Only when you work in a kitchen do you win a giant ball of mozzarella at the holiday raffle.
The raffle, where I won this gorgeous ball of cheese, took place in time set-aside during work hours to reward kitchen staff for their hard work at this busy time of year. It also coincided with an organized Secret Santa, for which I’d purchased a set of white t-shirts that a coworker has requested for wearing under his whites, and I received a replacement miniature off-set spatula (I’d lost mine to the dish room at Corporate the Giant), a bowl scrape (Again, the one I came with was eaten by the dish cart,) and a new whisk (My current “whisk,” could be more appropriately described as “dilapidated wires looped upon a stick.”)
That evening, I came home to find several of my roommates playing cards around the kitchen table. “Guys! Look!” I pulled out The Ball from its festive, holiday pouch, holding it up high for all to see. “I won it at the raffle at work,” I exclaimed proudly with a grin.
A moment’s exchange passed silently between my roommates. Being sympathetic souls, they mustered enough energy to react with a supportive, ”Wow! Mozzarella!” Although it’s clear they didn’t share my passion for free cheese (as actors and performers, they seem to live mostly on eggs, cottage cheese, spray butter and rice cakes), I like to believe that they found my enthusiasm endearing, if not also a bit peculiar.
With the coming of the New Year and the sparkles of Christmas all around, I start to reflect on the past year. This year I feel particularly lucky (and not just because of the mozzarella). A year ago at this time, I’d not yet even embarked on my culinary school adventure, I didn’t know about pate a choux, I’d never dreamed of working in a kitchen as large as Corporate the Giant’s and I probably wouldn’t have gotten very excited about being given a ball of cheese for Christmas. I’ve come a long way.
I am so happy my life made the turns down the roads that it did, or perhaps in the spirit of Doc Brown I might even say, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” Over the past year I’ve made a couple big jumps, several big falls, and, tomorrow, I plan to use some puff pastry I have in the freezer, cover it with some tomato sauce, slice up my newly acquired cheese to create myself a little Christmas snack. Merry Christmas everyone!