3 min read

Back In Black

My armor is black.
Back In Black

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I wear a chef's jacket when I cook at home.

Sure, it's not really a sin, although I will grant it is strange. I'm not one of those weird foodie people that has to have some vain credibility by wearing one; I don't do it to be trendy, cool, or impressive.

My daughter loves mine. It's black. I always wanted one in black, but I kept picking places to work that were normal, so I ended up with the white ones, and since I was on the bottom of those cooking staff ladders as a pasta chef, I didn't get to keep mine, which was okay by me.

I can hold my own with tortellini and ravioli. But that is not why I wear the jacket. I wear it because of pain and adversity. I wrap myself in it as armor against my greatest enemies. They seek the ruination and destruction of my most favorite things.

Basically, if there is a staining substance within a country mile of me while I am wearing my most loved t-shirts, it will locate me like a heat-seeking missile and splatter its payload, more resolute than blood, on my clothes whilst laughing like the Devil himself.

It is horror.

The laundry is enough of a terrible beast as it is with the way it mangles and vanishes socks, melts the wrong shirt at the right time, and turns your one-of-a-kind Digital mainframes shirt into a lovely Pink Panther edition.

Many moons ago, when I was much younger on the culinary trail, I had the same stupid vision almost every person entering the field has. I wanted to start my own restaurant. It would be a majestic thing, a world of spice and garlic. There was already a restaurant that dealt exclusively with garlic in Los Angeles, but why let facts get in the way?

My little house of haute cuisine would be different. I would learn to fuse flavors in delightful trickery that would make the senses tingle. It wouldn't be quite the same as the vampires sneaking up to the back door of that other place, feeming like addicts, but perhaps I would steal them, too.

The few times in my life I have been allowed to mangle or create a new dish at the places I have worked, they went amazingly well. At one chicken chain that sold meatloaf once a week, I hated the meatloaf because it was dry and flavorless, and they baptized it in ketchup like a cat.

I mean that it was so horrid the sauce ended up splattered everywhere. We didn't have the internet in those days, so the next best resources were Betty Crocker and the Frugal Gourmet. I might have chased a Cajun cookbook or two.

What we ended up with was a moist slice that could have come out of an honest-to-goodness barbeque pit. I cooked it up according to my concocted recipe and shared it with our morning black grandma on staff. She is the best authority in the kitchen.

Black grandmas make food so exquisite that Jesus would slap his own momma.

I said it. Fight me. You know I'm right.

Once I worked with a fellow from France that took a room over a soul food restaurant. He got in trouble on his visa because he was so addicted to chitlins.

True story.

She loved the recipe, added one more ingredient, and it blew up. Our output doubled on that day, and we ended up making three times the normal amount each week. I refused to give them the actual recipe until I went on active duty for the US Army.

The concept was possible. But not probable. These days, I am a food and a splatter magnet, so the jacket was worth more to me than the original idea, and here we are.

My daughter wants one in pink. We'll see how that goes because I'm also the one that does the laundry.

If I'm lucky, I can teach her not to get stained in the first place, which will make the whole experience more fun for her. In the meantime, Daddy pulling the jacket off the rack means that messes and kitchen destruction are to be had, and she should rush to the kitchen immediately to get smack in the middle of it.

Some rebellions, I have learned to just suit up and encourage.