The holidays are days full of special requests, special menus, special events and very special people.
It is a fast paced attack on the senses where you are riddled with indecisive, inexperienced, eaters who are as mean as they are cheap. For every pair of adults there are a gaggle of swarming midget micro mouths for them to feed. Even the best restaurants will generally roll out a menu chock full of tenders and fries. More often than not, every casual diner will use there best tactics to eat the kids menu, even if they are thirty years too late for its age restrictions.
The blistering intensity of the holiday season has caused many a cook to question falling belly first on to their expensive Japanese chef’s knife in order to spare them and their blade the terror of raping the delicate sharpened edge with wedge cut grilled cheese sandwiches. Luckily, most chefs have seen this behavior before and are able to talk the cook down from the hypothetical ledge. Good chef’s know cooks are a valued and often scarce resource during the holiday massacre. In fact, it is not uncommon to keep on babbling idiots during the season, if only to serve them up as cannon fodder so your most valuable cooks are saved for the more pressing assaults.
Shoe leather steak and fatty sides become staples. New steak temperatures appear, like medium rare plus plus and juicy pink well done. The old and the young converge into a swarming mass to raid the fortified buffet bars everywhere in a way likened only to George A. Romero’s movies. Turkeys begin their annual migration from the fields and streams to your plate.
A fun fact: 46 million turkeys are slaughtered each year for Thanksgiving. (PETA facts, yeah I know. you don’t have to say it.)
How many of those do you think go to restaurants?
If you said most of them, you would be correct.
Every oven on every property is packed to the brim with well dressed birds, ready for your arrival. Armadas of cooks wake up at ungodly hours to loving baste and rotate the birds as you sleep.
In this maddening maelstrom of filth an feathers, only the strong survive, only to go home to their families to cook again and again and again and again.
So the next time you are out and about during the holiday season do me a huge favor.
When you see a cook in a pair of grimy checkered pants, with bags under their eyes from lack of sleep, a disheveled look of shell shock on their face, clutching a 12 pack of liquid courage for dear life, look them deep in the eyes and tell them thanks.
They may be filled with surprise by your statement, but it may be enough to get them through to do it again for you next year.