A Sense of Urgency

Fear is your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s like fire. If you can control it, it can cook for you; it can heat your house. If you can’t control it, it will burn everything around you and destroy you.” Mike Tyson

Photochefs in Spring
Mechanical Apples for Electric Oranges

 An empty kitchen is as harmless as a raindrop falling on a bus.  It’s a machine housed within walls, hardwired to crank out with relentless efficiency, trays of identical croissants, a hundred “caprese” salads for tonight’s banquet, steaks marked of and ready for the lunch rush. A steam table hold a “third pan” of roasted butternut squash soup, Tuesday’s bland “soup of the day”, made in large batches and stored in the freezer. There is equipment for every purpose and machines to help cooks be more like machines; blender to pulverize and liquefy, robot coupe to chop and shred, toaster to crisp bread, hot coffee, brewed and dispensed by a machine.   Alone and left to its own devices, the kitchen hums, whirs and clicks, but quietly. Turn the fluorescent lights off, and it’s a man made space filled with rows and rows of shiny stainless steel equipment, specifically designed for boiling, roasting, frying and baking. It’s a weird juxtaposition of sorts, machines run by humans performing mundane mechanical like labor to feed the hungry. Cooks in their white jackets and checkered pants arrive every morning to breathe life into this mechanical oddity. Calling to each other, as they fiddle with switches, crack eggs, turn on ovens, set large pots with water to boil, soon they will be filled with oatmeal and grits, steaming hot and ready to be served.  As more cooks clock in for work, the mechanical whirs and clicks pulses louder and the hiss of billowing steam from […]

Thoughts on Spring

I like to write my thoughts down, before transferring them into cohesive sentences and paragraphs on my laptop. It’s more work, writing a post in my notebook, then revising and rewriting with the help of word perfect.  My favorite place to write, is on the train, to and from work. It’s probably one of the few moments of my day when I’m truly alone. On the train in a car filled with people. No one pays attention to me sitting by the window, Mp3 player tuned in and tuned out; and I pay no attention to them.  Lately my thoughts have turned to spring and the mercurial changes in weather from cold to warm, to rainy, with sporadic blasts of sunshine.   I’ve been thinking hard about vegetables and plants that grow in the months of March to May. I’ve been trying to find inspiration to write about all the wonderful vegetables available to chefs this season. Imagine, riding the train with thoughts of wild ramps and strawberries and asparagus. I tried and failed.  I could not understand  I walked into my kitchen and spent some time searching the produce cooler. I saw boxes of strawberries, from California. I looked at the asparagus – grown in Mexico or Peru I cannot remember which. It’s been on my mind for the past two weeks, my inability to write about spring. I could not connect my thoughts to what I was seeing. Nervous and afraid. I rode the train hoping to capture spring from […]