frites & fries
     

“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.” - Kafka on the Shore

A few weeks ago, a friend ordered a baked mac and cheese side dish for dinner. I love[d] a good mac and cheese but for some reason, my mouth went dry…I felt really nauseous, and I also felt weirdly sad and angry. It’s been almost a year since I’ve had this dish so maybe it was because of aged cheddar’s foot-like odor? The gassy scent of truffle oil? I had this gut feeling that I wasn’t emotional because the dish was badly cooked, it was definitely something I couldn’t put my finger on.

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Someone wrote “15 Reasons NOT to Date a Bartender" as a response to an eHarmony article on why you should. You know what? No one has written "15 Reasons NOT to Date a Chef". So here is "15 Reasons Not to Date a Chef" (mostly copied from the original article with bolded changes):

  1. You will not see them. When you do they will look like they are a) hungover and b) exhausted. This is because they are a) hungover and b) exhausted.
  2. Whenever you visit a restaurant together, no matter how stunning you look, their first glance will always be at the pass. If the restaurant has poor cooks and expeditors, they will be depressed and listless for the rest of your evening.
  3. Unless you are willing to learn something about cooking, they will resent you.
  4. [I’ve got nothing for this one.]
  5. Other women (or men) will not hit on them because they will always smell like meat and sweat.
  6. On a sunny day, when you wish to frolic in the park, they will be hidden in a sweaty pit of duvet moaning in pain at the sunshine creeping through the window like the vampires of old.
  7. Face facts, your mother is not going to be pleased.
  8. Every vacation you take together…wait, what vacation?
  9. You will have at least a few conversations a week about how crazy some of the food requests are. Then you will eat out and you will be terrified to make special changes to your orders because you don’t want to make the chef angry. [Most chefs can be very accommodating to vegans and vegetarians though!]
  10. In fashion, both on shift and off, they will lean toward wearing more porter/dishwasher jackets than chef coats because chef coats are a bitch to clean and laundry isn’t done often enough.
  11. Their natural musk will be the faintly perceptible smell of pork.
  12. Years of inbuilt cynicism from dealing with the general public means they will believe in no faith, creed or deity but will fly into an uncontrolled state of rapture at the mention of the name of [insert name of a Food Network personality.]
  13. Their sexual performance will be limited by a bad back caused by years of picking up heavy objects with poor lifting technique. [I can’t address this one. My mother-in-law may be reading this.]
  14. Your chances of getting on the property ladder are slim, as the pay is so bad it will take you approximately 1,253 years to get a down-payment together.
  15. They will judge all your friends harshly when they order a house salad.

One of the really atypical things about our relationship (chef + food nerd) are the arguments we have. Our most popular arguments are about sleep deprivation which includes arguments about:

  • Falling asleep in his office (at the restaurant)
  • Falling asleep with a burrito on the living room couch
  • Falling asleep with an open bottle of beer on the living room couch
  • Falling asleep with a burger (anywhere)

I’m definitely thankful that we don’t argue over things like putting toilet seat down or the garbage but the bad thing is, is that sleep deprivation is serious stuff. Yeah, I’m guilty of this sometimes too but the difference between Chef and I is that even on his days off, he tried to cram as many things he wants/needs to do in the day that ultimately, he can be just as sleep deprived on his days off.

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I don’t (really) use my graduate degree anymore but as someone who did a lot of extensive research in cognition, I do feel fairly confident in stating that sleep deprivation impairs cognitive abilities (auditory/attention, decision making, visual attention, emotional responsiveness…the list goes on), and in the long term, physical health. So yeah, I am very concerned for him. What now?

It’s been a few months since I’ve written anything that falls in the “relationship” category. A lot has been happening! This week, Chef started a new exec chef position…and he’s trying to change the menus over quickly too. As for me, I’m doing the same old things but trying to re-start the things that had made me positive and relaxed. I already found a vinyasa studio I love (headstands!), and I think I want to start a new food hobby too (brewing maybe?).

Chef and I have been together through a handful of restaurants including two openings so I know what to expect when he transitions between the old and new restaurants. We can read each other pretty well because of these experiences. The start of a new restaurant is usually a pretty positive for us even though it is stressful. To me, it signals change and a new beginning — he’s always excited and optimistic which makes me happy.

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