Oh Those Summer Nights

The Summer Night is not hot enough anymore.  It chilled down enough that I need a scarf wrapped around my arms and neck to accompany the midnight moon.

For two short weeks the hot summer night was so inviting with its hot hug.  The dark heat was heavy with its continuous embrace.  The cling of sassy summer was humid and relentless, like a middle school crush.

This all-encompassing heat is a consistent reminder that winter’s minty demeanor is far, far away.  This is why I like to be hot when I sleep, to toss aside even the lightest of sheets, and sail away to kingdom of dreams uncomfortable in the comforting heat.


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.

Today’s Drawing

I got a new box of colored pencils!  I didn’t try to put as many colors as possible into the drawing, but that is exactly what happened.  Did I happen to mention that I love color?


I have been working on finishing my art pieces, instead of just letting the beginning structure stay hidden and full of potential in the sketch book.  Hurray for another completed piece!


My Favorite Colors

I love color.

Particularly natural color, as created by mother nature. I love naturally neon colors, such as the gifted brightness found in ripe produce, in fields cascading wild flowers, in the spectacle of dawn and dusk, in the rainbow prism of the ocean’s sparkle, in the spell of moonbeam’s night.

I love how color can augment the day. How color interacts with other colors to create a mood.  How color demonstrates feelings even if unconsciously.  I love the colors found in the daily life.  Colors harmonizing to express feelings, impressions, moods, dynamics.

Recently I have been asking people their favorite color as a means to get to know a person.  I think it is very interesting as a means of data collection and as a descriptive of their personality.

Ok so since you asked, I will go first.  And of course I do not have a favorite color, I have three.

Teal is first.  I love teal.  Teal is the perfect blend of blue and green.  Teal is a very excited blue.  It is such an electric blue that it has chameleoned to a new spectrum in the color wheel, neoned into the kingdom of grass/greendom.  Teal is a watery green.  Teal takes the hyper out of green, toning down that deafening yellow to a more serene canary.  Teal is the expressive sky meeting the grassy ground.  Crimson evening kissing the verdant hills.

Teal is the color of paradise.  Of that perfectly clear and deeply tropical ocean water view etching along pearly sanded shores.  This bluish greenish wonderland of suspended gravity is held down by round, multi-earth colored rocks piles mountainously onto of each other.  Teal makes blue more exciting and green more level headed.  To me, teal is the color of eager happiness.

Magenta is second.  It is so lively. Verbacious. Pungent.  Demanding.  It is a color that shouts.  Magenta cannot be made pastel.  Magenta is royalty.  It is so bright that it vibrates.  Magenta is an interactive color in that regard.  Magenta is so naturally magnificent that it is surreal with its natural glow.  Magenta flowers looks like they are garden flowers on acid, they have become wildly extraordinary. To me, magenta is the color of love.

Periwinkle is third.  Periwinkle is my pastel color of choice.  After such a loud start to the show with teal and magenta as the opening act, periwinkle is the soothing cream for all that burn.  It is vibrant with its ultra violet gaze, and it is subtle with its sublime mystery.

Periwinkle is a multidimensional color. It changes color around with its ultraviolet gaze. More than any other color, periwinkle is alive.  It creates action in the changing from day to night. It cannot be faked or recreated, periwinkle is a moment, periwinkle is a transition.  It is a magical color because of how other colors behave in its presence.  It is the ghostwriter of sunsets brilliance, its the conductor to the symphony of the suns departure, it is the baseline to the symphony of Mr. moon’s grand entrance.  You can try to mimic periwinkle with dyes and pixels, but it cannot be replicated.  To me, periwinkle is the color of deep serenity, introspection, and simple peace.

I like undecided colors.  I like colors that represents a complicated set of hues.  I can never answer a simple question.

So what’s your favorite color?

Piano Dancer

I don’t have an extremely energetic beat,

I don’t have a particularly deep bass note.

My song is pleasant,

it is sweet

and complex.

My rhythm is not the lyricist

or the part of the bold trombone.

My baseline is not the passion of the ever bouncing drums,

but maybe the thumping of the dancers foot.

My shouts are not the shrill of James Brown

or the enigma of Tom Waits.

I am not the electric guitar.

I am not the snare drum.

I am the secret whistle,

the subtle piano dancer.

Fluttering on top of the notes,

you might just miss me.

I am the melody

with a swinging heart.


It was a holiday weekend for those nine to fivers.  The fortunate get a three day weekend, with Friday being the coveted day of freedom.  It was a nice sunny day, a great day to seize the opportunity to meet up with friends and enjoy a nice lunch.  On this cursed day for your food service worker friends, we were ill prepared.  That is an understatement, ill prepared.  There was no preparing for the pandemonium that happened behind the line, in the bowels of the 100 degree kitchen.  Lunch is normally slow, with maybe a small rush but nothing too crazy.  This Friday, though, the people came in floods.  They came in droves.  They came in herds.  They came in murders.  They came in bunches, in parties, in clusters, in groups, in parades.  They were jovial and they were hungry.  Everyone wanted a bite of the proverbial apple pie.

In one hour we served over 100 people.  That is more people than lunch does the whole week combined.  They all came in at the same time, and they were merciless in their hunger.  They were there to eat and drink and celebrate the freedom.  I cannot really delve into the complete incompetence of the one and only line cook that runs the show during lunch.  Why the hell the chef thought he could work it, I have no fucking clue.  I have roughly zero training on the lunch menu, as my job is pastry prep.

After honestly the second ticket I had to start helping out, cooking and plating dishes I have never seen, cooking meat to the right temperature on a grill I have never used, getting trained by the worst employee we got.  It was pandemonium.  Sheer, complete, insanity.  The ticket machine was throwing up tickets like the day after new years eve.  Its pattering printing sounds were the music we were dancing to.  It was nuts.  We were going down in fiery flames like Dante’s nightmare.  We were getting burned up like a Detroit house fire.  We were so in the weeds that it felt like a jungle.

How can I describe how ill prepared we were for the rush?  The line cook wasn’t even prepared for the 15 covers he was expecting.  Chorizo for 3 orders.  Potatoes for 7.  Not burger miser in place.  No tomatoes cut, no onions rounds, no cheese sliced, no lettuce picked.  The soup is not heated up.  Do you think we are going to sell burgers on the 4th of July?? No, its not a big grilling holiday.  I think people are going to go for Christmas ham instead.  At another point, he was plating something that also gets breakfast potatoes, it was at that moment he realized there weren’t anymore cooked.  Is zero enough to get through?  I am going to go with a solid no.

It was a grade A disaster.  It is shocking that I did not physically harm my poor co-worker.  I did tell him that I wanted to chop him up into pieces and put him through the meat grinder. I told the food runner that I hated him because he ran the special food ticket to the wrong table.

I lost a hamburger due to sticking to the grill because I was trying to cook it faster.  I was so mad that I had to restart the patty when the rest of the ticket was ready to go.  This unfortunate burger was finishing cooking in the oven when I had to go in the back to prep the hundred of things that we did not have set up.  I said to him “that burger needs to be sent out as quickly as possible.  It will be done in 3 minutes, put it on the fucking plate and sell it.” I come back 5 minutes later, ask if the burger flew, and the lunch guys says (honest to god) “what burger?”  I plated it, wondering how the hell he could have possibly forgotten after how many times I talked about it.  Seriously, I said something to him about getting that damn burger no less then 10 times.  Pandemonium.  Sheer madness.

At one point I was looking at all the tickets, my head spinning with the details, and I have a vague feeling that no, it was not possible to get this done.  I wanted to panic, I wanted to walk away, I wanted to shout, I wanted to throw my tongs and say I am not a damn lunch cook, I do not make my living cooking fucking eggs!  I screamed PANDEMONIUM and went about cooking as fast as possible.

It was awful.  That is also an understatement, but I will leave it at that.  Awful.  At the end of the rush, the waitress is crying because she was working alone.  Served everyone by herself, and she was upset that she could not give people the nice service they deserved.  She was rushed and rude, and that does not make you feel like you did a good job.  You work very hard and at the end you feel like shit.  You feel that your best is not good enough.  No matter how hard you tried, you failed.  There is no winning in this game.

Afterwards, when the day settled down and the Chef decides to show up, he informs you that it was all your fault that there were 45 minute ticket times.  How could this have happened he wanted to know?  Why did I not call him with my third arm when I was cooking for the entire city?  He could have called back-up, which wouldn’t have arrived until the rush was over anyway.  It was in no way his fault for not thinking that maybe, just maybe, we would be slammed the Friday before the fourth of July.  Not his fault for making the schedule, for not informing me that the lunch line guy was going to change to this guy who is still in culinary school and has absolutely no experience.  Why is he not working the salad station?  I have no idea.

I cannot describe the anger, dissatisfaction, contempt, and spite I felt at the end of the day.  I saved the fucking day, and my reward was disappointment and an empty stomach.  Rumble, rumble cooking is not so easy all the time.

Diamond Eyes and the Expressive Hands

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul.  A diamond lens, eyes are each beautiful, mysterious, captivating, and lustrous. The world around is perceived and filtered through this kaleidoscope pattern, giving each person a unique point of view, interpretation of the situation, a foundation on which to form theories.

I, however, leave the sentimentality of the ascetic of the eye at a gesture.  The lens of the eye acts as a concept, it filters the world, it’s a perception.  It’s a very romantic implication, a poetic deduction of the individuality and beauty of that aperture to one’s mind.  The beauty of the eye is too abstract to be the window to the soul.  Soul is found in physical expression and how we impact our surrounding reality.  Its more tangible then that special sparkle in one’s eye.

I think that the hands are the window to the soul.  Everything that I think, all my ideas, intentions, inspirations, and influences are expressed through my hands.  The eyes can only look.  They are merely a lens.  Hands, however, turn the abstract into the physical, they turn thoughts into creations, they turn ideas into a usable product.  My hand create food, my hands create writing, my hands create art, my hands create love.

Your hands can change the world, and your diamond eyes can inspire it.