The other day, as I waited on a large party, I said “Can I get you anything else?” as waitresses do, and one woman replied “Do you have a million dollars?” And I laughed and said, “If I did, I wouldn’t be here!” But I thought about it, as the day progressed, and I’m not sure that’s true. The thing is, as strange as it may sound, I like waiting tables. Maybe I would stay on one or two days a week, even if I had a million dollars. A manager I worked with for a few years used to joke that she wasn’t in it for the money, she just wanted to keep “the common touch.” And there’s something to that… eating is something we all do, we have that in common, and it’s pleasant to see people in this way. I like this chance to talk to complete strangers, and learn a little bit about their lives. I like when they become regulars instead of complete strangers, and they’re glad to see me week after week. I like this way of almost being friends, but in a completely different sphere of life–in a way that none of my actual friends ever sees me. I like to be good at something, and I’m good at waiting tables, which is an incredibly complex and physically demanding job. I’m proud of that. I like the feeling of comradery you get from working with other people, that sort of backstage feeling you get from being part of the process of creating a meal for someone. So maybe I would stay on for a shift now and then, even if I had a million dollars. It might make a nice change from our trips to the rooftops of Barcelona.
These potatoes are so simple I feel almost foolish telling you about them. Except that they were so tasty! And they’re perfect for spring, which is finally making an appearance around here. I boiled some new potatoes for a few minutes, until they were just starting to soften, and then…I cut each one with an apple corer! Just a little bit, not all the way through–about three-quarters of the way down. This made them pretty, with a round central portion and petals on the side, and then I drizzled olive oil and herbs on them, and then I roasted them till they were nicely cripsy. And that was that! I used dry sage, because nothing is growing in my garden yet, but as the season progresses, I’ll try this again with fresh herbs – rosemary, tarragon, basil, thyme. The possibilities are endless!
Here’s Hotter Scorcher by Sweet Confusion, in honor of the warmth of the day, and because I think it’s the sweetest song!
A quantity of tiny new potatoes, scrubbed. 4 or 5 per person should do it.
a few tablespoons of olive oil – enough to lightly coat the potatoes
a mix of herbs that you like, chopped quite fine
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425.
Drop the potatoes in a pot of boiling water, and leave them for about 5 minutes. You want them to still be quite firm. Drain, let cool to the point that you can handle them. If you have an apple corer, press down on each potato, cutting about 3/4 of the way through. If you don’t, cut 4 or 5 slices around each potato with a sharp knife, leaving everything attached at the bottom like petals.
Combine the olive oil and herbs, and drizzle this mixture over the potatoes, letting it seep into the cuts you’ve made.
Roast for 30 to 35 mintues, until everything is browned and crispy. Shake the pan from time to time so that they potatoes don’t stick.
Waitressing was my vacation job of choice in all my university vacations. I’d go back to my parents’ house in Cornwall and work in a local restaurant. The food was pretty good, the owners were fun and the money wasn’t bad either. Cornwall being a holiday area, my vacations coincided with them needing extra staff and it suited us all. If I didn’t have bad back problems, I still wouldn’t mind doing it now and again.
OMG you reeled me in hook, line and sinker 🙂
Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone from Virgin Media
So pretty! My choice of herb would rosemary.
I had to make myself not use rosemary, because I love it so much I use it every single time, in everything I make!! Potatoes and rosemary are so mother-flipping perfect together!!
I do a similar thing, but instead of using the apple corer, I use a potato masher – parboil some potatoes, then put them on an oven tray, and squish them with the potato masher – add olive oil, herbs or spices of your choice – cumin or fennel seeds are great, and some pepper, and cook for about 20 minutes in a VERY hot oven. Mmm.
Ooh, that sounds good, and much easier than fussing around with an apple corer. I’ll have to try that.