“Hello! Um. This is Claire. Your, um, I’m sorry, your…partner? maybe? told me to call this number. I’m friends with Jen! Um, I’m not sure how to pronounce her last name? Um…”
“I’m sorry,” Said a kind voice at the other end of the line, “I think there’s something wrong with my phone, you sound like an incoherent fool.”
“No, no, that’s me!”
“And how can I help you?”
“Well, I’m not sure, I was told to call you by two different people, so I did. I, um, made some food for Jen, once and she said it was ‘yummy’ and she said you were opening a restaurant, and I’ve never cooked in a restaurant, but I’ve worked in lots of restaurants, and I’m not sure what you’re looking for…”
“Did you want to be a line cook?”
“God, no, I’ve seen what that job does to people! They go in pleasant enough, but they emerge twisted and bitter, likely to lose their tempers at the slightest…”
“Did you want to wait tables?”
“Well, I’m a waitress now, and after four years in the same place I’ve got things pretty much exactly as I like them…I’ve trained all the nice people to request that I wait on them…”
“I’m sorry, what exactly do you want?”
“Well, I want to write for the Guardian UK, but they won’t let me. I want to be the next Andre Bazin, you know? And I really really wish that somebody would pay me to write novels and make movies, but obviously that’s not going to happen. I’ve always wanted to be referred to as ‘my esteemed colleague,’ so that would be a good thing. It would be nice if somebody paid me to make meals and write about it on my blog. Oh yeah, I have a food blog, which is pretty exciting, because I’m fairly sure I’m the only person in the country that thought of that bright idea….”
“Did you want to talk to our executive chef and arrange a time to meet?”
“Talk to another human being on the phone?!? I’m sure you didn’t notice, but I’m not at my sharpest on the phone. I’m not so good at telephone conversations, and I’m fairly certain talking to another person at this point would do me in.”
“Why don’t you come in tomorrow when we’re all here.”
Nailed it! I hope you were taking notes, kids, because that is how you call somebody up to ask for a job! After all of my awkward rambling, I actually have an interview today, which is sort of hopeful, because the woman I spoke to must be the kindest, most patient person on the planet. I’m nervous! I was up all night being nervous! Mostly because I don’t have any idea what I want to do, but I can imagine dire complications with any scenario I come up with! Oh yes, the full worry-Claire treatment. I’m excited to learn about a new restaurant, though. It’s always nice to meet new people. I suppose the worst that can happen is that I waste a little bit of their time.
Everything I’m cooking lately seems to have tamari and honey in it! I must be addressing some sort of tamari-honey deficiency. Actually, it’s a magic combination that makes my boys eat vegetables, and I’ve been wielding it a lot lately. This dish is no exception. The potatoes are soft and comforting, the sprouts bright and crispy, and everything was quite nice together. I added some red pepper flakes for heat, some balsamic for acid, and of course we have honey for sweet and tamari for…is that umami? I’m never quite sure. This was a very simple dish, and the boys did like it.
Here’s The Clash with Career Opportunities. I have to say, I’ve always thought that making tea for the BBC doesn’t sound like such a bad job.
3 largish potatoes, scrubbed
2 T olive oil
1 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 T tamari
1 T honey
2 T butter
1 t balsamic
salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
Boil the potatoes in a pot of salted water until they’re soft but firm. You want to easily be able to stick a knife in them, but you don’t want them to fall apart when you do it. Twenty minutes, maybe, depending on the size. Drain. When they’re cool enough to handle, peel them and roughly chop them.
Meanwhile warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pepper flakes and then the brussels sprouts. Cook for about five minutes, till they start to brown and soften. Add the tamari and honey and a few spoonfuls of water, and cook until the sprouts are bright and glazed. Add the potatoes. Stir and fry until they start to brown. When the pan starts to get dry and burnt, add the butter and scrape the bottom of the pan, mixing the crispiness into the potatoes. Continue cooking until the sprouts are tender-firm, and the potatoes are crispy-soft. You may need to add a bit of butter and/or water to keep everything from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Stir in the butter, season with salt and pepper, and serve.