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Missives from Miss Molly: High drama & lasagna

crudite, again
"crudite, again" From thisismolly photostream at flickr.

Umbrian sheep
"sheep we see every day on the way to work" From thisismolly photostream at flickr.

croquante
"croquante" From thisismolly photostream at flickr.

In our last postcard from Miss Molly (a young American cook working at a vegetarian restaurant and inn in Umbria), we vicariously experienced the World Cup win and a bit of homesickness for the food of good old NYC.

This latest post finds Miss Molly rejoicing at the loss of her nasty roommate, getting some praise from the chef and taunting us with promises of "the best lasagna you will ever eat in your life, period."

Okay, so the British monster got fired, and excuse my language, but I have no other words in my vocabulary that will do her justice. She was such a bitch, and I'm so glad she is gone.

She was there for five days... not even a full work week. Never in my life have I ever seen anyone more arrogant. She and Josh were fighting when it happened. (Not that Josh is some kind of saint or anything. I've minced words with him on more than one occasion.) I heard them fighting in the back room, went and got the boss, and he was more than fair with her and she just kept barking at him.

It was actually pretty funny. You see, Josh is the kind of guy who says really stupid remarks under his breath. Anyway, I've no doubt that whatever il mostro was yelling at Josh about, it was not undeserved.

I slept every siesta this week. I was tiiiiiired. On Tuesday, it was just Sara and I, and Sara is great. She's totally eager to learn and usually does things right. I like her a lot but she is still really slow, and doesn't know a lot about cooking and basic maneuvering in the kitchen.

We ended up having 21 people for dinner, which I know doesn't sound like much, but when it's at Montali Country House and when it's just you and someone with hardly any cooking experience, you really get pushed to the limits. And I did. 8 a.m. until midnight, with less than a 2-hour break. And it was just Sara and I for the first half of the day, and I had to make lunch for customers, and I did it, and I hauled ass and it felt really good, like I'm finally getting into the rush again when you just do everything good and you do it without thinking and the pressure is on but you don't freak out because you can handle it and everything you do you hope your chef sees because you know you are doing it the way she wants...

She shook my hand again this week and pulled me aside for a little inspirational talk. I finally feel like we are on a team, the chef and I. The talk was something I've been waiting to hear my whole life, and I always thought that when my employer pulled me aside to give me that talk that my heart would fill with glee, and that's not how I felt. Maybe this was just the outskirts of the talk I've been waiting for. Yeah, actually I think it was. Nonetheless, it still felt really good to hear. That is, until Josh walked up. At that point, just I pointed out how pregnant the cat looked.

The food is starting to appeal to me again. I think it's due to the fact that I'm putting more of my heart into what I am doing. I wasn't too into this ultra-refined stuff when I first got here, but then I started thinking about Thomas Keller and how his food must be or Daniel or Jean Georges and how they got started and the attention that they all at one time or another put into their food. Not that I want to ever
open a four-star restaurant, because I don't think that's my style, but I do think it's important to aspire to be the best you can be and if that means working 84+ hours a week doing painstakingly detailed work then so be it.

The British monster left behind a book on Umbria. I was happy to know we are now in the hottest and driest part of the year. Thank god because it is sure hot and dry! The rolling hills are covered with sunflowers and it's beautiful to see. This week they looked a little wilted, so by next week, I'm sure they will be almost dead.

I've been thinking of a few recipes I can email back... Most of, well all the stuff we make here is either not for the home cook due to technicality or the use of specific tools or the lack of my ability to sit here and write out the procedure.

Our tomato sauce is really good and simple, but I am going to assume that most of you do not own a food mill. Or this red pepper side dish thing we make that is insanely retarded (that's slang for really, really good). I just can't write it all out.

Maybe if I get some special requests, I'll take and hour or so of my free time on my one day off a week and write the recipe for "the best lasagna you will ever eat in your life, period and it ain't no casserole, neither," but I doubt most of you are going to take the time to roll your own fresh pasta or seed 60 cherry tomatoes (or as they say in Italy: cherries tomahto). Just kidding, you don't have to seed cherry tomatoes. I just threw that in for good measure. You could also just buy fresh pasta. Or maybe I'm just totally underestimating you, my dear fans.

Forgive me.

Okay, until next time...
Ciao, amoribelli!

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8.05.2006

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Previously: Food Quote Friday: Ed Levine » Previously: A jar. On the fire escape. Steeping. » Previously: Missives from Miss Molly: Dreams of pulled pork » Previously: Food Quote Friday: Washington Irving » Previously: Your food career... a quizlet » Previously: Missives from Miss Molly: Siestas and Salty Snacks... » Previously: Missives from Miss Molly: Hot Kitchen, Hard Times » Previously: Food Quote Friday: Irma Rombauer » Previously: Missives from Miss Molly: The Daily (Espresso) Gri... » Previously: Missives from Miss Molly: A Far-Flung Cook Lands »