Susieboldt's Blog

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My Adventure With Greek Cheese

I once worked for a restaurant/reception hall. You couldn’t really call this place either of those two things, but for this blog post, that’s what I’m sticking with.

It was my job to make this reception hall look fancy for the bride, groom, and their guests. I would polish every single utensil with a water and vinegar solution. I would set up the decorations and lay out the table clothes. I would vacuum and dust. And I loved it! It was a great gig…except for my lunches.

You see, I worked for Greek people, and Greek people love their food. During lunch the chefs would round up all the employees together and make us try their latest food creations. Afterwards we would give our opinions and decide whether or not it was good enough to make it onto their menu.

I’m not one of those types of people who can eat anything that’s placed in front of them. I am slightly picky. I sniff at new food, making sure that it smells appetizing. Then I examine the new food, and make sure it has no hair or finger nails in it. Then I take a small bite of the new food. If it’s something that I can handle, I take another bite, and so on and so forth until I’ve had my fill.

Unfortunately, during these lunches we weren’t allowed to be picky. Picky got you fired. So I ate everything that was put in front of me. I ate new and interesting salads, weird spicy mashed potatoes, fish creations of all kinds, and unidentifiable meats that to this day I have no idea what they were. I never complained, sniffed, poked, or examined the food. I ate like any normal non-picky person would eat, with no regrets.

One day I was called away from my duties of polishing silverware to taste-test a new menu option in the kitchen. It wasn’t lunch, nor was I hungry. But, I joined the rest of the employees in the kitchen, because if I hadn’t I would have been fired. On this particular day, the chef was the owner, and he had made something that smelled bad. Now when I say the word “bad”, I mean bad, in the worst possible sense. I walked into that kitchen with trepidation. Anything that smelled that bad was clearly not worth eating. I entered the semi-circle of employees standing around the chef and he handed us all a skewer with a whitish blob impaled on the top. I held it at arm’s length and then winced and gagged a little. The chef hadn’t noticed.

The chef then explained what it was that we were eating. It was cheese. Fried cheese. Fried Greek cheese. It sounds okay, right? NO! WRONG! Even before I got the blob to my mouth I had gagged five times. I contemplated choosing between the options of eating this cheese, and possibly dying, or worse, throwing up in front of the chef! Or getting fired. It seemed both options were leading to the same thing anyway.

I watched as the rest of the Greek employees ate their cheese with smiles and satisfying looks on their faces. I did the unthinkable. I put the cheese in my mouth and prayed to God. Please God don’t let me throw up. Please don’t let me throw up. I’ll pray more if you allow me not to throw up!

I threw up.

Thankfully though, I managed to hold it in just long enough to run to the bathroom. I did not throw up in the kitchen in front of the chef. I remember that just before running out of the kitchen I gave the chef a nod of approval and a closed-mouth smile. Had I opened my mouth to utter any syllables, I would have thrown up right there and then.

Two weeks later I was fired. Apparently throwing up in the bathroom was just as bad as throwing up in the kitchen.

I stay away from all Greek cheeses now. Yes, even Feta. There are days when I still smell that awful aroma of that horrid whitish blob. It’s embedded itself in my memory and sometimes comes back to haunt me. There is no escaping it.

Be afraid of whitish blobs stuck on skewers. Be very afraid.


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October 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments