Monday, July 26

Shave Ginger With a Spoon

Saturday morning was my second shift at the Pizzeria. I got there at 9 to observe opening duties. I was surprised at how hot the brick oven stays over night. I had to rake the ash out of it and, even after sitting all night, I couldn't stick my hand all the way into the oven.

Then I got to help with prep. The boss's mom, hereafter referred to as Mom, does most of the prep. I really like Mom. She's a good example of why I like this job more (so far) than any other job I've ever had. She made me feel like family, like a kid she was passing on knowledge to. Not just part of a team, a team works together to reach a common goal. This is more than that, this is a group of people that are all getting to that goal and want to make sure that every other member gets there as well. When I need help, it's there and when I can help, I do. The desire to learn is valued highly and people do things because they want to. Everyone wants everything that goes out to the table to be the most delicious that it can be (which is pretty damned delicious!) and with that as the goal it's easy to get along. Here are a few of my revelations (mostly taught by Mom) from the morning:
  • Curl my fingers under when using the big knife to slice things. I know this is one that anyone who has ever done any cooking already knows, but as someone who can barely manage to make a grilled cheese sandwich, it's nice to get some technique.
  • The wax on the outside of hard cheese tastes disgusting. I will be able to tell the difference between that and what the actual cheese tastes like regardless of what kind of cheese it is.
  • How to plastic wrap things so that they survive the walk-in cooler's circulating air. I was secretly fascinated by the way that things were wrapped in there and couldn't fathom how they were getting that way before Mom showed me.
  • It is my happy duty to try a rosemary potato off of each baking sheet as they come out of the oven to make sure that my seasoning was correct.
  • Use two paper-towels to blot hot crispy salami.
  • I'm glad that I knew that mozzarella is delicious before seeing the balls of fresh mozzarella floating in the brine (because that brine is pretty gross looking).
  • Shave ginger with a spoon.
  • The ends that they cut off the warm foccacia bread made delicious addicting snacks.
  • The reward for opening shift and prep work is warm breakfast cooked in the pizza oven. The other girl who does prep (who will have to forgive me for forgetting her name) made us mushroom, garlic, and goat cheese as well as tomato sauce, fontina, and arugula on half breakfast rolls. We all sat down for a family style breakfast which was not only delicious but a nice bonding experience.
I only made three pizzas during the four hour shift, but the last one the Pizza Guy let me put into the oven (after I nearly dropped it on the floor shaking it to make sure it wasn't stuck to the peel) and turn. I can't wait to get to the point where I'm good at working the oven.


NCBohemian said...

Fantastic! Two things I want to tell you:

1. You sound happier than I've heard you sound in the year and a half (mas o menos) that I've known you.

2. I've owned small restaurants, done my share of cooking, made my own menus for my restaurants, been a "foodie" for years, and yet this is the first time I've ever heard that you should shave ginger with a spoon! Thanks for the tip!!!

Unknown said...

Myra: 1) Thanks! It's weird because this has always been my place to vent, it probably came out more negative than reality, so when I can only vent positiveness I'm sure it comes out as a rather big change.

2) I don't know about *should* :) but it was easy enough to use the edge of a spoon to scrape the skin off of the ginger.