Thursday, November 26, 2009

Advanced Cooking Club

Okay, back from being sick, computer problems, and that unfortunate incident involving the moose tranquilizer. And of course my friend Jose's untimely, sad and sudden death. Time to get back to work, make some beneficial changes in my life, like trying to be happier and meet more people. Hell I may even grow my mustache back.
Let's begin by catching up on some recent history such as the SHRT Halloween Party (pictured above is my lovely case manager, Erin (what a ham) dressed as the foxy witch, and case manager Paul, as the gay cowboy, at said party). The geniuses in management thought it would be a good idea to have the party for three hotels, the Las Americas, the Olympia, and the Produce. They also thought that since three hotels were concerned they'd have the party in the Defiance Space, which can only be reserved for small amounts of time. In this case two and a half hours for the party itself, with a hour of prep.
Well this arrangement may have been alright for the geniuses in management, but not necessarily for the residents of the three hotels. Oh I'm sure there were those who enjoyed the party immensely, but I thought it sucked, and have vowed never to attend or participate in these economical, three, or even two, hotel meetings, as they just turn into unorganized melees, and I wind up having a crappy time. First off, I was asked to help plan it and set it up, and accordingly spent an hour setting up decorations. But when it came to serving food only the staff seemed to be qualified to handle that. I find the arrogance of these staff members with college degrees exceptionally amusing. They couldn't even handle that simple job, waiting a good hour and a half before serving, ensuring everything was nice a cold by the time it was handed out, which was done by the waitress method, where the staff would take plates to the clients. But first appetizers were enjoyed, by those who could get them. Erin kept passing around food to everybody except the small table I was sitting at. And she never did put on my make up that she had promised, so I had no chance of winning any prize, considering they only had like three door prizes for the 60 or 70 who showed. And nothing was provided for those who helped out, or if it was they kept it a big secret. And the festivities were rushed toward the end, giving the whole affair a sense of perfunctory artificiality. You can say I went away a tad bitter, and won't be going back to any of those anytime soon.
Methinks I bitch too much!
Well everyone was well intentioned I suppose. The staff can't help it if their incompetent bastards.
Except for my own fine case managers, Erin and Paul of course (except for the freaking make up, Erin!). They were wonderful. As can be seen by the handling of yesterday's Thanksgiving celebration at our own Las Americas.
On the day of Jose's death it was decided at the monthly resident meeting to have our Thanksgiving meal on the Wednesday before the holiday, so that the staff, Paul and Erin could attend. The food would be provided by SRHT, and Tianna, our lovely resident manger would be heavily involved.
Last Tuesday after yoga, for that days Support Group, Erin and Paul decided that time would be used to shop for the next days activities. Us three and Hardy drove in Paul's car to the local Ralph's on Eighth and Fiqueroa, a high end, rip off supermarket in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. There we purchased large bottles of "Squirt," the lemon/lime soft drink, pumpkin pies, chicken broth, and other assorted items. Shopping with Erin is like walking behind Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, as she will spontaneously break out into various pieces of song while simultaneously sniffing out the best possible bargains in that overpriced establishment. Paul even refused to purchase avocados there as they were so expensive.
Erin had told me she was coming in at six Wednesday morning to start cooking.
"Yeah, sure," I replied, and she gave me a brief dagger of death stare before recovering her good nature.
"No, really," she said.
"Okay, I'll be there to help if you're really coming in at six."
"You got it!"
We high fived on the agreement.
The time was changed to five thirty as it was believed that the turkeys needed a good six hours to cook, at minimum, and we wanted to serve at noon.
Erin arrived on time, wearing a cute little hooded jacket to protect her from the night cold. I was given the job of dicing up peppers, onions, and celery.
And then Erin took off! She goes to the freaking supermarket while I'm stuck cutting up all of the freaking vegetables. I had come down to work with her at five thirty in the freaking morning and she takes off! I'll tell you what, let her cut the freaking vegetables and I'll go to the freaking store! It doesn't matter that she has a freaking car and I don't... I'd have taken a freaking cab!
(Editor's note: It must be stated that the author had recently resumed smoking after the death of his friend, Jose Montoya, and at the time of this writing was suffering from the affects of nicotine withdrawal after beginning another period of abstinence, withdrawal symptoms sometimes displayed as slight irritability. RJ)
Anyway, she soon returned ("She better get her little butt back here or I'm going upstairs to finish watching "Buffy the Freaking Vampire Slayer.") and everything was okay. An older resident named John (or Steve. Nobody really knows for sure) was busy preparing one of the turkey's using a unique stuffing made with about three pounds of hamburger. Erin, Tianna, and myself worked on the other bird. We finally got both birds in the ovens by six forty five, and figured we'd be able to serve by one. We then made several pans of different stuffing mixtures, and then we took a break. Erin went to her office and laid her pretty little head down on a paisley pillow she had brought for specifically that purpose. I returned to my box and read, "War and Peace," then returned to the kitchen at eleven, just in time to help Paul make his famous guacamole.
"Give me the recipe Paul, and I'll publish it," I told him. He would have none of that though, and was uncharacteristically secretive about letting anyone know the exact amounts and sequence of the mixture. I do know that it involved avocados.
And it was great! Paul offered it to anybody who was around early, and it was gone in no time. By then we needed to get everything else ready. Paul being a vegetarian, had little else to do with the cooking really. I was in charge of the vegetables (canned mixed, heated in the microwave), and gravy, Erin the mashed potatoes. We even got her to chop an onion, which she was loathe to do, as she was frightened by a Vidalia as a small child.
We served at a little after one o'clock to about 35 hungry residents. To tell you the truth I wasn't even very hungry at that point, and picked at my plate (but made sure I had another stashed upstairs in my box for later). The birds were fully consumed and the washing up process began. That finished we were able to go our separate ways. Erin to visit her farmer friend, Rikki, in Temecula, Paul to visit his future in-laws in Palm Springs, and me back up to my freaking box!
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

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