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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

OH LAWD chapter 34

Crepes courtesy
The next day, after the big dinner the officers wanted to know why I wasn't there to fix their meal.

I wasn't allowed to explain because they didn't want to hear some lame excuse.

I took it in stride for it was as one Sergeant told me, "If you want to be treated fair, then don't join the Army."  

During the following week I received new orders stating I was to report to the Culinary Specialist at the Pentagon.

As it turned out, the Colonel had me transferred, so I could be one of the officer's cooks, and his wife had it in the back of her mind to have me available for her special events.

I was assigned to one of the several cafeterias, and was told I would serve on the breakfast shift.

There were a lot of cooks all over the place, for there were hundreds of people to serve.
They told me they would start me with something simple.

I was to make crepes if I knew how, and if not they would teach me.

“What kind did they want me to make?” I asked.  His reply was, “Can you make more than one?”  I answered, “Yes; I can make at least fifty kinds if we have the ingredients.”

As he looked at me with some disdain, and said, “Since we serve the low level people working here, one kind will do!”

I thought, “Uh ho, I think I shouldn't have said that, and I will watch it from now on.”
Anyhow they stuck me down on the end counter with a small stove out of everyone's way.  

It took me awhile to find everything I needed, and they were not prepared to make crepes worth eating.

I did the best I could using powered sugar to dust the crepes, and I set out some butter and syrup for a topping.

There were a few takers, but a lot were left over.  

The guys had some fun at my expense saying, “It looks like the hogs are going to have some gourmet food today.”  

That afternoon I went and bought me some crepe pans for those pans they had were no good for thin crepes. I also went through the food storage and found virtually everything I needed, and the next day I was ready to be Chez Robert'.

I pulled the basic recipe out of my mind, and set out my first tray with several kinds of fillings in them. The cooks tried them, and ate almost all of them before I had time to make the next one.

This morning there wasn't any of them left by the time the lunch crew took over. The Colonel that had sent me here looked me up, and was surprised to see what they had me doing.  

He tried a couple of crepes along with some eggs, and said he was going to get me transferred to where the top officers ate.

I said, “Thank you sir, I think,” for it struck me that they might be difficult to please.

Some of the cooks were standing near by and heard what the Colonel said to me, and they seemed to be stunned by what he said.
They couldn't figure out how he could decide to upgrade me to a genuine chef's position, after eating a couple of crepes.

I never let on that I had cooked for the colonel's wife before, and she was the reason I was here.  
I decided because of their smart remark, "The hogs are going to have some gourmet food tonight," they didn't deserve an explanation.
The next day I was sent to the Galley where the food for the Upper Brass was prepared, and as expected I got pretty much the same treatment as when I first got here.

I thought to myself, "Oh well, here we go again." They (the cooks) reminded me of when I arrived in New York and the chefs would scarcely speak to me as if I was below them.
I wasn't going to let this bunch give me that same treatment.

Remembering Noonan’s advice to speak and act as “an equal” to the other cooks, I decided to act accordingly.

At this point we were all in the service so I said, “Colonel Ross said to report to the person in charge, and to review the menu for any changes I felt needed to be made in it.”

Most of them had never heard of Ross and the one or two who had met him knew he was all business. They were so taken back by my words spoken with authority that they didn't question it, and immediately gave me a menu.

I suppose for some it was a gourmet's delight, but to me it was just plain food.  I told the Sergeant in charge I would provide him with a new menu after reviewing the allotted food supplies.

After which I would educate them on how to prepare the new dishes.

From that time on they looked to me for their instructions, and I was the top man in charge.

Oh Lawd!       

To be Continued 


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