Meat & Potatoes

After the debacle last week, my boss called me from Brooklyn to apologize profusely. He said I have been a blessing to their community in so many ways and asked me to not change a thing. This week has been better.

On Monday I served Brioche French Toast, Scrambled Eggs, Home Fries, Bacon, Sausage, Fruit Salad and Banana Muffins. I was planning on making Beef Fajitas on Tuesday night but switched to Meatloaf because a brother told me Fajitas were too much work. When I told them they weren’t a lot of work for me, and I didn’t mind because everyone seemed to enjoy them, he said, “No, it’s too much work for us. We have to go through the buffet and think about what to put on them”. I laughed since I assumed he was joking. He wasn’t. Needless to say, Tuesday’s menu got changed to Meatloaf, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Potatoes and Braised Cabbage with Bacon. I considered this a very acceptable meal for these fine Irish lads. I asked the next day how the meal went over and Brother Harry said “Oh, just swell”. I said, “Great! So everyone enjoyed the cabbage I’m sure”. He said “No, no one ate it. We don’t like cabbage”. Excuse me? For two months I have heard that everyone is traditional “Irish meat and potatoes” guys who love pot roast & potatoes and corned beef & cabbage and no one likes cabbage? He said, “Well we are American, we don’t have to like cabbage!” Obviously he was missing my point. I’m not a mind reader and if I was, I probably wouldn’t be doing this for a job. Brother Daniel popped in and told me he loved the cabbage and had a half of plate of it. I have learned that Brother Harry gives his opinion and talks as though he is speaking for everyone when that isn’t necessarily the case. When he says “no one likes Mexican food” or “Fajitas are too much work for us”, he means that he doesn’t like Mexican food and that he doesn’t like putting together Fajitas. The bright side is that Brother Paul is away for 10 days and the three Brothers that are left requested chicken for every night since he is gone.

Starting next week all the boys come back from summer vacation including my boss Brother Jack and Brother Frank. Both men grew up in Brooklyn and let’s just say we speak the same language. It will be great to have everyone back together after a summer of Brothers coming and going.


Let Them Eat Meat

It’s week seven, and I’m starting to get annoyed with the boys. It could be that I have been working at Salumi during the day then cooking dinner for the boys, or the fact that their behavior is wearing me down. On Friday, my boss at Salumi generously donated prosciutto so the boys could try it. We had a really ripe cantaloupe in the kitchen, so I served the boys melon and prosciutto (a common Italian combination). Monday I made eggplant parmesan, garlic bread and a caprese salad that I thought was one of my best. It had all different colors and sizes of seasonal tomatoes and I forgot to take a picture, I’m sorry!

I checked my email that night and saw a note from Brother Daniel (he emails me about twice a day now). He stated the obvious told me that “our guys are funny”. Apparently one of the brothers picked apart each layer of my eggplant parmesan to see if there was any meat in it. Are you starting to understand what I mean by “meat and potato”? Who eats eggplant parmesan and wishes there had been meat with it? The prosciutto and melon freaked them out and only 1 of them actually ate it. I do take some responsibility since it’s an uncommon combination, but I thought they would at least try it. I didn’t think they would get that freaked out about ‘fruit’ and ‘meat’ being served together.

Each of the eight brothers has likes and dislikes so of course it’s impossible to please everyone all the time when you are serving the meal family style . One doesn’t like chicken, one is a vegetarian, one doesn’t eat seafood and one needs to have gravy (not italian “gravy” but rather from the packets) on every meat served. Don’t get me started. My dad reminded me tonight that cooking for a family can be like that. Brother Jack who is my boss, told me not to cater to any individuals needs (besides the vegetarian). I am struggling to deal with the majority of the Brothers who love my style and the few old farts who are stubborn and set in their ways.

Wednesday night apparently there was an incident with a Brother Paul who got very upset at dinner. I served chicken (which he doesn’t eat and apparently doesn’t consider a meat) and he threw his food on the table, and acted like a 2-year-old having a tantrum as I was told. Brother Paul would like to eat pot roast and potatoes every night and everyone emphasizes how Irish and stuck in his ways he is. After inappropriately receiving an email describing the whole incident, I did some thinking. I’m going to start altering menus. Hearing about this behavior is inappropriate and disheartening. Hence why Brother Jack asked everyone to keep their opinions to themselves. Yes it may be the peak of summer where the fruits and vegetables are bountiful, but it doesn’t mean I need to base my menus around it. Since I started working in June, the menu’s have been fresh and seasonal with a heavier meal twice a week to still keep them interested. If they want pot roast, shepherd’s pie, and meatloaf every night throughout the summer they can have it. Why do I care? I’m not eating it. On Friday I put bacon on their Blue Cheese Wedge Salad, bacon in their Potato Salad and bacon crumbled on top of their brownies. How about that pinch of pork! I’m sure they were in heaven…

Blue Cheese & Bacon Wedge Salad

Bacon Bourbon Brownies