Monday, August 09, 2010

Week 3: Thank you, may I have another!?

So I have more wonderful photos of a recent burn that happened when I was lifting a heavy pot from the back burner over a giant pot on the front burner, but I don't have my camera with me. I've spent the weekend watching my grandmother while my parents are out of town. It's very quiet here, but it's stressful trying to keep her from scorching garlic in the sautee pan.

Also, I've realized that I never learned the Taiwanese word for "please." This is because growing up you were never asked to "please" do something, you were just told to do it. My grandmother just kept telling me to do things (put the pan here, put the vegetable in the fridge, get the bowl, etc.) and it was driving me crazy. I tried to ask her to use the "polite" words but wasn't able to communicate it.

But I'm okay with no "please" or "thank yous" in the kitchen. When Chef says something, you answer, "Yes, Chef! Oui, Chef!"

When I hear the ticket machine clicking away during service and the order is called, I answer, "Thank you!" And in my head, I'm thinking "Thank you, may I have another!?"

The professional kitchen is run like the military. Respect, hierarchy, chain of command. There's no time to question, just do it.

Not completely sure why this doesn't apply to my grandmother in the kitchen except that there is this complicated cultural component where you're supposed to be taking care of her, but she also wants to assert her independence and knowledge... knowledge you know is 50 years out of date.

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