Vignette: Washing jackets and slacking off

Just a quick tip for all those of you who buy stuff in supermarkets and grocery stores, and an aside for the cooks who have to prepare the stuff you buy: If you buy titchy little onions and potatoes, we’re going to make you peel the damned things. Do you have any idea at all how long it takes to peel a kilo of pearl onions? And that you can buy them ready-peeled and frozen? Eh?

And while we’re talking about buying stuff, allow me to pass on a hint for those of you who do the buying of washing powder in your households. Having spent a year living on minimum wage, I’ve naturally gravitated towards the lower, cheaper portions of the display shelving in Carrefour and other supermarkets, and have found that the very, very cheapest washing powder you can buy – currently called Tex’Til but this will change next month as it does every month – is just as good as the stuff I used to buy, Persil Non-Bio and then Persil Regular. I have tested this most extensively over the past nine months on the dirtiest objects known to humankind – the work jackets of restaurant washer-uppers, so I can promise you this is a real test, not one where you pour ketchup on something and then rinse it under the tap.

Tex’Til has, unfortunately, recently gone up in price. But then so has Persil – probably something to do with the price of oil. But still, at €2.57 (it used to be €2.50 although has been as high as €5) for five kilos, it represents a fairly decent saving over the price of Persil – €13.57 last time I bothered checking. Look for the big, blue boxes down the bottom of the display, you won’t be disappointed with the results. And if you’re a manufacturer of washing powder, can you explain to me why your posh products cost five times more and don’t wash any better? Seems to me the only reason it’s sold at such a price is (a) to pay for the adverts and (b) because you have the bollocks to demand such a price.

Anyway.

One day back at work this week, just me and Chef for a group of 14 Wednesday lunchtime; I did prep. and plate decoration for his entrées and desserts, and wasn’t very happy with what I did. I sliced the kiwis unevenly and failed to slice the right number (nearly twice what I should have done, somehow) and my radish flowers were mostly askew. Not good enough, must try harder.

I do find slicing and chopping and cutting stuff evenly one of the hardest things to do. The secret is to actually look at what you’re cutting, rather than assuming it’s all OK because it won’t be. That and 10 years practise should do the trick.

Another day at work next Tuesday and then school starts the following Monday, with three more days at the kitchen straight after before we have a month-long break while they do some building work in the hotel.

Think I’ll go and watch another DVD.

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