As of this past Saturday night I have spent six months preparing and serving fine, porky comestibles at the barbecue joint. I have learned much during that relatively brief time and here are some of my conclusions:
-Over the years I have cooked for many gatherings of my friends and family, and due to the fact that I kick ass at it I have been urged many times to start up my own “home cookin” joint, a prospect that I have seriously contemplated from time to time. Well now that I have actually been in a kitchen in a professional capacity I can say quite unequivocally that once my time here is done — whenever that may be — I never want anything to do with the restaurant biz for as long as I live. The hours can be long and grueling, it’s hot as a motherfucker during the summer, preparing the same set menu day after day is incredibly tedious, some of the recurring locals are in sore need of euthanasia, and my work schedule has pretty much decimated any hope me having a social life unless I begin dating some comely vampiress or other creature of the night. A she-werewolf wouldn’t be too bad, come to think of it…
-Seeing certain regulars night after night has really driven home the message about the dangers of long term alcoholism; I will still drink socially, but on a nightly basis I see lonely people prematurely aged by the imbibing of hardcore rotgut and such piss-beer as Pabst Blue Ribbon, and witness their feeble, wasted attempts at picking up any female in the vicinity, most of whom are young enough to be their daughters. One of our regulars pretty much drank himself to death a couple of months ago upon finding out that he had terminal cancer, and we have a recurring guy who comes in every day in search of brisket sandwiches who is about two steps from the grave thanks to a raging cases of HIV from his days as a junkie; he rolls into the place fucked up out of his mind on forty-ouncers of Colt 45 malt liquor or Budweiser, barely able to stand or speak coherently, sometimes in his bathrobe and covered in his own blood from where he drunkenly injured himself during a fall, and I can’t get over how pitiful the guy is. Heed my warning and don’t let it happen to you.
-You might be surprised to find that I have not put on a vast amount of tonnage while working in a barbecue kitchen and being able to gorge myself on the stuff for free if I so chose; one of the unfortunate side effects of cooking anything day after day is an inevitable boredom with the cuisine in question — no matter how good it is — and since the shit should be named “heart attack fuel” that’s a good thing for me. The only pork I willingly eat nowadays is the occasional breakfast sausage or bacony thing, but nothing like my consumption of swine flesh like in the days of yore. And also, considering my prodigious tolerance and capacity for beer and hard liquor — read “borderline alcoholism” — I am amazed that I do not take advantage of the bar as much I would have thought. The aforementioned examples of the dissipated regulars may be a significant factor in this.
-Lastly, the saddest thing for me at the restaurant is the fact that doing it for a living has nearly killed the fun and creativity of cooking for me, so I have to get out this gig and into something else before I never have the urge to make my famous fully loaded gumbo again. But I don't see that happening for a while; don't get me wrong, There's a lot I love about the place, but slinging hash and doing nightly post-cooking scullery chores is not what I should be doing right now.