“Our Thyme is Cumin, So Peas be Patient”
During the outbreak of covid-19, something bad happened. Chef knives were being forced to be put down across the world. You could hear the silent fall of chef coats and aprons everywhere across the world. This was a sound that you could hear, but rather a feeling. This feeling isn't something that can be measured with comprehensible emotions. This travesty is one of the worst things to happen to our lifestyle ever. Most of us were slaves to perfect kitchen cleaning guidelines before this outbreak. Something that a good number of us would take pride in. Floors you could eat off of, stainless steel appliances you could see your reflection in, and your mise en place in the perfect order. These are things that we have grown to live by, and yet it isn't enough to help fight this scourge of fear. The virus itself isn't the worst part. It's very manageable. And the recovery from it is outstanding. Most people make full recovers. So why do we fear it then? What caused the mass panic? Many theories and ideas are out there. But I've found it better to not worry about them. I'm more focused on helping out my industry family. Because at the end of the day we are all we have. Do you think that those people that work in factories give a shit about us foodservice folk? Probably not. And that's what happens during a crisis, people forget to give a shit about others. Instead, they focus more on buying toilet paper so they can wipe their fat asses. I don't think I heard about one industry worker buying toilet paper. This proves that we are a different breed altogether. We know our priorities and what needs to be done.
Many of us are hit very hard with this dire economic illness. So hard in fact that some of us will lose everything with no idea of how we will ever get it back. All that hard work and dedication and sacrifice for what closed doors. With no help from the same government that asked us to bail them out because they stole money from people and openly boasted about it? That's fucked if you asked me. How does one trust someone like that? Where I come from if you aren't worth your salt, you get replaced, not bailed out. And stealing is something we take very seriously. People need a bailout, not corporations. Without people, you can't have corporations. How come each time something happens to our economy; the big corporations and rich people ask for handouts from us? Well, I feel it's time to stand up to them and say enough is enough. We don't do what we do to become rich. We do what we do because we have fallen in love with our way of life so much that it's become a passion. One of which you cannot put a price on. But people trying to capitalize off of the current shit-show think otherwise. Explain to me why toilet paper is a hot commodity now. It doesn't make sense. Let's say this was a more dire situation than it is, you're buying Charmin instead of creating self-sustainability. Talk about having your priorities straight. Maybe that's the difference in being paid hourly versus salary. The mindset shows. So, would that mean to make more money down the road, I have to pretend to lack common sense? Screw that. I'll stick with learning something new every day and being able to boil water without having to google it.
It's really sad how everyone in the world is creating a mass hysteria over this. If this were a worse situation how do you think we would fair? From the looks of it, not very good. I mean, take a look at what happened already. Life as we know it has come to a screeching halt. Many of us were barely surviving, and now even that seems bleak. But we forget that we food workers know how to survive through hard times. How many times have you been down on your luck, unsure of where your next meal was going to come from? And yet still you showed up to work and did whatever you had to do to keep yourself fed and food on the table for your family. While closing eateries and restaurants may have been a good call, people don't realize what it'll do to the economy once the virus hysteria has died down. This is where we need to come together for the greater good and help each other. Let's face it, the government and big corporations that we bailed out won't be of any help. We have to do this on our own. And we can do this on our own. Virus or not, one thing is certain, people have to eat. That means that there will always be the ability for jobs to be created. This we know. This line has always been fed to us right before we walk into a terrible job. But hey, a job is a job, it pays the bills. But now, with no income people are becoming desperate. Hell, some are still getting paid for not working through this. What does that tell you about our current economic state? That tells me that we have worried too much about what we make, and not enough about how we make it. By which I mean, corporations and the government doesn't give a shit about why you can't pay your rent, they only care about themselves. Walk up to any government worker and ask for $100 and see what they say. They will lose their minds and start listing off reasons why they shouldn't have to worry about your current bad luck. Now, turn the tables. Pretend that you walked up to a kitchen worker and asked the same thing. They wouldn't tell you they are broke, instead they will give you something. Because we know what it's like to be empty-handed. What I find funny the most here is that when in front of the public eye, public officials care so much about the public and say that they work for the greater good. Sadly, that couldn't be farther from the truth. How many lies do you think that they get away with? The answer is more than one. The fact of the matter is that we food industry workers still fight against stacked odds all the time. From insane numbers to a lack of sufficient tools to do the job. One thing that we are very good at is ingenuity. And that is what will save us from this bullshit pandemic.
The fear of life as we know it has halted life as we know it. This moment in time will go down in history as an economic crisis due to the greed of the rich. Just sit back and think about that for a moment. Think about what would happen if money didn't have any value. Now think about how fast those rich people would pay an insane amount of money, amounts that some of us will never obtain, to bail out other rich people or investments. But mention that restaurant workers need to be bailed out as well, and they come up with a million and one reasons as to how it has nothing to do with them. We are, for the most part, a humble group of assholes. People who no matter what they will do what they can to help each other. Each one of us becoming a fine example of what a human being should be. And that's what makes me proud to know some of you fine individuals. Just know that you're not alone and that we will all make it through this. But please, if you are sick, take some well -needed time off. Don't push yourself. Make sure you're drinking plenty of water. We need you at 100 percent when this starts the climb back up. We are going to need all of the strength we can get. So, if you're sick, be sick. Focus on getting better so that you can get back in the game. We are going to need you soon. As far as my busy people out there doing whatever they can to help aid our fellow cooks, I applaud you. Someone get those people a joint! You all are prime examples as to how we misfits need to keep our composure for the sake of making it through this. This isn't going to be done by the big corporations. It's going to be driven by the people. So, let's show them that we are not weak and will not be ignored. We are strong. We are wise. We are proud. We are the future. We are bruised. We are misfits. And you can't put a price on that. So, stand your ground, the end of the bullshit is coming. Help is coming. We got this. Remain vigilant.
So, what can you do while waiting for some kind of relief? Focus your extra time on helping others or some self-care. Read a book or watch a movie. Meditation is a huge success for finding some shred of inner peace during these times. Trust me, we will need inner peace to tackle what is coming next. Hearing the words " Shut it down, close the doors." was hard enough to swallow. And now we have no idea how we are going to make it until the end of this disaster. But I know this. No matter what, we will make it. Time and time again, we are tested. And we haven't given up yet. So why start now? I'm hoping that this will open the eyes of all us kitchen workers and show you how much we mean to the outside world. Despite what the rest of the world may say, we must know our true value. A value that cannot be measured by a monetary amount, yet one is generally set for us as we slave away for stuck up assholes and their self-entitled brats. Tell me, do you think that any of those aforementioned people can make a proper chicken breast? The answer is probably not. So why look down on those who make sure you are getting the best of the best food-wise? You shouldn't and yet we always get the short end of the stick. No more. I bet if you set it side by side, what they gave up for lent versus what you gave up for lent this year, wouldn't be equal at all. And that proves we aren't the same as those people. We have values and ethics. Something that they lack. And it's because of this that we are suffering. But we will come back stronger. While they remain the same. I don't know about you, but I'd pick becoming stronger rather than remaining the same. That just sounds bleak at best. And I only use the best ingredients to make recipes for life.
Make sure to take whatever precautions you can in holding onto your health and keep your wits about you. We will survive. This is nothing compared to having a full house of 220 people on a Sunday evening and you're running out of product fast. Shit, I'd rather deal with this versus angry customers. Who wants to deal with a bunch of people complaining? Not me. But yet we deal with it all the time. For what, a discount? Free food? Just imagine the level of depravity that's going to happen now by those exact self-entitled people. They aren't getting any bread from me right now. They can make their own. Those ass-munches took all of mine. This is what they get for not investing some of that bread into microbes. Should have invested more in stopping an epidemic. And now, they worry and create mass panic. Well, we know our worth as cooks. We know what we can do to survive, while they haven't a clue. So why are we so worried about the end of times? This is going to pass, and we are all going to make it out alive. We could have built a very good response system, but instead, we didn't why is that? If we can survive long grueling hours with shit pay, we can survive this. Think about it, how many times have you worked on very little sleep and gotten up each day and stood tall, ready to feed the masses? And now all we have to do is survive and we think it's the end? It's not but I can't decide that for you. I'll leave you to make that choice. As for now, I'm going to go out and do all I can to help combat this situation, and I ask that all my fellow heathens do the same. See you on the battlefield.
Rodney Lienhart is a Chef formerly of McKenzie, TN but is now working and residing in Lansing, MI area. Starting at the young age of 7 years old. He worked his way through the ranks in his mom's kitchen in the hills of Tennessee. With a background in southern, Italian, French, and nouvelle cuisines, he uses what he knows to learn more about what he doesn't. When he isn't putting a flame on a sauté pan, he can be found reading and researching about what makes people tick. A massive overindulgence in psychology has led him here to share what he has witnessed in his experiences. Make sure to keep a close eye one his videos coming out soon. In these videos, he will be closely working with Wayhot sauce and Krystilion CBD on future recipes and concepts. You can follow his story and insight into the world of cooking food and adding the health benefits of CBD to his dishes on Facebook also on Instagram @chef_rodney_117