About this blog...

Food has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Food and the festivities surrounding its arrival to the table has always been a focal point in our family. For many years I have been amassing the cookbooks, recipe cards, cooking journals, diaries, manuscripts and clipping files of our once extensive family.

Personally, I’ve been professionally involved with food for over 40 years in numerous and varied culinary capacities across the country so I also have the collected stories, as well as current and on-going food-related experiences from my own life I’d like to share.

My idea has long been that someday I would bring all of this marvelous raw material together into a culinary journey through our family’s heritage. This journal is the beginnings of that journey.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Private Chefdom - Part 8: Sourdough To-Go


Part 8 of a 9-part series


Another irritating thing about the Quire job situation was that it was never “my” kitchen.  In just about every other place I’d ever worked, even when I wasn’t the head dude, there was always a sense of team spirit, sharing, and respect for the other guys’ things.  At other places, if I was working on something, whether it was delicate chocolate leaves or spun sugar garnishes or just a pan of chopped onions for a soup mise-en-place nobody would think of messing with it.  There was no such code in the Quire kitchen.
The Quires loved my Sour Dough Bread so I tried to keep a jar of starter going all the time.  It was a hopeless task.  As many time as I explained it, as many different ways as I came up with to mark it, as diverse places as I found to hide it, the starter regularly vanished.  Always, I’d ask Mrs. Quire what had happened to it.  Usually she’d say something like “Oh, I threw it out, it was all bubbly, going bad”, or, “It smelled funny so I got rid of it”.  Over and over I would tell her that it was supposed to be bubbly or whatever but she always chucked it when I wasn’t there.  I got tired of having to continually bring fresh starter from home so eventually gave up and stopped making the bread for them.  Naturally, Mrs. Quire began complaining that my bread wasn’t as good as it used to be.
I would regularly come into work and not be able to find some prep, ingredient or item I had been working with the previous day.  It was just gone.  If I was lucky there would be more raw product to start again with, but sometimes I’d have to re-plan a whole days menu because of it.  Mrs. Quire was always rearranging the refrigerators “organizing” or straightening things around in the kitchen.  I  really don’t have a clue about why she would even have a call to go in there between 10 PM one night and 10 AM the next day, aside from getting a glass of milk or an egg for breakfast.  I know it was her kitchen and all but she was paying me to do a job and then making it as difficult as possible for me to do a good job at it.  Very frustrating indeed.

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