Monday, August 13, 2007

prep work

Half of my day is spent
getting ready for dinner.
The prep list hangs
from the ticket holder
and I pull my Sharpie
from my sleeve pocket
to mark my progress:
green beans, succotash,
gnocchi, Swiss chard,
cod, swordfish, halibut,
butter sauces.

There is a certain way
to do things.
The aim is consistency
rather than conformity.
Each portion of salmon
should weigh eight ounces.
The chives should be diced
to be the same size.
Does any diner look
at the plate and say,
“This chive is too large,”

or pick up his salmon
and reach across to grab
the fish at the next table
to see if their weights
are commensurate?
But I can tell
when I pick them up
and place them
in hot sauté pans.
They don’t know,
but I do.

After his days off,
Chef comes in early
and checks all
the dressings and sauces
to see if they match
the recipes. He looks
at peppers, mushrooms,
even the chives –
we sweat the small stuff.
It’s how we show
we mean what we cook.



David said...

"It’s how we show
we mean what we cook."

I like that...

Presbyterian Gal said...

"They don't know, but I do"

Words to live by, my friend, amen.

Amy said...

I really like this poem. A lot.

Grace, Every Day said...

Yes, me too. Sounds like you are digging your new job.

Diane said...

what david said...

paisley said...

and as a veteran restaurant server,, i know from being on the front lines that every now and again.. someone will find fault with anything... so if you are secure in your knowledge that they are full of it... so am i....

gautami tripathy said...

What a fine poem!

etain_lavena said...

great poem:)

tumblewords said...

How neat! It’s how we show
we mean what we cook. I really like this phrase - says so much...

Constance said...

Wow, I really like this. A very intimate glimpse inside the kitchen and a prep cook's head.

Fledgling Poet said...

It’s how we show
we mean what we cook.

That last sentence packed a powerful punch...great poem!