Well, our classroom hours are over. It's on to the restaurant, which is as close to a rite of passage as you get in culinary school.
Our group was scheduled to spend the first few weeks in the kitchen. I felt ready to face the challenge. After all, I learned how to cook and I was picking up the jargon. "86" (as in "we're out of" the fish, for example). "Back of the house" (the kitchen, as opposed to the "front of the house" where the servers, bussers, wine steward and host work). "On the line" (working one of the food stations).
The first day was spent reviewing kitchen rules (no cell phones topped the list), basic cooking techniques for proteins and starches, and discussing the importance of teamwork. You know, stuff like you're only as good as the weakest cook (so step in and help) and there's no I in team.
After a review of the next day's menu, the chef instructor ended with a few words about the importance of self-discipline and taking care of our bodies. Shower regularly. Drink enough water. Get sleep. Change your socks if you want to feel revitalized. Try to avoid baboon ass, especially now when we are heading into hot weather. Huh?
Apparently, Baboon ass - also known as swamp ass -- is a fairly common condition that results from excessive sweat and moisture build-up around the buttocks. Friction plays some part in there too. Supposedly, it's extremely uncomfortable and can quickly lead to an annoying rash with a foul odor.
No worries, though. One of the students had a bad case and shared the cure his doctor recommended: Vagasil. Another offered a preventive measure: panty hose.
It's great to learn a little something-something every day.
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