Blogging on the Job: “Kitchen Time” & Finding Time to Write
It’s been awhile. Apologies for the radio silence. I’m finishing this post while baking sourdough between assisting a morning “French Sauces” class and now subbing-in for the evening “Fall Pies” class. Both were incredible. Both left me incredibly full. And neither was very conducive to writing a blog post. I’m trying not to get too much butter on my keyboard.
The internship so far has been so much more than I’d anticipated, giving me much to reflect on and lots of questions and experiences I’d like to explore further in writing here on the blog. That said, dishwashing, knives, and Macs don’t mix particularly well. Lifelong habitual procrastination doesn’t help much either.
Easing into “Kitchen Time” has been a drastic change from my 9-to-5 in the city, if not particularly difficult for me. Working 60-hours, Wednesday through Sunday, your sense of “normal” time tends to fade and your circadian rhythm becomes virtually non-existent. I say virtually, because it definitely still exists, you just beat it into submission. Living in an idyllic Bed and Breakfast-town hardly matters when you spend the bustle of Saturday and Sunday serving soup and working in the dish pit. Monday, your one definite day off (not counting working remotely for your old job and, fingers-crossed, writing blog posts), leaves you feeling a bit like that Twilight Zone astronaut, wandering empty streets and wondering where the hell the rest of the world has gone (incidentally, in a Bed-and-Breakfast-town most restaurants and shops are closed Mondays, other service industry types invisibly taking their one day off along with you).
The work week is much the same. At 8:00, during most people’s morning commute, you’re already standing in the kitchen folding napkins, and around 5:30 later that day, during their commute home, you find yourself folding again (possibly the same napkin, used in the morning class, washed, dried, and now smelling of tide and bleach in your hands). On certain days, you may be folding that napkin again at 10:30 (or more likely, exhaustedly dumping it, dirty with 50 others, into the wash so that it’s ready for drying and folding the next morning when you return with the sunrise).
Strange as it may seem, I love this. I’d never realized how of “two minds” I’d been at my previous job in New York. Working inside all day under the sterile glow of fluorescent lights, eyes tired from scanning spreadsheets on my monitor, I thought only of food and cooking: It’s 9:45, how soon is ‘too soon’ to have lunch? We have leftover rice at home; fried rice or congee for dinner? Curious to read about whether that new trendy place is reviving or destroying Chinatown...The ping of another email disrupts my daydreaming. We have a team meeting in 5 minutes. Maybe it’s someone’s birthday? I think that’s a cake in the kitchen.
It’s taken this move to even realize I was living constantly with this double-mindedness, let alone how disruptive and draining it was. It left me unfulfilled both in my work and in my life and I wasn’t doing either - work or life - particularly well. In this respect the sometimes 15-hour days, loss of weekends, aching body, and cuts and burns are completely worth it.
More than worth it. All of these things are a part of why I love so much what I’m doing right now at the Cooking School. Body drained, my mind and spirit are high and I’m loving every minute of it. Even if it leaves me physically exhausted and with less time to write than I’d like.
That said, I’m still committed to weekly updates on life here at the School and on the Farm. Stay tuned.