The first month I did an update post, I jetted off across the country, took the most time off work I have since I graduated college, and got a new job. I think I may have sent expectations too high. My life is not usually that exciting.
This month, for example, I never ventured farther from home than the northern suburbs of Chicago. Does that still count as getting out of the city? Maybe, since we got pretty lost on the bike trail we were attempting to follow and I sorely missed the streetlights and signage of the big city. The creatures running away from our bikes were (worryingly) skunks rather than the usual squirrels, and missing a turn brought us to a deserted field rather than another residential street. It may not have been far, but I loved the total change of scenery.
I’m happy to report that the new job is going great. I work the grill and flattop (basically a giant griddle) during the week, making burgers, sandwiches, pancakes, and all that jazz as orders come in, and I switch to prep work on the weekend. It’s a complete and welcome change of pace from my last job. Plus my coworkers and I trade podcast recommendations (I may groove to some NPR trivia in my basement prep kitchen…) and discuss McGee. What more could I want?
I’m still warming up to the idea of calling myself a cook, since I felt so much more qualified and comfortable as a baker. But I’m learning lots, mostly by constantly peppering everyone around me with questions, and slowly building confidence. I recently caramelized a huge batch of onions on the flattop, dumping out the five-gallon bucket and mixing, flipping, and watching over the mounds of slowly browning onions as they became more and more delicious. Something about the sheer volume of it or some movie image of a classic diner struck me, and I really felt like a cook.
I hope you’re all having a wonderful beginning of fall! The Portlander in me loves the gray mornings and the return of sweaters and all of the winter squash. Butternut squash makes everything better.