It has been suggested by some of my co-workers that perhaps I should sign up for culinary classes. This is not the first time anyone has ever suggested that I take cooking classes, but it might be the first time that I have seriously supposed that I should take their advice.
As with all my cooking disasters, it really couldn’t be considered my fault. I was under a great deal of strain at the time and of course, I was dealing with my limited cooking skills in the first place. It’s really the fault of the people who would let me near a kitchen.
It was our turn to serve at the concession stand for the ball games. I’m always nervous when this happens because it requires two skills that are not my strong suits. One, you can stand in the front at the counter and take orders and make change. I can take orders, but adding anything in my head is challenging. As for making change, forget it. I just shouldn’t be allowed near the cash drawer.
The other choice is to stand in the back and help with the cooking. I opted for this because you can go to jail if you mishandle public funds, but they don’t generally arrest you for lousy cooking. At least, I hope not.
It was a long evening and I had managed to do fairly well, as long as I avoided the popcorn machine. I’ve burned popcorn before and that is a burnt smell that keeps on giving and it’s a bad advertisement for the concession stand as well. After quite some time jumping up and down getting meat dishes, sandwiches, pizza and hot dogs, I was sitting on a stool at the back of the booth, staring at the wall and enjoying a momentary break.
It was then that one of the workers came over to where I had hotdogs boiling in a pan to get himself a hotdog for his break. He didn’t get one. To say that the pan had boiled dry was a definite understatement. The hotdogs had boiled dry, split open and adhered themselves to the bottom of the pan. It was difficult to tell where the hotdogs left off and the pan began.
For the next ten minutes, I frantically separated the hotdogs from the pan, scraped, scrubbed and scoured to remove the black sticky muck that covered the pot and tried to find more hotdogs to cook—fast—to replace the burned ones.
We were finally back in the hotdog business—the hotdogs were consigned to the garbage, fresh hotdogs were boiling away in the freshly scrubbed pan and I was starting to relax. The next rush was just getting ready to come in when I finally thought to check our fresh pizza supply. It was then that I realized that no timer had been put on the pizzas, which had been in the oven since before the hotdog fiasco.
They were done—oh boy, were they done! After we had chipped them off the racks of the pizza oven we spent that entire rush just pointing at the charred remains every time someone asked, “Do you have any pizza?” There were no takers.
It was after this night in Julia Child hell that my co-workers suggested that I sign up for a culinary class—one they would tailor specifically to teach the finer points of hotdog and frozen pizza cooking. If they can get the class together, I’ll gladly take it—that is, if I can pass the prerequisites. I heard a rumor that you have to have a passing grade in remedial water boiling. That could be a problem for me.