Frontier Former Editor

August 22, 2009

I’m glad I had my arm twisted to watch “Julie and Julia” . . .

Filed under: cinema, cooking, cuisine, food — Tags: , , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 11:31 pm

if only to behold, within a 2-hour span:

1) the sight of Meryl Streep and an incredible simulation of a mutated Jami-Gertz lookalike laughing and cutting up like a pair of delirious giant cassowaries or Miss Hathaways;

2) the odd sight of Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci sitting together in a tub full of suds;

3) the impressive sight of Meryl Streep boning a duck (a scene done only once before by Lea Thompson in “Howard the Duck,” and with far less deliberation and brutality than by Ms. Streep);

4) a delicious-sounding way to reduce butter;

5) aforementioned duck encased in pastry;

6) Ms. Streep’s superhuman restraint from patting Mr. Tucci’s head like he was Jackie Wright on The Benny Hill Show;

7) a reminder why I’ll eat a poached egg only over my own dead, decomposing body;

8 ) another chance to see the Dan Ackroyd takeoff on “The French Chef” and to laugh harder and in a more-informed manner than the twenty-somethings sitting in front of me (that’ll teach the little bahstahds to look at their cell phone screens while the house lights are off);

9) the spectacle of Frenchmen actually being polite and nice to an American, and;

10) a damn fine recipe for beef boulignon stew.

And to think the young pseudo-adults from my workplace I saw at the theater were saying how much they were gonna get into “G.I. Joe – The Rise of Cobra.”

December 12, 2008

Hot oily hens, or chicken soup for the dumbass

Yes, one of the entries in David Letterman’s ‘Book of Top Ten Lists’ for new marketing names for KC has finally come true.

Rub a dub dub, three idiots in a sink
Rub a dub dub, three idiots in a sink

According to the New York Daily News:

“Four months after a Burger King employee lost his job for taking a bubble bath in a restaurant sink, three scantily clad teens were fired when they turned a basin at their northern California KFC into their personal hot tub.

“They landed in hot water with the chicken chain’s management when one of the bikini-clad dimwits made the same mistake as the Ohio Burger King employee – she posted photos of the dippy escapade on MySpace.

“The photos included captions such as “haha KFC showers!” and “haha we turned on the jets,” and were filed under a gallery called “KFC moments,” according to the Record Searchlight newspaper in Redding, Calif.

“The story broke before the unidentified girl could scrub public access to her profile. On her MySpace page, the girl listed herself as a 17-year-old worker at the Anderson KFC near Redding.

“”I’m a KFC worker, they are my best friends and my family,” she said on her site.”

 

Guess I’m doing Taco Bell for lunch today.

July 30, 2008

Addenda, or how to get murdered by ax

My last assignment at Roy Rogers was as a senior assistant mgr/troubleshooter at the franchise Roy’s in Warrenton, Virginia. Besides having the pleasure of that holiest of rarities in Northern Virginia – going to work on I-66 when everyone was leaving and thus having an relatively empty highway out of Fairfax County – I got to see just how well a franchisee adhered to Marriott/Roy Rogers quality standards.

Of course, during my first week, I tried to sample the milkshake/soft serve machine and was told by one of the hired hands that it didn’t work .

“And why doesn’t it work?” I asked gently, sensing that the question might be construed as an attempt to elicit sensitive information.

“Well, the health inspector told us it was broken,” said hand replied cautiously.

“I see,” I said, already knowing the worst. “Did he happen to leave a note as to why it was broken?”

The lucky employee led me back to the store office, where I discovered the inspection and safety file book for the establishment. Sure enough, the last inspection report included words such as ‘bacteria count,’ ‘odor,’ and ‘final warning.’

I told the employee that it was his lucky day, and gave him some petty cash and a shopping list including stiff-bristle toothbrushes (a running theme with my days at the Double R Bar . . .), a gallon of bleach and three surgical masks.

Upon his return, he, I and another employee unlucky enough to answer ‘not much’ when I asked what he was doing pulled the machine to the back of the kitchen. Amazingly enough, the tool kit for the machine’s maintenance was as it had never been used – well maybe it made perfect sense. I removed the side panels and immediately was forced into a Hobson’s choice: vomit or laugh and vomit.

There was enough curd to supply several varieties of repulsive European cheeses to the next 20 wine tasting parties in Warrenton’s fox-hunting community. I’d only expected cheese for 10 parties.

Suffice it to say we got the machine clean, sanitary and sparkling in about an hour. I surprised myself in my ability to motivate two teenagers to get off their “lazy, filthy asses and don’t ever let something like this happen on my watch again or I’ll run you through the goddamn roast beef slicer on ‘shaved’ setting – you got that?!!!!” Well, it was calmer and not quite as blue, but the sense of murderous intent got across.

One day later, we were serving milkshakes, sundaes and strawberry shortcakes (Stiletto and Sled will remember those . . .).

After that, things went amazingly well given that I demonstrated that I could scrub cream cheese from machinery with the best of them.

Then there was the day of the flaming chicken fryer (another theme in my career at the Double R Bar).

It was after the dinner rush (maybe Neil Young could get another album title out of that), and I’d asked the first employee mentioned earlier in this post to drain, clean and refill the chicken fryer with shortening. The process is relatively simple: you turn off the fryer, screw in a drain spout at the bottom of the fryer, open the spout valve and drain the oil into a filter/pump, spray filtered oil back into the fryer until the solids were drained, turn off the pump, scrub out the fryer, close the valve, disconnect the drain and filter, pack solid shortening back into the fryer, turn on the power until shortening is melted, add shortening to bring it to full, turn off the power and close the lid.

They did pretty well except for one step – the first one about turning off the fryer. Within seconds of draining the fryer, the heating elements managed to ignite the film of oil left after draining. Naturally, smoke drifted throughout the store and the fire alarm went off while I was sweeping the dining room. I ran back and saw employee 1 and his buddy standing and wondering what to do.

I said “DO THIS!” and cut the power and closed the lid. Just then I heard a banging at the back door. I opened the door and was greeted with a firefighter poised to chop a hole in the door with a fire ax. The ax, of course, was aimed pretty much at my sternum.

I turned, looked at number one employee and said, “It’s for you.”

July 29, 2008

Phuc’ing around

Another entry in the “I kid you not” department.

About 20 years ago, I took a professional side trip as an assistant manager for the Roy Rogers fast food chain.

During one phase of that side trip, I was one of three assistant managers at the Reston, Virginia Roy Rogers (roughly a Northern Virginia hour’s drive time from Stiletto’s favorite strip joint). One of its claims to fame – okay, its only claim to fame – was its proximity to the first U.S. research lab to bring a strain of the Ebola virus into the country, although officials claimed it was fatal only to primates.

(Insert your own joke here – I could have filled the space with days of comments)

One of our most industrious workers was a young gentleman named Phuc Yu (thus the “I kid you not” designation for today’s story). While the first part of his name suggested a Vietnamese ancestry, the ‘Yu’ portion left enough doubt so that I refrained from stereotyping.

Phuc’s primary assignment was chicken fryer, a task which he learned quickly and by which we actually served a fairly decent fried chicken to the herds of yuppies roaming the Reston area during lunch time. If Ebola was one of our secret herbs and spices, it didn’t cause any of our regulars to collapse, weep blood and ooze liquefied organs.

Phuc could turn out trays of chicken in prodigious quantities, making him a handy guy to have around during weekday lunch rush, as was the case that fateful summer day in 1989. The lunch crowd had started assembling in our cafeteria style line in anticipation of our best selling three-piece all-white dinner, and Phuc had already fried up 16 trays of chicken (eight chickens x eight pieces per bird = 64 pieces a tray [32 pieces of white meat], or 1024 pieces of chicken in the ready locker].

A week prior to that day, our brilliant manager had decided to replace cleaning brushes and save a little money by buying two long-handled heat-resistant synthetic-bristle brushes. Upon their arrival, the brushes were lovingly marked on their respective handles as “For chicken fryer use only” and “For restroom use only.”

Phuc always followed the standard Roy Rogers Restaurant procedure of brushing the sides of the fryer free of batter fragments after every two trays of chicken and filtering the oil and brushing the fryer after every four runs of chicken. As lunch shift manager, I was doing my walkthrough of the kitchen and saw Phuc doing the brush cycle. As I watched Phuc approvingly, my eye wandered to the brush and saw the letters above his hand: FOR RES.

Standing in the doorway between the kitchen and the serving line, with about 70 customers for an audience, I lunged toward the brush and yelled . . . . “PHUC YUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!”

I’m pretty sure the shock of my homynymnal outburst served to distract the customers from the sight of me locking the chicken holding cabinet  with its 1024 pieces of chicken out of the kitchen and toward the back door to join the contents of our dumpster.

I kid you not.

May 8, 2008

A great way to combine funeral service and home economics programs at vocational schools!

Filed under: biotech, cooking, humor — Tags: , , , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 10:48 pm

Now, here’s a way to use those old pressure cookers and leftover Drano between canning seasons!

New Morgue Science: Dissolving Bodies With

Lye

Process Includes Heat, Pressure in Steel Containers

 

 

CONCORD, N.H. — Since they first walked the planet, humans have either buried or burned their dead. Now a new option is generating interest — dissolving bodies in lye and flushing the brownish, syrupy residue down the drain. The process is called alkaline hydrolysis and was developed in this country 16 years ago to get rid of animal carcasses. It uses lye, 300-degree heat and 60 pounds of pressure per square inch to destroy bodies in big stainless-steel cylinders that are similar to pressure cookers. 

No funeral homes in the U.S. — or anywhere else in the world, as far as the equipment manufacturer knows — offer it. In fact, only two U.S. medical centers use it on human bodies, and only on cadavers donated for research. 

But because of its environmental advantages, some in the funeral industry say it could someday rival burial and cremation. ” It’s not often that a truly game-changing technology comes along in the funeral service,” the newsletter Funeral Service Insider said in September. But “we might have gotten a hold of one.”

more here

Frankly, any technology that keeps a funeral home from selling you a septic tank without holes to preserve your corpse and turning usable land into a minefield of concrete and metal boxes is a game changing technology.

Knowing the funeral industry lobby, though, there’ll probably be laws in most states requiring families to purchase Elvis souvenir decanters to house their new liquid assets.

On the bright side, this stuff could be marketed as diet pancake syrup or drambuie. I’ve even got a label: Soylent Brown.

March 17, 2008

More Irish Merriment

Filed under: cooking, humor — Tags: , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 2:15 pm

Ah, the jocularity inherent in St. Patrick’s Day.

jon-swiftie.jpg

For your enjoyment and broadening of cultural horizons, I humbly present “A Modest Proposal,” by Jonathan Swift.

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