Why I Asked About Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Long-term readers may already realize that I broke my ankle before Thanksgiving, and broke it pretty bad at that. It took two surgeries, two stainless steel plates, and nineteen pins to piece me back together. I’m still not walking smoothly without a cane. It’s not a situation that lends itself to cooking full-time. I will no longer be working in a commercial kitchen, and thus will no longer be surrounded by food all day. In short, I will have to start carrying my lunch to work.

All told, the situation could be much worse than it is. For starters, the restaurant where I’ve worked for the past two years offers a comprehensive health plan to its full-time employees. One of the unfortunate truths of the restaurant industry is that health insurance is a fairly uncommon benefit outside of hotels and unionized shops. Average profit margins for restaurants are in the range of 2%. When costs are that tight, many employers don’t see fit to pay for benefits despite the fact that their profits come only through the labors of their employees. Fortunately, my (former) employer sees things differently.

Moreover, I’ve got a professional background beyond my culinary skills. Had I entered culinary school straight out of high school, my prospects would be unfortunately dim right now. That’s one reason why I encourage anyone who is considering culinary school to make it their second degree, or at minimum to use it as the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. While the commercial kitchen can be an exciting (and demanding) environment that helps you to develop a steady demeanor even under intense pressure, should you wish to or be forced to seek another career, it can be tough to convince employers of the importance of these skills unless you can back them up with outside education or experience.

Lastly, I’ve found a great job. I’m working for a local neighborhood non-profit and I’m excited about my new responsibilities. I’m really looking forward to having a more active presence in the community and executing projects that will be appreciated (I hope) by many more people than could fit into a very large restaurant.

All of this is not to say that I’ll be abandoning all things culinary. I’ll still be cooking lovely meals for my even lovelier wife. I’ll still be maintaining this page, of course. I’ll have more time to give knife skills training sessions (Pittsburghers—email me if you’re interested; details will follow) as part of my goal to increase cutlery proficiency at large. And I’ll be available for personal chef services and catering of private parties on a limited basis. Really, I’m looking forward to the prospect of having a somewhat more rounded life than the strictures of the kitchen permit.

So, many thanks for your peanut butter sandwich recommendations. I doubt I’ll try all of them (for instance, if I have leftover meatloaf, I’ll be far more apt to mash it up with sour cream than with peanut butter); others I’m looking forward to (until my sister reminded me about picnics with our grandparents, I’d forgotten about dipping potato chips into Jiff at Stanley Park). I hope you’ll keep reading; though my job title has changed, my knowledge of and passion for food will continue on.

One Response to “Why I Asked About Peanut Butter Sandwiches”

  1. David Sucher Says:

    Slightly off-topic question about peanut butter.

    Does anyone know if Deaf Smith County Peanut Butter is available under another brand name? It was available in the seventies and as I remember was the best peanut butter I ever had. But I am told the manufacturer was bought out. (Arrow by Hain? I may have the story all wrong, however.)

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