To Eschew the Devil I Knew, Pt. II
Updated: Sep 9, 2019
The question most begging an answer is also one of the most obvious: Why would I choose, to eschew the devil I knew? To be sure, this is not the question most begging an answer. If we're speaking in a global sense, that answer relates directly to your political, religious, and/or philosophical systems; but in this particular context, it seems one that needs addressing sooner, rather than later.
Although the opportunity presented itself quite unexpectedly, the question of doing so has long been on my mind; and, as I see it, at this point in time I can either blame the churros, or I can thank them.
For a bit of context, let me explain that my wife and I made a pretty spectacular food baby. A little content for consumption, to be deposited in your toilet within one to three days following ingestion and that timeline quite depending on the regularity of your bowel movements. To be more specific, we created some pretty fucking amazing gluten-free, vegan, mesquite flour churros. Served with an orange-spiked vegan chocolate ganache and all the rage at the new restaurant we'd just helped to open.
It is a fickle dough and cannot be made in large batches. It must be fried within hours after preparation, lest the churros themselves be found hollow. It is made with an extremely localized gluten-free flour blend comprised of only a few ingredients but, most important of all, the mesquite flour. Just as important to their preparation, is that the fried dough must then sit for quite some time, in order for the interior crumb to fully set: They simply cannot be eaten straight out of the fryer without coming across as raw (an oddity because they require no further cooking, but only a cooling to room temperature, in order not to come across as raw).
Despite all these problems and issues we've found that we can have huge success with this gluten-free flour blend when applied to other types of baking, as well: Thus were we able to create a very-close-to-the-real-thing chocolate cupcake that was also vegan and gluten-free. Very close to the real thing Looks and tastes and has a mouthfeel like a regular fuckin' cake, I swear.
So we've got something special with this flour blend. We've got a strongly positive customer reaction to the final product, as well. And we feel very secretive and possessive because we think this could somehow be our Post-It. Also because we have, and I have, worked quite diligently over the years to hone and perfect my baking recipes, which of course are not like savory recipes: You can't just add a little here and a little there. Once they're set, they're not open to too much change without causing drastic change in either process or product.
Due to what we might ultimately call a misunderstanding and miscommunication, thanks to a request for the churros recipe in our absence (we both had the day off) recently we found ourselves with final paychecks in hand and nothing to do on a Friday night.
As I said, the question of leaving the industry has long been on my mind. Often I have found myself wondering why I might put in so many hours each week, knowing that in the end it's going to end up in the toilet and knowing that, in the end, I'm not getting any kind of retirement plan out of it, I'm not going to end up with a pension. My feet hurt like hell, the temperatures are blazing hot, the risk for injury is a fair amount greater than many of the other jobs out there, and sure--I might get to yell and curse, and we might not care about tattoos or gauges or prior records or minor drug use or budding alcoholism;--
But I think of some of those shows, the ones about the street food workers who put so much time and dedication into their one little dish, their one little stall. The only way they can make it work is by working it themselves, day in and day out, never giving up and never letting the hard times get them down. But that's also all they get out of it: They'll be doing it for forty-five years after they've already gone through their twenties and thirties, and throughout their lifelong career they're likely to have enlisted if not practically enslaved their own families, too. Like I said, it's a thankless job. And it's literally neverending.
Quite a few people told us to just do something with a food truck. Although conversation never quite got so far as a real discussion with regard to how it might all break down, there have been some hints and nudges. People telling us they'll help out financially if that's something we want to do. I've often said I'd be quite content, operating a food stall at the county or state fairs, travelling the country and peddling a tiny, 3- to 5-item menu. But there are so many choices for food out there already. And there are only two kinds of restaurants, therefore there must only be two kinds of food truck or vendor; and if you believe all these shows, even still the answer seems obvious and blanketing when considering: What will there be to show for it, in the end, other than arthritic limbs, bent backs, broken knees, and your family possibly quite the same?
Nevertheless it would probably be easier. Seems like it would be, at this rate. There are so many scams when it comes to finding freelance work; depending on the site you might be using, if you can filter through the scams, apparently you have to really hustle and play the game, lest you get left in the dust by those who already have a track record (kinda like most jobs, when you think about it). Fortunate or not, I've never been one much for the easy road. I'm a fountain pen and pocket watch kind of guy. I hold steadfast to tradition even if once I gain an understanding thereof, it is that very understanding that "allows" me to eschew it, push it, and then choose whether or not to return to it based on what I've discovered. I've clung to these kitchens before: Clung to my own tradition.
Many of the best stories begin by showcasing some of the worst situations. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that we're in a terrible place right now, it is certainly a bit wonky in our particular bend of the space-time continuum.