A well functioning kitchen 30 minutes before serving 200 people can be a chaotic place; an example, we often ask for time checks and they go something like this.
Random interchangeable friendly Kitchen Staffer, “Time Check!”
Cook in charge,“Thirty minutes, where are you.”
A chorus of voices ring out. There is a an order to who goes first, though, as part of the Mystery of the Kitchen, it is inexplicable.
“4 whole pans of Potatoes are in the holding oven.”
“Bacon still cycling first half pans are in the holding oven.”
“Just started eggs they will be to the minute.”
“Did we get out compote, OJ, and all the table dressings?”
“Get it done.”
The pressure cooker of a kitchen is all of these things. Quite often I step back from the flat pause and scan all the people in the kitchen smiling from ear-to-ear. Esprit de corps filling my soul and reminding me of why anyone would be willing to do this.
Later after we have moved most of the crowd thru the lines and all the cooking tasks are done I will walk up to the dining area and see friendly knowing face smiling at me. Tacitly acknowledging the work I have done in providing for my Tribe. It is my belief that it is that tacit acknowledgement that most cooks seek. To look out over a dinner table or buffet line and see faces of joy provided by the camaraderie of good shared food. After my diversion I will return to the kitchen roll up my sleeves and sink my hands into the scalding dishwater removing the evidence of all that work, passion, and sometimes even art. Returning my canvas to a clean white and carrying on.
For the most part the tasks of cooking are repetitious and precise, the dicing of onions, mincing of garlic, chiffonade of herbs, trimming of meat. Every time a cook is faced with a new task there is a marshalling and measuring of ability to confront it. The fifty pound bag of potato. Twenty pounds of onion. This confrontation creates opportunity for a someone with reasonable skill to enter a flow state.
The ultimate goal of the cup and board is to enable that flow state as a gift to the community as an element of spirituality.
Join us on the Book of Faces. Cooking by it's nature is something everyone has to do... so it is something everyone can do.
Lughnassad 2020 Recipies (Polenta Suns, Arrabiata Sauce, Parmesean Crips, Honey Beer Bread)
No pictures to show