A Potato Day

30 Sep

Day two of work and I was still pretty motivated and eager to work hard and do well.  I comiserated with my coworkers on the plan for the day and got to work.  I was tasked with making au gratin potatoes.  I was making the sauce from scratch and just needed to rehydrate the potato slices.  It seems pretty simple and easy, right?  Well, it was far from easy and so far from a good day.  This day is now known by my peers and myself as having ‘a potato day.’  It’s when EVERYTHING goes wrong and no matter how hard you try, you can’t make things better. 

I started by following the directions I was given, but first overcooked the dried potato slices.  The positive vibe continued by making the cheese sauce for the potatoes and within minutes, I started scortching the milk (powdered milk mind you that I had NEVER worked with in my entire life!).  I tried to save things every way I could, but continued to cook the charred milk the bottom of the tilt skillet (a piece of equipment that is a big square saute pan at waist height).  Now the milk was starting to go from brown cooked milk to black burned milk.  I was able to save the sauce (most of it) and toss that with the overcooked potatoes.  This dish was going to be STELAR!  All the pieces were falling right into place.  I panned up the final product, baked it appropriately (I guess this was the one good thing that happened, I could bake it right) and it was done.  I reviewed the bottom of the tilt skillet and just shook my head!  Words couldn’t express how I felt when I saw how caked on and charred the  bottom was.  I knew this would be a huge undertaking to clean this piece of equipment. 

Since it was time for family meal, I was able to take a breath and relax from my day.  I had a nice dinner (with jello and a few other sides) and tried to clear my mind of the earlier events of my day.  I did the best I could to be positive and motivated to clean the permanently burned tilt skillet, but it eventually got to me.  It took me one hour to soap, scrape, scrub, and scour this wonderful piece of equipment that I tortured slowly today.  I had worked out in the morning before work and focused on upper body.  I guess that was just a warm up for my afternoon plans of cleaning the tilt skillet. 

The highlight of the day was how nice everyone was about my ‘au roten potato’ day.  People were offering to help (rather than laugh hysterically), asking if I need to take a time out, and one person even suggested that I leave for the remainder of my shift! 

I made it through day two of work determined that this was a learning experience.  I dubbed this day as the single worst day in my entire culinary history and decided that I would never have a day like this again.  I reviewed and reflected my actions and decided that tomorrow is another day and that it would be better!

I went to bed pretty early after being physically, emotionally (I beat myself up way too much), and mentally exhausted.  I did sleep pretty well!

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One Response to “A Potato Day”

  1. Mike September 30, 2008 at 5:31 pm #

    I accept and will officially ban Au Gratin from ROP menu’s this fall.I have a story or two of my own banned evil foods. Ever try making brown roux for Gumbo to feed hundreds? I burnt so much flour befor finally getting it right. I almost did’nt get the Gumbo done in time. The Gumbo was for the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and I was expecting to sell at least 1000 portions. luckily I pulled it off but it was a near disaster. Nothing smells worse then burnt flour.

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