Most people aren’t thrilled when they receive a text early in the morning asking if they can come into work. Then again, most people don’t get to work in a pork haven with people whom you consider family. On days that I work at Salumi, I practically jump out of bed and skip the two-mile walk to Pioneer Square. I started working at Salumi Cured Meats in April of 2008 and I left my full-time position after two years there. Between my trips to Boston for wedding activities and trips to see David while he was working on a project in Eastern Washington and Southern California, my travels began to conflict with my work schedule. Now I am fortunate to be able to fill in whenever Gina (the owner, along with her husband Brian) needs an extra body.
When I do get the opportunity to work at Salumi, it feels like putting on a perfectly worn, warm sweatshirt. I tend to be a bit rusty the first five minutes, but then it’s back to business as usual. In early January, unfortunately my co-worker Melanie was home sick with an ear infection, but fortunately for me I was asked to work (and thrilled to be able to earn some money for the first time in months). I started my work day with a coffee from nearby Zeitgeist, threw on my apron, and I was happy to have the opportunity to catch up with co-workers and customers. Salumi is like a small family and I miss the atmosphere and camaraderie. I took my co-workers for granted when I was full-time and I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I was alone in a kitchen for hours while older men came in describing their bunions and hemorrhoids. Customers often ask us if we are a member of the Batali family and our answers are usually the same, “No, we’re apart of the Salumi family”. It’s not just a line we give the customers, that’s how it really feels. Sometimes we pretend we’re all sisters to see if we can throw the customers off a little just for fun, and usually the go along with the gag (not being deterred that there is a near 25 year age spread among us). I miss the day to day banter with our regular customers, talking to the pleasant customers who come from near and far to taste the famous cured meats and I even miss the bitter customers who come in with a bone to pick with everyone and everything. I’m grateful to be asked to work and join in the fun, be surrounded by incredible food and still be part of the family.