In this, our 4th installment of my Chef 101 posts, I will not be giving you a recipe that I
mastered got through. Today I will give you all of the obstacles a Chef 101er faces in the neighborhood Ralph’s.
Bob is my favorite checker, even in the days I wasn’t cooking. He never batted an eye at my selection of frozen pizza rolls, pre-packaged sandwiches or bagged salads. I will wait for him, even if they open up another line. I have learned, that Young Girl #1 and Smiling Boy #2 will leave out something. Something I’m supposed to remember on my own that Bob always reminds me of. Club Card? Cash back? Want to pay for that magazine?
Pimento If I ask the Grocer for Pimento it’s because I expect it to be a fresh vegetable. I don’t want to be directed to aisle one from aisle 35 with just the hint, “It’s near the olives.” It’s never near the olives. Like asking me at the check out if I found everything? I’d only find everything if you walked me the 34 aisles to get it.
Bagging and un-bagging If I bring in bags I want you to fill them. I don’t want to carry anything in my arms. I can get two bags, by their straps, onto each shoulder. And, God help you, if you ask me if I need any help getting them to my car. I always say, “I don’t need help with that. I need you to come home with me and unload everything.”
Shopping carts These are big hazards for me. I always clip one with my trunk’s lid or my rear view mirror. They should have homing devices. That would not only save my car’s paint job but also the exhausting search for something I can lean it against before it hurls itself toward your car.
Which bread crumbs When I finally find bread crumbs why are there more than one? My recipe doesn’t call for Italian or Plain. Do I use the Italian for Italian food and Plain for
redneck all other food?
Wine I don’t buy my wine in the supermarket. But I do like to look at what they have. If you do buy your wine this way watch out for little tags stating the ratings from Wine Spectator, etc. Check the year and the vintage. Make sure if matches. And don’t buy it for me.
Cleaning shrimp I get what deveined is. I get the split down the back. I get that I don’t have to do that much to clean it. But when I ask for my shrimp that way don’t snicker at me. Explain, to all chef 101ers, that if we want the work done for us we have to go to an upscale supermarket with a real fish monger and maybe he’d accept the challenge. And, one last comment, if 3 pounds sounds like too much for 4 people for dinner, utter something.
Does flour and spice have shelf lives? My husband made bread a few weeks ago. The flour he used has been with us for at least 15 years. Open. Held by an unzipped Ziploc bag. We survived but I did toss it for a new one. Just like ground oregano. The color was so off-putting, milky/dusty green, I googled it to make sure it was right. Not before I cooked with it, but just before I served it.