DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Nov 2 2009

It’s Hot in the Kitchen

by Patricia D

I spent my twenties wandering in the food service wilderness, toying with the idea of going to cooking school, dreaming of opening my own rib shack or bakery as I washed dishes in a country club kitchen, made toast and scrambled eggs for 300 at a church camp, worked the line in a hotel kitchen in a popular tourist trap and cleaned and shelled 60 pounds of frozen shrimp every single day at a nightclub. Cooking for a living is what I wanted and, for the young and energetic, food service is fun—it’s grueling and will leave you broke and broken, but there’s nothing like the adrenaline jolt of a hot, busy kitchen on a Saturday night when Chef is bellowing, “Let’s move it people, we’re in the weeds!”

Library work can be as physically demanding as kitchen work—you’re on your feet all day, lifting heavy stuff and working odd hours.  However, I’ve never gotten a second degree burn from accidentally bumping into a hot bookshelf and I’ve never nearly severed a finger doing storytime.  I now have a job that doesn’t leave me reeking of grease and gets me into my own bed well before 2:00 a.m. but I often look back on the pressure cooker days and nights of those various kitchens with a great deal of nostalgia. When the longing hits, I turn to our collection for solace. If you have a similarly checkered work history or just get swept up in the drama of TV cooking shows (YES, I’m talking about you Gordon Ramsay!) these titles are all in the collection:

Heat: An Amateurs’ Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta Maker and Apprentice to a Dante Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford

Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America by Michael Ruhlman

Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip—Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by Steve Dublanica

Service Included: Four Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch

Cooking Dirty: a Story of Life, Sex, Love and Death by Jason Sheehan

The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen November 2, 2009 at 7:13 PM

Great post, chef Patricia!

Claudia Medori November 3, 2009 at 8:40 AM

You hit the kitchen scene right on! Thanks for the tips for some really interesting titles.

Lynne November 3, 2009 at 9:31 PM

Great post, Patricia. I read your post outloud to my family for all of us to enjoy! Keep up the great writing!

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