One day I conquered one of my biggest fears, just like that. Poof, all gone. And that day was today. 2 weeks ago today I decided to stop screwing around and actually get some real restaurant experience. So I went in and trailed a chef. I did hardly anything. I plated some cheese, washed some dishes, and mostly watched him. Last Tuesday I made my second appearance. After plating more cheese/bread boards, working on knife skills (mincing garlic and the like), and hiding from regular customers, I was given food to eat and a mop to clean the floors with. Then I was told that the 3rd weekend in October he would be gone and it would be my debut as solo chef lady. Uhh shit! I started paying attention and then showed up on Wednesday night to try my hand cooking a thing or two off of that week’s menu.
That was really smart on my part because he was sick tonight. As in can’t work, crazy fever sick. So the owner sent him home and smiled at me. Double shit! I hadn’t even looked at the this week’s menu. Please God don’t let there be seafood. Shrimp and scallops with herbs in broth. Perfect. I hate cooking scallops they’re so easy to screw up. It was only the most expensive thing on his menu. Great.
Since people seemed to only be ordering cheese boards (it’s a wine bar with a tasting menu) I starting rummaging around the fridge. I found about 2 pounds of bacon starting to turn a little off color. So I decided to salvage it and cooked all of it. The problem with that idea was that it smelled like heaven and made people hungry. Then came 3 orders of pork tenderloin, an order of the damn scallops, and a beet/apple salad. To calm my nerves I ate bacon, a lot of bacon. It worked like a charm. I was so subdued from pork fat that I couldn’t be nervous.
The owner told me that even the malevolent French woman smiled for the first time in history. She did smirk beforehand “what iz zhere only one pan in zee kitchen?” Honestly I wasn’t that slow, but maybe I’ll hold off on some of the bacon in a few weeks when I go solo again. And also don’t the French like their meals served in courses and slowly? Perhaps Madame was an imposter. God, I feel really sick right now, but happy I rocked my first service.
My almost 4 year old has just started a different preschool. Recently she came home and announced, “McDonald’s has chicken with poop in it”. Followed by, “does McDonald’s chicken really have poop in it?” Her father and I simultaneously said, “probably” without thinking about it. Then I thought about it and felt frustrated. She never even knew that McDonald’s existed until last week. Sure, I think McDonald’s is complete crap on so many levels but it had always been a non-issue for our family because we don’t eat there.
This is where so many well meaning parents and educators go wrong while teaching little ones about food in my opinion. At her previous preschool they taught the children “growing food” and “junk food”. Sounds good right? Well it became confusing. They were required to eat their growing food before they could have their junk food. It was the rule. The problem I had with that was the teachers decided that her peanut butter and jelly sandwich was growing food and her applesauce was junk food. Applesauce is far more nutritious than jelly as far as I’m concerned, but I decided not to press it.
Then came all the questions, “is this junk food? is this….is this”. Finally I tried to put an end to it and said “there’s not really junk food but rather sometimes food.” Ice-cream makes it on the list as a sometimes food and strawberries can be an everyday food. Balanced eating is a much better approach than making foods bad. I far too often eat desserts not because I want it, but because I was taught to think of them as high calorie forms of naughtiness. And maybe it’s naughtiness that I need especially after 8 years of a deeply committed marriage and 4 years of striving to be a peaceful parent. But I wish I had been taught at an early age that release can come in the form of aggressive exercise or scheduling a massage. It’s dessert that’s my drug of choice and I must remind myself daily to think of it as a sometimes food.
McDonald’s is completely evil, no doubt. Bad Bad Bad. But that’s not the message I feel my kids should get because it only sparks interest. The last thing I want my daughter to eat when she’s depressed or worried is chicken with poop in it.
What if in the future a waiter were to see a nursing mother and offer her a stool instead of a blanket (to cover up) like Applebees is considering? Imagine a stack of nursing stools propped next to the stack of high chairs at your favorite eatery. If I have my way it will happen as soon as possible. Our country’s dismal breastfeeding rates will increase when attitudes change. Babies will become healthier making the world a happier place.
You can help! Email me at email@example.com
Tell Breeda Kahlo your experiences both positive and discriminatory and let’s make this vision a reality.
My time that is. When I came up with the idea of writing this blog last December I knew it was doomed from the start. Whenever an idea comes, the following thoughts are why it won’t work. But this was different. I knew it was a good idea. The problem is that parenting and eating well and dining out are all very broad subjects.
The original plan was to encourage parents and children to help me review restaurants. I still very much love the idea of cataloging the adventures that are had while eating with children. Their senses are sharper and therefore can be better at discerning flavors if given the chance. Plus they often drop things and crawl under table to retrieve. So they certainly see things from a much different perspective.
Then my life became centered around breastfeeding. I breastfed my first child successfully and it never occurred to me that problems would arise with my second. As soon as I retrieved my baby from the floor (that’ll be a whole other post someday) and breathed life into her, our new family of 4 crawled into bed and we welcomed her as she nursed for over an hour and a half. Perfection.
Then for the next 2 months after that, my little human and I couldn’t get it down. Literally. It was horrible and after much crying from both of us we finally learned how to work together. It’s one of the most intimate and sacred experiences to prepare food for another person. To actually make it with your body is even more so and much more emotional for both parties.
A good friend of mine gave me a tip for nursing in public. The idea was so brilliant I asked her if we should market it to the masses. She, being another lover of all things material, agreed that it might just pay our “mamas who lunch” bills someday. Not long after we started our humble planning and research, my friend since 6th grade calls me up to tell me she’s been fired for breastfeeding her child while at work (since this is a legal matter I cannot elaborate at this time). This has led to lots of anger and hours spent online researching laws and reading about families who have been discriminated against for how they feed their children. So many stories of restaurant discrimination have come up.
So what’s a girl to do? I am currently trying to get a better idea of what it is I should be doing with my energetic anger on behalf of my friend. One of my dreams would be to start a non-profit organization to promote breastfeeding friendliness in restaurants nationwide. Although she didn’t work in the food business, it’s what I’m most comfortable tackling, I suppose. So for now I, like many pubescent boys, am only thinking about breasts. And that’s where I’ve been since July.
“Plenty of highchairs but no changing table” says Becka (fellow breeder and friend). Hmm I don’t know how they do it in Thailand but in the USA we prefer a table to plop our babies on. Regardless, they make a mean pad thai. While pregnant with Violet I got one of the worst colds I’ve ever had. Dan went to MM‘s and got me some pad thai with chili. You have to request it but I swear by it as a cure. My temperature raised 2 degrees while eating it (I took my temperature before the first bite and then during the meal) and I think it helped kill off whatever was plaguing me.
The heartburn that followed was off the chart but it was worth it. In fact I would change a baby in my lap in the car to eat there. The above photo is from the Guadalupe location but I prefer Westgate because it’s more accessible and kid friendly. A word of caution regarding thai chilis…don’t eat with your hands. When we were cooking up such dishes in culinary school I noticed some of my chef-mates were wearing gloves. I laughed at them and taunted them for their wussiness but soon found out that the joke was on me. My fingertips began to burn as soon as my knife touched the skin of the pepper. I left class that day with blistered hands.
Do NOT feed this dish to children unless you want to introduce them to the concept of hellfire. You will probably end up in court soon thereafter.
2514 Guadalupe St (512) 472-8306
4515 Westgate Blvd. (512) 899-8525
I imagine this is the sort of place Rachael Ray would visit because it’s easy on the wallet. She would probably eat a bite of something and annoyingly close her eyes and say “mmmm” and then I would vow to never go there because I would be covered in my own vomit by the end of the show. Fortunately for my family and me this is a hypothetical situation and we did in fact eat there Monday for lunch.
After working up an appetite playing on the beach I realized that I needed fish tacos immediately. Mexican seafood is not something I generally crave so I was surprised by my belly’s inner dialogue. We drove up and down Seawall Blvd. in search of my request. Finally I saw the word fish tacos painted on a building and we parked. When we walked in I was sure we’d made a mistake. It looked like the kind of place that appeals to the gray-haired set. Sort of Luby’s-esque.
Our server (which is more PC, server or waitress?) was fabulous! She was above and beyond. I didn’t even see her put the bread on the table but when I looked up to give her my drink order it was there. The butter was just melted enough to spread easily. I knew the ultimate test would come when I would order the $7.95 fish tacos since it was one of the cheapest things on the menu. Dan ordered fried mahi-mahi fingers (daddy version of fish sticks) and his came with a bottomless salad. He was upfront and announced he wouldn’t eat it and would just pass it off to me. She then asked me what dressing I wanted while I squirmed in my seat sure we’d breached restaurant etiquette.
She recommended the house honey pecan dressing and for a good reason. It was freakin’ delicious. Even after I ordered off of the cheap side of the menu she offered us more bread. Camilla and I were fighting over pieces at one point. I tried to make the small piece appealing to her by calling it “baby bread”. Daniel chose a better entree than I did, but I happily ate almost all of mine. At one point the server asked me if I wanted more of the salad I shouldn’t have been eating. She offered to bring Camilla’s food out first and always appeared at the perfect time to refill a drink or take a plate. She even urged me to pack up Camilla’s leftovers for the car ride home.
You should definitely go to Casey’s because it rocks! Maybe you’ll get lucky enough to sit in Donna’s section. The only downside of our lunch experience was in the parking lot afterward. Camilla demanded that we only keep her sandwich and not the chips. I decided this was a battle definitely not worth fighting so I opened up the container and tossed the chips onto the pavement. 4000 seagulls instantly appeared from nowhere and crapped all over our car. It was very Alfred Hitchcock.
3828 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX, 409.762.9625