Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Stream of Consciousness

I have some conflicting feelings about Small Business Saturday.

J & I have a rule - that any time we step into a small business we have to buy something - regardless of wether or not we find something we actually want.

Master of None is really fucking good. Way better than it should be. I've never considered myself a Aziz Ansari fan - but I cannot deny how mature, and well executed this show is. At times it rings of early Woody Allen. 

Now I found myself questioning the legitimacy of Indian accents on TV.

We got some Alba Truffles in at Peck's. J & I came in for a late dinner to have some. Its incredible how different it is to eat at your restaurant, sitting in the front of the house - rather than picking at things in the kitchen. I am incredibly proud to work with everyone there.

I find it very difficult to keep up with contemporary baking and pastry. It simply does not interest me the way regular food does. Sometimes I think this makes me a better pastry chef. Sometimes I think it makes me worse.

I have a dessert on the menu currently that is flavored by plunging hot sugar maple embers into milk, which effectively sears the milk.  Its a fascinating flavor, reminiscent of toasted marshmallow. I gently sweeten it with maple. Its used on a 's'mores' type dessert, and is selling better than I anticipated.

Sticky toffee pudding is back, at least for December.

Thanksgiving is over. I went dangerously far off my diet. Back on track...hopefully.

I baked less than thirty pies, which is a relief.

December is shaping up to be incredibly busy.

Fancy New Years is going to be pretty cool.

Italian Grandmother Menu looks amazing.

We went to see Seinfeld in Newark. We purchased our tickets before his show at the Palace was announced. It was pretty good. Not spectacular, though. As strange as it is to say, it just kind of felt like catching up with an old friend. More nostalgic than anything. I did, however, enjoy his bit on how even though he is in a place where he can do anything and go anywhere he wants, he still sits at home bored out of his skull - just like anyone else.

In 2013 I spent about $1400 on cook books. In 2014 all my money went to travel. In 2015 I decided to try only buying used books and I wound up spending about $700.

Its hard to choose a favorite that I picked up this year - so here are a few.. in no particular order:

Relæ by Christian Puglisi 
The Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh
The Southern Pie Cookbook by Jan Moon
Bar Tartine by Courtney Burns 

My least favorite, hands down: 
World Class Swedish Cooking by Björn Frantzén

Currently there are 99 books on my amazon wishlist 

Apart from cookbooks, and a handful of audio books , I have not read a book my entire adult life. This is incredibly depressing for me.

J&I both ditched our Hondas and are now Subaru owners. 

Konigin turns 1 next month. We have been bringing her to Normanskill Farm dog park a lot. She LOVES it. 

Open enrollment for Obamacare ends tonight (Correction: It has been extended to 12/19). For 2015 I decided it was more economical for me to just pay the fine and not purchase insurance. It looks like I will do the same for 2016. The reality is that even after the discount offered, the premiums are still barely affordable, the coverage is mediocre, and the deductibles are so high that, frankly, its pointless to purchase. 

This has been a popular topic of conversation at work because of the looming deadline and the fact that health care is seldom offered in the hospitality industry. None of us in the kitchen have health insurance. We all made the same decision not to purchase it for 2015.

I have not had health insurance or seen a doctor since 2008

The fast food workers wage increase is also a popular topic of conversation. It seems like it will have impact on (non fast food) food service workers (and probably other industries too). For example, I have several years experience, have completed programs at two schools, generally speaking I am pretty successful and my food is well received,  and I have a fair amount of responsibilities to manage at work.  If you divided salary by hours worked, I doubt I've ever made $15 an hour. Currently I make about that if I work a 40 hour week (which I have never done). 

If I could could keep a constant wage and have 40 hour weeks, less responsibilities, and just have to grind it out at McDonalds? Why wouldn't that sound appealing?  

I took a 33% pay cut between where I am now and where I was before.  People on this side of the Mohawk call that 'Saratoga Money'. I easily spent the difference in gas and alcohol. I am much happier in Troy.

It's fascinating to think about the evolution of rolls, responsibilities, and pay structure that will come about because of these changes in wage laws.  

It came up in conversation with a server I know that once tips are eliminated, they would need to be making $25/hour to stay afloat. At 40 hours a week salary - that is significantly more than I have ever made any way you cut it. 

When the field is level, can you justify paying a server 60% more than a kitchen worker?

I actively look for ways out of this industry.

From the archives, circa 2013
Cheez-it Souffle, Black Currant, Blueberry.