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nine and a half hours

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nine and a half hours

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Bandanagirl - Vampire Red
And it would have been more if someone hadn't apparently used up all the cinnamon on the butternut squash bisque, so I couldn't finish the apple pies.

I expected today to be long. Friday is, of course, a delivery day, which means Box Tetris. And yesterday was a short day because we were out of some things and couldn't do the prep until today's delivery. My list looked like this:

5 Wellingtons US Foods
Chili Meat City Line
Philly Meat Fowler
Beef Sardilli
Chix 2 bags
Salmon All
Shaved Red
Apple Pies

At least, that's how I write it down. The four suppliers are in a separate column because they're not really food prep, but I like to keep track of having done them. Wellingtons, chili and Philly meat are all things that get cut from the whole chucks while I'm breaking them down for the grinder, which is why they go at the top of the list before Beef, which is generally the first thing I do each day. Slaw-Shaved Red (onions)-Gouda-Philly are all things that get done on the slicer, in that order. Anthony tells me the new one will arrive Monday. Anyway, here's what the day actually looked like:

Arrive. Brew the coffee. While it's brewing, haul the floor mats into place, bring in my garbage can and put a liner in it, grab apron and towels, fill a sanitizer bucket and wipe down my station, get the stepstool and climb onto the dish table to get all the Lexans I need, plug in my iPod, and write down my prep list. Pour myself a coffee.

Get the first chuck. Break it down into Wellingtons, 3 pounds of cubes for chili, and a fish tub full of largish chunks to slice for Philly. Give the kitchen the chili cubes. Stick the Philly chunks in the freezer and the Wellingtons in the meat cooler. Grab another chuck. Break it down and start grinding.

Fowler arrives. Finish grinding the first Lexan and go out to put the smallish produce order away. When I'm about half done, US Food arrives. Because I have a cheat sheet today, start putting away their stuff as it arrives, instead of waiting for it all to be offloaded. Driver is very nice and offers to put the cases of chuck right IN the meat cooler, now that it's possible to do so without blocking access to everything else we need, which is the way it was when we only had one cooler. As he's finishing up, City Line arrives. Explain to City Line driver that he's gotta pile the stuff SOMEWHERE that it won't block any doors, and I'll sort out which cooler it goes in myself, but I gotta be able to get the doors open. Keep putting stuff away as City Line unloads. Think uncharitable thoughts about pickle tubs. Sardilli arrives. Sign for THAT. Keep putting stuff away. Finish the coolers, at least to the point where everything's inside and the produce is sorted, and go on to the freezer. Marvel at Derek NOT having over-ordered for once, leaving me enough room to actually get everything onto a shelf. Decide to ignore the cases piled in the meat cooler, because they're at least at the proper temperature, and we're starting service, we're gonna need FOOD made.

Go inside. Hang up the hoodie, put the apron back on. Change the solution in the sanitizer bucket. Derek asks for pork next. I explain (nicely) I'm still in the middle of the beef, 'cause everything arrived at once. He explains (nicely) he's got a pork burger special and two portions left. I say "okay, I'll clean the grinder and go BACK to the beef." He says "thanks, and do two pans." Helbreth is in the middle of prepping romaine, so I run it through the dish myself. Climb up again to get the third pans I need. Ice the grinder parts so they don't cook the pork in their hot-from-the-dishwasher state. Slice two pork butts and start grinding. The grinder jams on some connective tissue and I have to stop it and take it apart and rinse the goddamn die. Derek says "I'll take that pork as soon as you have it." I say "I'll have it as soon as I unjam this stupid thing." He says "Do you have ANY ground? I got an order." I say "maybe half a pan. Help yourself." He runs down to my prep area with the disher and grabs a burger's worth while I continue unclogging the freaking thing, muttering about how it ONLY jams when we need something on the fly. That done, I go back down, reassemble the whole shebang, and finish grinding the pork. Bring Derek one of the pans, put the other in the walk-in. Disassemble grinder and bring it upstairs to be washed. Clean table, change cutting boards, get fresh knife, go back to breaking down chuck. Three Lexans later, repeat disassembly process and change over to chicken. Portion the chicken at 7 ounces, date and label, put in walk-in, disassemble grinder ONE LAST TIME and get the salmon.

Declare lunchtime. Decide to have the special, which is a pork patty topped with a little of the BBQ-sauced pulled pork (normally used for Southern Sliders), fried dill pickle chips, and cheddar cheese. Decide to live dangerously and have a side with it today, even though I normally skip the sides because the burger is more than enough food -- but the description says "choice of fries or slaw" and I happen to like slaw and think it'd taste really good with the burger. For the record: it did.

Salmon. We have two sides (half a case) left from Monday's delivery, and two cases delivered today. So I break down all of the new case into 4oz and 8oz portions, and turn the two sides plus the trimmings into salmon burgers. Continue to think happy thoughts about the ergonomic properties of my great-grandmother's gefilte fish chopping bowl. Portion the burgers. Put them away.

Mix the slaw dressing. Go to the walk-in and grab a head of cabbage, two carrots, and seven red onions. Quarter and core the cabbage. Peel the carrots. Slice the tops off the onions and peel them. Go to the freezer and get the Philly meat chunks so they'll get just thawed enough to slice well. Bring the cutting board to the dishwasher -- who's New Kid Derek by now, Helbreth having finished his shift -- and tell him it's time to help me haul the slicer onto the table. Haul. Set up. Slice the cabbage, grate the carrots into it, mix in the slaw dressing, get it into the cooler. Say hi to Hector as he walks in. Wipe down the slicer. Slice the onions. Wipe down the slicer again. Ask Boss Derek if I can give the Gouda and the Philly meat to New Kid Derek to portion once I've sliced them, so I can work on the apple pies sooner. He agrees and asks if I'll show New Kid Derek how to dice and portion the chicken for salad. I say sure.

Set up New Kid Derek with the chicken. Change music from "shuffle" to Assemblage 23, since that's one of the things we agree on, and he'll be in my area for a while. Slice the Gouda, but do not portion it. Wipe down the slicer. Slice the Philly meat, but do not portion it. Disassemble the slicer and put the not-motorized parts in the dish. Start collecting the stuff to add to the apples for apple pie. Hector brings back the clean slicer parts. Reassemble and get New Kid Derek to help me get it BACK under the table again. Explain to him how to portion the Philly meat. Measure flour, brown sugar, and butter into a bowl. Get on a ladder and look for the cinnamon, having already determined that it's not under my table or at the fry station.

No cinnamon. Tell Boss Derek no cinnamon. He says "Okay, put the pies aside for now, we'll do 'em tomorrow. Just finish up the fridge and you can go." Meanwhile, New Kid Derek is finishing up the Philly portions, and then has to get back on dish, because, surprise! Hector walked out. Which must have been when I was on the ladder or something, because I totally didn't notice it. So I slap a lid on the sliced-but-not-portioned Gouda, and put THAT away for tomorrow too.

Right. Fridge. Sort the cheese into its logical spots. Juggle everything so the remaining chicken (we already went through one whole case of random breasts of the two that were delivered today) can go on a shelf. Make sure the older case of wings is on top. Open eight cases of chuck and stack them in the bin, making sure that the two chucks left from Monday are set aside, tagged with Use First stickers, and stuck on top, so I'll be sure to grind them tomorrow. Decide that since it's raining, the empty cardboard cases can bloody well STAY in the fridge until morning, and stack them neatly in front of the bin where they're not blocking anything anyone will need tonight.

Wipe down my table. Put the dirty towels in the hamper. Take out my trash and change the liner. Punch out.

I had a Jack and Coke for dinner. And I deserved it.

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