that I found some small spark of motivation and integrity to continue to do what I think is best.  It gets very challenging when you have too much on your plate, covered with a thick sauce of negativity, sprinkled with hesitation, doubt, and fatigue.  Today was a step to the right beat somewhere in that kitchen dance.