Monthly Archive: September 2007

Kitchen Nightmares

So. We watched the first episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares the other night. It was good, and so cool to see him in another format. If anything, the episode length was too short really to show enough of what happened, but I supposed better to keep it from getting bogged down.

The chef reminded me way too much of my friend Adam as he looks now.

I was pleased to see they found a sore need, in this case kitchen equipment, and installed it for the participating restaurant. I was also pleased to see that they cover more than food and management, and seem to help jump start future marketing. Then again, deciding on a menu, look, approach, price and quality level is all marketing, too.

Just as this is a show more about management and business than about food. If you were expecting a foodie show, you were probably disappointed.

There had to be some behind the scenes heart-changing activity we didn’t see on screen. Peter was an absolute mess, and his turnaround at the end seemed awfully abrupt. He was THE problem in a nutshell. Managerially, most of the rest was a morale problem, and he was the main source.

You get a morale situation like that, you get employees simmering with anger all the time, still working for you only out of inertia. Then nobody cares if they do a good job, and it makes them feel even worse to not care and to do wrong. It’s a spiral that can take someone being about as blunt and earth-shattering as Ramsay coming in was.

I look forward to seeing more of them.

Chili and Being Boring

I made the best chili yet yesterday.

While my mother-in-law was here, I made the best refried beans yet.

The secret to both seems to have been unusually large quantities of fresh garlic, which surprised me.

I could go on at length about how I made this particular batch of chili, just as I could write something about each time, as all are different. Trouble is, and part – but only part – of the lack of posting has been the boring sameness of the overall diet. How many times can I write about cooking refried beans, chili, beef stew, roast chicken, and various taco, burrito or similar concoctions before it gets ridiculous? So I started spicing the beans earlier. So I added a tiny amount of real maple syrup. So I made it beefier than normal. So I was out of tomato paste and used ketchup only, as opposed to paste and ketchup or tomato soup and ketchup, plus some paprika mainly for color. So I used far less chili powder than normal, more black pepper, and some white pepper for the first time ever. It remains yet another batch of chili.

Part of it has been the hecticness of the new baby, having another person in the house, and pecking at tasks associated with closing down an old business and office, and organizing my home office and seeking new business or work before this can turn into a blog about pinching food pennies until they melt from the pressure-induced heat. Still, I can at least try to post some of the more generic content I’ve had in mind, like brand and store matters, and repost some old recipes or experiments. I shall try to keep on it better.

My mother in law enjoyed her stay, not having to cook much. On a cool day, I made a roast chicken by special request. That was good. We had chicken burritos, then had them again by special request before she left. We had plain old cheeseburgers a couple times. We had pasta. It all got raves. We also had some takeout, introducing her to the D’Angelos Number 9 sub, which is steak, cheese, pepper, onion and mushroom, and to Papa Ginos pizza. We always order a Rustic style meat combo and a large cheese in the traditional style, which feeds us at least two meals worth and satisfies everyone. We had pizza a second time by special request. Oh! I remember; I made barbecue shredded beef, which came out especially good. Another request. And another thing I don’t really need to write up over and over.

I also need to fix this blog. It needs a blogroll and such, and that needs to be on all the pages. The template this is based on is hard to modify, so it’ll be back to the drawing board. Getting all the blogs right is on my master list of stuff to do, and has more connection with making a living than is immediately obvious. People see them and it reflects on me if they look better. Looks impact traffic. Where there is search traffic to individual posts, cross-links to things like Deb’s shop and the business and our other blogs increases everything’s potential. More traffic on the blogs means ads are more likely someday. While I’m not a “do anything to boost the traffic and create a true blog empire” person, I’m not going to turn down money for blogging I’d do anyway.

Stay tuned. I’ll try to keep up better with posting, but there’s not likely to be a lot of experimenting. On the other hand, we will soon be getting into cooler season foods…