Friday, February 13, 2015

Sometimes You Realize It's a Lemon...

In the winter of 2002 I found myself somewhere rather peculiar.  My big evening plans lead me to the dusty, cramped stockroom of a Williams Sonoma in the Westlake Mall in downtown Seattle, Washington.  I wasn't alone.  Myself and about 15 other people stood in a semi circle around a chirpy store manager surrounded by walls of KitchenAid mixers and "color of the year" rubber spatulas. Our host asked us rapid fire questions about our career aspirations and thoughts about teamwork.  And we took turns answering with our best "I'm dying to hand out gourmet hot chocolate samples" charm.

A quick peek around the room at my peers that evening, and I assessed that their career aspirations likely had something to do with wishing the .com bubble had never burst.  That, like myself, their "career aspirations" had something to do with not being in this very place. Nonetheless...there we stood, doing our best to smile and be witty.  To stand out in this unemployed bunch, desperate to land a part-time mall job at Christmastime.  All that blather can be boiled down to this...In 2002, you did not want to be looking for work in Seattle.

So there I stood. Excited to have finally landed an interview in the mall after being told I was over qualified to work at the candle store, (thank you Illuminations for that keen observation) didn't know enough people to edge my way into the local restaurant scene, (such as it was then) and my resumes lingered in the "circular files" of what felt like every office building in the city.  Excited indeed.  This was also my first group interview.  Turns out it was my last too.  As the questions kept coming, two things became more and more apparent to me.  One, everyone in the room was even more desperate for this job than I was, and I was pretty desperate, and two, I didn't fit in here.  While I had been filling my unemployed days literally building a couch, because we couldn't afford one, and wandering around my new city in awe of the strange post grunge, pre Fifty Shades mish mash of culture, these people had been cooking.  

The next question Mr. Enthusiastic Sales Guy asked really punched me in the gut.  "What is your favorite kitchen appliance?  And Why?"  Until this very moment, I had been holding my own.  After all this was a mall job.  How could standing around a cash register ringing up sales for flatware be any different than ringing up soaps? (Incidentally, something I had already done...thank you again Seattle). Apparently to get this coveted part-time, minimum wage job, you actually had to be passionate about the products, and they preferred you didn't fake it.  I was out.

"Take out menu."  That was my answer.  It was honest, albeit some might say insulting, but truly, in a "Jen Jasmin" kind of way, honest.  As the group picked up their jaws and Mr. Enthusiastic Sales Guy got his eyes back in his head and his underwear untwisted, I politely thanked everyone for their time and excused myself from the room.

As I've mentioned before...I really, really couldn't always cook.  Back then I would have had no business working in a store that sold gadgets and gizmos that at the time I couldn't even pronounce. You know what they say about hindsight.

If I had to, I'd land that job today.  (Fingers crossed history doesn't repeat itself that way.)  And I now have cabinets full of kitchen tools that I consider indispensable. None has consistently brought me more joy on a busy week though than my CrockPot, or "slow cooker" as we are supposed to call them now as to sound more upscale gourmet, and less 70's housewife. 

Thanks for reading this week as I strolled down memory lane.  This week's recipe came from The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone. I haven't mentioned this before, but should, I don't intend to post the actual recipes I cook during this project unless I can already find them posted somewhere else online by the chef or author that they came from.  I've learned that writing a recipe is a true art, and feel that if you'd like to make something I've tried, you should give the creator proper credit and buy the book.

May I present you: Lemon Chicken and Potatoes

It may not look like the most beautiful dish (Crockpot meals rarely do) but it was flavorful and delicious!!!

No comments :

Post a Comment