I’ve been programming computers since using punch cards in high school from 1977 to 1979. I also worked on avionics and precision measuring equipment in the U.S. Navy, built robotics for R&D testing purposes in the automotive industry, developed web-based software for manufacturing and inventory control, completed technical writing for NAVAIR, and both written, and performed technical reviews of, computer programming text books for Wrox Press.
But throughout all of the technical work, I’ve also accomplished plenty of restaurant work, from cooking on lines in long-term summer camps, to fast food and fast casual restaurants, to being a Kitchen Manager at a 50-year-old restaurant in an amusement park. Menu creation and artwork, customized monthly inventories, and restaurant web site design and maintenance has been a large of part of this.
My writing skills run from conversational work for casual learning and blog posts, to food writing for both home cooks and line cooks, through recipe development and testing using variations on style guides, to procedural development for industrial and heavy technical use such as in precision calibration, and automotive and aviation industries. And I just happen to be OCD enough to be able to manually create detailed multi-level book indexes as they should be created. (Bad book indexes are so annoying… )
I’m seriously interested in where food comes from, where recipes come from, what their histories are, where the people who created those recipes came from, and if there’s even a backstory to that.
When it comes to cooking, I’m a diner/pub cook. I’m not a Chef. People have called me that, but it’s untrue. Breakfast dishes are a specialty, especially eggs, omelets, pancakes, and French toast. Professionally, I’ll willingly do breakfast buffet for groups, maybe with an omelet station for special orders. To me, that kind of work is downright fun. I’ve run hot dog stands, hamburger and pizza joints (some with pizza dough from scratch), along with family restaurants with a pub feel. Comfort food, family favorites, and deep fryers and fry pots are right up my alley. And fryer boil-outs and cleaning? Just give me the time and tools, and I’ll get them done.
I’ve always told my kids “You can’t say you won’t like a food until you try it, actually put it in your mouth and eat it.” There’s nothing elitist about that. It’s simply about respecting the food, respecting the person it came from, and respecting the included culture and history. Too often, rejecting a food will result in insulting the person and culture it came from, especially in countries other than the U.S. But even if it came from a relative, a good friend, or a street food vendor, you need to respect them and what they’ve given you just the same.
When it comes to food, that’s who I am. I only wish to share that with others.
Luna Pier, Michigan