When I last wrote, I thought I'd suffered the biggest insult to my cooking dignity with the chicken nugget/fish-sliders menu.
THAT WAS SO MONDAY.
And does not even come close to Tuesday's menu atrocity.
Once again, I must remind myself (and you) these menus and products (notice how I say products and not food choices?) were not of my choosing. OBVIOUSLY.
Not a bad menu, right? WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!
The main course should have been called "Crumb encrusted ground pork-product with textured soy protein in the vague shape of a shark's fin".
Doesn't that sound appetizing?
You know - the first week I cooked I ranted and raved about how no one could do this job single handedly. What I learned is that if you're using all pre-cooked items (that will steal your soul) - you're not really a "cook" you are a mere "warmer". And it is possible to serve and deliver 65 portions of crap by yourself.
It's also helpful when ALL the ingredients for the day are actually PRESENT in the kitchen when you walk in. Which I experienced only twice in this whole ugly episode of cooking for children.
Also knowing HOW you'll be preparing items is useful. *shurg*
I know - that's a revolutionary idea - to communicate to the "warmer-upper" what they'll be ... flinging to the masses.
Tuesday's menu also illustrated to me why we have so many picky eaters today. And also why people are unadventurous in their eating habits. And are lovers of salt.
I couldn't believe anyone would want their child to eat what I fixed. Those "pork chops" - were pre-cooked and pre-fried. I placed them on a cookie sheet, shark-shape-fin to shark-shape-fin and warmed them up for 8 minutes. As they warmed the grease bubbled up out of them.
I could have really "sped up the process" by microwaving them. (which was a suggested heating instruction on the package) YUM YUM. Rubberized pork-product w/textured soy. What every child dreams of!
Rice is good. And thankfully this was just par-boiled rice and not instant rice. However - boring white rice. There's a reason unexciting things are referred to as "white rice". I briefly thought about making Rici e Bici (Rice & Beans) ... but ...
next to the pork chops - the worst item on the menu was the peas. I knew with each #10 can I opened, I'd be ruining some small child's love for vegetables - peas in particular. WHO THE HELL likes canned peas? They are mushy. They are slick. They are the color of worn out army fatigues. Even worse - these we labeled "sweet peas".
... there was no way I was going to ruin the rice by putting these in Rici e Bici!
I want VIBRANT green, al dente peas on my plate (or in my rice) thank you very much. And I think that's what children would want too.
Finally there is the issue of KETCHUP. (You know, I use to laugh at Garrison Keillor and his bits on the Prairie Home Companion "Brought to you by the Ketchup Advisory Board. NO LONGER WILL I LAUGH.)
You know how everyone is going on-and-on about kids being hyped up on sugar? How harmful processed sugar is? How sugar is EVIL and should be avoided? WHAT THE HELL ABOUT KETCHUP??
Apparently I committed the final cooking crime against God, man, and small children by not sending out ketchup with the fried sharks-shaped-pork&textured-soy-product.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE SIDES OF KETCHUP CONTAINERS SAY???
20% "real tomatoes".
The rest? Is corn syrup and "sugar". Not to mention "dried garlic powder" and a sting of chemical letters and numbers that cannot be good to ingest.
So - let's limit sugar - and squeeze on the ketchup! (stupid people)
It's true. Almost as much as I hate slick-plastic cheese, I hate ketchup. It obscures the taste of anything it touches.
People might as well sprinkle sugar on their French fries as far as I'm concerned. Seriously. I understand ketchup on hamburgers. And hot dogs. A nice counter point to the spice of the hot dog - and a little sweet to balance the sour of the dill pickle on your burger. But otherwise - (unless it's cocktail sauce) ketchup is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.
Thankfully the "real" person responsible for warming up crap started work Tuesday. From now on I'm only cooking the Wednesday night dinners.
GROWN UP FOOD for everyone!
REAL FOOD! That is cooked!
Almost all FROM SCRATCH!
(okay - it's true - Wednesday night I made cupcakes from boxed cake mix) and I didn't make the hot dog buns from scratch. Nor did I make the hot dogs myself - or the sausages (although I DO want to make my own sausage and squeeze it into real casings!)
But still - Wednesday night's menu made my heart sing - and made me proud to stand in my chef's whites at the end of the serving line.
The only mar on that meal was ... there wasn't enough. I was told 207 for dinner. I cooked for 227.
There were more than 250 people who showed up. The biggest turnout EVER.
Many of them took 3 & 4 hot dogs/sausages apiece.
Now - I'm off to rake the yard, dream up next week's menu, search for a job and clean my house!
Happy Friday everyone. I missed you!