The following is NOT a segment of my book.
After about three cups of really strong black tea this morning and reading through all of your lovely, lovely responses to my last post, I decided maybe it would be fun to actually write on this blog a little more than I’ve done in the past.
So, the following is a test. If you don’t like it and would prefer me to just wax eloquently about how to make pie crust and pizza (and I have another fun recipe coming later today), tell me. I promise it won’t hurt my feelings (too much). However, If you like it and find it even mildly entertaining, tell me that too. Obviously I don’t plan to write the next great American novel on the blog every day, but Fridays are fun and might just call for something a little different. I want to write what you all want to read so help me help you. Please?
I’ll stop now. Here goes nothin’. By the way, the winner of the cookies is comment number 1024—Kathryn! Kathryn, please email me at jenna [at] eatliverun.com and let’s talk cookies!
Basic Skills 1. Day One. 7:10 AM
I take a deep breath as I enter the kitchen classroom for the very first time. My primary thought is how cold the room is and I nervously fiddle with my cravat (neck-tie) because my hands are shaking. There’s only a few other students in the kitchen—class doesn’t officially start until seven thirty—and I recognize the face of a girl who was in my nutrition class with me a few weeks ago. She smiles the same nervous smile and I grab a metal barstool from the corner of the kitchen and then take a seat next to her alongside the metal counter. Out of my bag, I pull a brand new notebook with neat, smooth pages and can’t believe that only a few months ago I was sitting in a Victorian Literature class, preparing to take my final exam.
The minutes tick down and even though the room is chilly, I feel a prickle of sweat start at the base of my neck, where all my long blond hair is gathered and pulled into a hairnet-covered tight knot. More students fill the room, most of them boys who look to be about eighteen. Only three other girls enter the kitchen and for a moment I wonder what in the world I’m doing here and that I probably should have followed everyone else’s advice and gotten a safe and comfortable job after college instead of putting myself in thousands of dollars of student debt. It’s too late for that now though.
At exactly seven thirty, Chef walks into the kitchen. “LINE UP!!” he barks and then turns and walks right back out of the room. I take a deep breath and follow the rest of my classmates out of the room, where we line up with our backs straight against the wall while Chef shakes our hand and inspects us individually. Since my last name begins with W, I’m at the end of the line and wait nervously for my turn. Finally, I move forward.
“Good morning, Chef!” I say in an overexcited tone (whenever I get nervous I act waaaay too excited) and I shake his hand. He scans his roster and glances up at me.
“Why are you here, Weber?”
I pause then smile, showing my teeth. “Well, you see, I just graduated college at College of Charleston and have my degree in English. After college I went to Paris to study travel writing and now I’m here to learn everything about food so I can make a career as a food writer!” The overeager tone gets the best of me again and I sort of want to run far, far away in the opposite direction. Brilliant. Just brilliant.
Chef just stares at me with a deadpan expression and then smirks. “I didn’t ask for your entire life story. I just wanted to know why you’re here. Weber, there’s nothing I hate more than a good restaurant critic. Personally, I’d like to fry ‘em all up for breakfast and then cut into them like a strip of crispy bacon. That’s how I feel about food critics and now that’s how I feel about you, too. From now on I’m going to just refer to you as ‘the enemy’. How do you feel about that, Weber?”
How did I feel? I felt like I was about to lose my breakfast right there on the shiny linoleum floor, that’s how I felt. Instead though, I just mumbled something unrecognizable and then scurried back into the kitchen to begin my first day of school.