“Lane died on a Friday night due to complications of lifestyle – which is to say, he was shot by an acquaintance in a squabble over twenty dollars’ worth of shitty brown horse. He wasn’t found until Saturday morning; no one thought to call the restaurant to let us know that he wouldn’t be coming in to work that day. He was just considered AWOL – a no-call/no-show that left the line a man short going into the early-bird rush.”
This is how Jason Sheehan starts his autobiography Cooking Dirty which I’ve been reading instead of doing productive things, like digging through the pile of crap on my desk that’s been growing and slowly moving into milk crates and onto the floor like some kind of paper slime mold for the last month and a half.
Sheehan writes from the perspective of the line cooks in the kinds of restaurants we all eat at everyday; in other words, this is not the story of the culinary school grad, or the old- school European chef who, as the second son, had no chance for university, and was sent off at the age of 13 to apprentice in whatever kitchen his parents could find for him, and then went on to achieve four Michelin stars on his fortieth birthday.
I am both loving and hating this book; loving it because it is extremely funny, even at it’s darkest, and accurate in the portrayal of working in restaurants like…well, like mine. Hating it because I have harbored this fantasy of writing a book like this at some point and now I’m thinking does the world really need another of these books, especially since this one and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential were written by guys who are better writers, better cooks and have far better stories than what I’ve got so far.
I mean, what the hell, those guys can write about their being young cooks with heroin and crystal meth addictions and all I’ve got is a mild bout of alcoholism and a twice-a-year pot habit.
Ah well, best to forget about that book deal, jetting around the country to book signings and to sit on panels beside my heroes as we’re pelted with questions from foodies about how much of an impact terroir really has on escargot, and finally getting a house that wasn’t towed to it’s current location before being screwed together, and start in on this desk, ‘cause it ain’t gonna clean itself.
Sure would be cool though...yeah.
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