Recently, I bought some chicken thighs from the nearby butcher. When I was getting them ready for marination, I realised they were whole thighs instead of the smaller pieces that they normally sell in Coles or Woolworths. I thought it would be a shame to slice them into smaller pieces for meals during the week so I decided to make "chicken chops."
I can't say I'm really good at this but this isn't rocket science and I have done it long ago, when we ran that amateurish "western food" stall in a secondary school. Though we weren't "world class" or even "hawker class", we tried our best to provide students of the school the best value for money meals we could. It was tough and we didn't have a fantastic first year but revenue increased steadily year by year. By the 8th year, we were easily the stall with the highest revenue in the canteen. Still, I wouldn't call ourselves "world class" or "hawker class." I don't think we were that good but we are proud to gain acceptance of our cliente. Outgoing students were overheard telling freshmen which stall they would highly recommend.
Most of the work was done by my mother. By now, she is too old for this tough work. Surprisingly, I still remember most of the basics despite only standing in once or twice operationally when Mum was sick. It was a daunting experience to be awaken by my frail-looking mother at 5am in the morning to be told I was the boss for that day. So I skipped lessons in university to go to war. I would have skipped lessons to play computer games at home anyway.... so how could I not help out if I could. My mother's revenue was the family's revenue.
Auntie (our helper) gave me cues all day. How much of stuff I needed to cook and when. My focus on getting food fully-cooked than be productive. A dent in our reputation would have cost more than lost revenue for that day. When I am fully concentrated in work, I am a wonderful multi-tasking machine. My brain can process a lot of information at the same time and my body (then at least) could perform and keep up. However, when I am in this zone, I hate to talk or have anyone breaking my chain of thoughts. Therefore, I do not work well with bosses who micro manage. I will quit a job faster than a bean sprouts should I encounter such a boss. I thrive in environments where the hierarchy is flat and everyone is working as a team. It was a rare occasion working in a kitchen without someone barking orders.
|No greens because I totally ran out. If you are wondering|
that was chickpea curry
The day turned out okay. Thankfully, I didn't break the lowest revenue record. The day's takings was among the higher side. NS didn't make me grow up. What I experienced that day did. All along I knew it wasn't easy for Mum to bring us up all those decades. None of the jobs she did was fulfilling. None of those were cushy, comfortable jobs too. However, she had done that for decades, so that we didn't have to.
After that day, I went down to the stall to help out whenever I could. I washed plates. I found that after you take on a plate washing job, (those without a commercial dish washing machine) you will never be scared to get your hands dirty again. It formed the basis behind my willingness to take on jobs that I would never had considered in my life, jobs that started my life in Perth. After taking on those jobs, working on flooring, paving, painting, insect screen replacement and other whatnots around the house became a formality.
That day when I had to whip up chicken chops in a humble little stall changed my life forever.