I have sausage gravy all over my shoes.
At this point they’re a black canvas for egg yolk and mayonnaise and probably two different vinaigrettes.
Cooking is gross.
I say that all the time. I mean, yes. It’s beautiful and romantic and sexy. All these things.
It’s also gross.
Cooking, for the most part, is learning how to deal with all the fat and water a thing has in it.
Bones and blood, too.
There is a huge sigh of relief for all restaurant workers post Mother’s Day — maybe even a worse cooking day than Valentine’s — Or the day after (or before) a major holiday. I don’t quite understand it. Then again, I don’t get out much these days. Knowing the burden of feeding and taking care of generally unpleasant and hungry people makes me hesitant to put my needs on anyone during this time. (Or at all, really.)
My brain is fried, and fried hard.
Or maybe it’s scrambled.
Sorry, have eggs on the brain. (And my shoes but you know that already.)
At the end of our service yesterday, we all just kind of stood around for a while. Diners still sitting together, staring at their phones in silence, church clothes in tact. There was just too much to do. Dishes piled high in all three sinks. But we are relieved, and thankful that we worked hard for each other.
A lot of me wishes restaurant culture wasn’t this way, but I just can’t see any way around it. It is one of the only (and truly) humbling ways to make a living. That ticket that hangs in front of you and the person waiting at their table for it to be delivered with some small amount of kindness and skill — it’s a kind of pressure that brings out the worst in a human.
We have the best crew we’ve ever had. They are funny and smart and we all hate ourselves just enough to keep pushing forward. (Just kidding kind of) Oh, and just hard bodies, yo. We all moan when we sit down together — those are the best times. Decompressing with your coworkers about “the bullshit” — the lady who asked for her eggs to be “not too runny, not too dry” or the man who has a dairy allergy but is okay with heavy cream in grits.
It’s a ridiculous pressure, to be honest. Most times I fantasize about cooking big pans of food and just throwing it into the dining room and letting people fend for themselves Golden Corral-like — but alas, there is still dignity to be won.
This won’t be the last hard day. But this was a record breaking weekend for our restaurant. I feel proud about that. I feel tired in the ways that I should, but I am proud that we are still here making a wonderful mess of things.
I gave my shoes a good scrubbin’ today. Stubborn and crusty and dirty with all sorts of bits from a day’s work, but I feel the most content as a tired cook.
My job is done for a day,
my feet and back are tired.
I splash some cold water on my face and look in the mirror,
the weight you carry for the things you love.
It is enough for me.