monday night special


I know part of the reason I like to cook is so people will tell me how good the food is. I come by it honest. One of my most enduring memories of dinner time as a kid was my mom biting into the food she had prepared for us and saying, “Isn’t this good?”

It was — as we were all happy to say so.

Last night was the first time I worked the dinner shift by myself. Mondays are notoriously slow in the restaurant business and Mondays at the Red Lion Inn mean only the pub is open, so we don’t need a full staff. Alfonso came in to wash dishes; Chris and Elaine were the bartender and server, respectively. Mondays are also our chef’s day off. I worked lunch and dinner and had the kitchen all to myself, which meant it was my job to come up with the dinner special, which is a challenge because Mondays are the days when our supplies are at their lowest. After perusing the dry storage area and the walk in refrigerator, I created Coconut and Pecan Crusted Fried Chicken. I served it with bleu cheese mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach, and a ginger-coconut rum beurre blanc garnished with a slice of grilled pineapple.

Since I was making it up, I made a plate for the staff to try during the late afternoon. Part of my logic is if I let them try the special they will sell it better. Part of it is, as I said, I just like to hear them say they like the food.

The night was slow, so I only got to make the dish once. Elaine went and got Chris so he could see the plate before it went out. I had to keep myself from going out to the table and watching the customer eat her dinner. Elaine was kind enough to come back and tell me the woman was making yummy noises.

I smiled and said, “It’s good, isn’t it?”



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