My brain is foggy this morning from too many birthday beers the night before. A to-do list hangs in the corner of my mind. Out of reach. The words and their meanings blurred from the remaining wisps of yesterday’s joviality. I’m not ready to come back to reality.
But like most necessary things, reality forces its way inside. Jostling the recent past’s fun and games out of my head as though it was cattle being steered away from danger by melodic humanoid voices. And once again I find myself readying for new adventures.
This weekend The Hot Wire has been invited to the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo. We participated last year and it was a blast. Although last year we had twice the help. This year challenges have arose because there is never simplicity when it comes to the life of restauranteering. But like everything else, we have divided our tasks and conquered accordingly. Hopefully.
It doesn’t help that my head feels like ten thousand dish pit rags have been shoved in through the ear canals and must remain to stew there forevermore, but alas, that is the price I pay for birthday shenanigans.
I don’t want to stop writing this morning. The moment I stop is the moment I must begin the list. The list I still cannot seem to focus on and nail down to a concrete plan of action. The moment I stop pounding keys is the moment that it all becomes the now, the, I’ve got to get shit done right now. The moment I stop letting the words fall onto the page is the moment I must stop slurping down coffee in a warm living room and traverse my way out into the cold and snow.
I suspect it will be like most things and I will be dreading the next 48 hours for as long as possible. But as they happen, as they pass by me like a fast-action replay it will not seem menacing at all. The list will get done, the prepping and packing will commence, the set up will fly by, the people will eat and we will survive. And likely, have a whole lot of fun while doing it all.
Because if we aren’t enjoying even the challenging things, what are we doing anyways?
You guys! I’ve managed to somehow, someway, wrangle a whole 40 minutes of spare time to write a quick blurb about, well, life I suppose. Sure I may have skipped wearing make-up today and merely tossed a bowl, the milk jug and a handful of cheerios at the small humans but you know what? I’m writing and I’m friggen stoked about it.
So I’m sure you’ve all been on the edge of your seats wondering how the infamous food and beverage expo went for us. Well, to put it short and sweet—it was fucking fantastical! Like a dream come true folks. The perfect portrait of grace and elegance all wrapped up into one drunken food fest. Absolutely superb.
We had such a surplus of helpers there so our food went out fast and efficiently.
People were coming back for seconds despite a plethora of other food vendors in the vicinity. It was a blast! I don’t think Jamie and I have had that much fun since we started up The Hot Wire!
Not that slinging sandwiches isn’t, like, the best time ever, but getting to mingle with a throng of fun and fabulous foodies was pretty freakin’ great too!
The best part is, it’s paying off already. We are on day three now of post expo extravaganza and we’ve already had a bunch of people coming in asking for “The Roma” or “the panini we had at the food show”. There has been folks walking through our doors sayings, “yeah we tried you out at the show and couldn’t wait to come try another panini.”
So needless to say, I think we will do it again next year.
Mom and Ashley came down to hang with the kids over the weekend while we were busy busting our butts and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. They took the kids to a hotel where they slid down waterslides and ate pizza for dinner. I’m pretty sure the kids had, literally the best time of their lives. And definitely a monumentally more marvelous time than they would have stashed away under one of the prep tables at the expo…which was the alterative if Mom wasn’t able to make it down here.
My eyes keep wandering over to the bottom right hand corner of the screen where the time is displayed. Only twenty minutes left before I have to pull myself away from this computer and get the children to school. Still, that’s enough time to finish up…that’s what she said. Clearly I’ve been hanging out with Jamie too much lately.
For days now I’ve been mentally compiling a blog post to tell you guys how great this past weekend was. How fulfilling it has been to see the happiness spread across strangers faces moments after we shove our paninis down their throats. I’ve been wanting to tell you how excited I am for the future and all of the ideas that are now fighting for attention in my wandering mind.
But here I sit, in front of my computer and all that occupies my brain is that gleaming fact that I am in desperate need of a refill on my coffee.
I’m sure as soon as I, say, strap myself into the car and am driving to the school some beautifully prophetic prose will come to mind about existence and friendship and fulfilment and whatnot but right here, right now, my brain only processes one thing: STRONG COFFEE=LIFE.
This is probably because in the deep recesses of my mind I know that today is yet another hectic adventure in the demanding life of a panini posse. Maybe it will be so busy we’re run off our feet. Perhaps we will invent the newest fad in sandwich attire. Or possibly some other amazing and newfangled opportunity that I cannot even fathom will present itself, once again turning our entire world upside down. And that my friends, is the best part of it all.
I haven’t told you guys about the expo yet. The expo. THE EXPO. This thing is what our life is revolving around right now. It’s official name is the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo and The Hot Wire Panini Café is in it. This is not an event to enter into lightly my friends. They are estimating around 6000 people to be in attendance and an average of 600 patrons to visit each booth. Don’t quote me on these numbers, they are just what my frazzled mind picked up when we were going over the details with Chris. He’s the mastermind of this beautiful thing.
Four months ago when Jamie and I were approached about buying a booth we were thrilled! The Hot Wire Panini’s name had travelled far enough for an actual real live food expo to seek us out and ask if we wanted to join. It was flattering and gave us just a big enough boost of confidence to believe that we could pull this off. No problem-o, was probably my naive reaction at the time. However presently, as the expo draws nearer we have begun to feel the pressure.
Here we are, just the two of us running this entire place by ourselves. We eat, sleep, and breathe The Hot Wire Panini and that definitely cuts in to our socialising time. When we told Chris that it would probably just be the two of us working the expo he actually LOL’d. “Sorry guys, there is no way just two of you will be able to do it alone. You’ve got to get some help.” He said after the awkward realisation that we weren’t in fact pulling his leg came to pass.
So this is our first quandary. We need help for this expo that is taking place in two weeks from now and are not 100% sure that we will be able to get it. We’ve lined up a few of Jamie’s chef friends from back home but that is a four hour drive away and we all know how quickly Alberta roads can turn on a person in the mid-January weather. So who knows if they will even be able to make it? We can’t afford to hire anyone, that thought is actually laughable. And we aren’t close enough to anyone here who would be willing to work for the prestigious payment of beers at our place afterwards. So it comes down to one thing, hoping to the good baby Jeebus that the weather is on our side.
Second issue, the small humans. Oh how (hashtag)adorbs it would be to have the wee panini pipsqueaks running around selling paninis to all of the people at the expo, alas, NO MINORS ALLOWED. So now I have the pleasure of attempting to find a babysitter for a 12 hour timespan. No problem-o my ass.
Then comes the prep work of feeding 5-6 hundred bitesize panini samples to prospective customers. Finding all of the necessary decor to make our booth look inviting—alluring if you will. All the while running the shop during its regular hours.
Wowza, by this point you must be thinking that Jamie and I are gluttons for punishment. We’re not, we swear. We just really get off on the onset of regular anxiety attacks.
They say that owning your own business takes everything you have in you. That’s a lie. It takes more than everything. It takes resourcefulness. So much resourcefulness in fact that you must reserve your resourcefulness to uncover more resourcefulness. It takes having the nerve to try new things and pick yourself up off the floor when they fall flat. It takes so much risk that sometimes you just crave a boring, dreary kind of day. It takes patients. Patients with yourself because everything you do is a trail run and 50% of it isn’t going to work out the way you intended. It takes the ability to make a botched attempt into a new opportunity. And enough confidence to know that all of this pressure and fear and failure and heaviness in your heart will eventually be worth it. It takes the optimism to glance contently into the future. Many of these qualities I didn’t know I possessed until we started really getting into the nitty gritty of entrepreneurship. Perhaps they were born out of necessity.
This expo is a fantastic way to get The Hot Wire’s name out there. We know our product is good. The reviews speak for themselves. Now it is time to showcase our panini perfection in one convenient location for all to enjoy. It isn’t that the shop is doing poorly. Our numbers are good. But we do have our slow days, sometimes even slow weeks. These are the days when it is a struggle to find a positive outlook on things. These are the moments when the fear creeps in and we have to will it away with thoughts of what tomorrow might bring.
It is a terrifying business to be in, but a thrilling and challenging one too. And the only way to achieve our goals is to work hard, takes chances and get the word out. The panini word. The Alberta Food and Beverage Expo is our golden ticket and there is no way we are about to squander that.
With a bit of planning, a little luck and a lot of culinary craftiness I’m confident we will get through it. We’ll make our impression on this city of Lethbridge and they will be talking about that one time The Hot Wire Panini rocked the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo for years to come!
And that, my friends, is what this whole shebang is all about.
Jamie and I are officially on our Christmas break. We get an entire two days off and I don’t think I’ve felt this much Christmas glee in ages! It is the morning of December 24th and I am enjoying a warm cup of coffee at my computer. I’m not stressed out about getting to work on time to make bread or having to get the kids ready for school. I’m not thinking about upcoming Hot Wire orders or money or anything for that matter. I am just here in this moment and that feels great.
This last week has been a trial. We sort of snowballed when it came to making holiday trays. I put an add on Facebook that seemed to attract a lot of attention and long story short, over the last three days Jamie and I have made around 500 eggnog flavoured cream puffs. This wouldn’t have been so bad if we, say, had two ovens to work with and, oh I don’t know, an employee or two. But really, what would a business be if it didn’t have some trials and tribulations to tell tales about in the years to come?! And you know what? We did it! It was probably a Hot Wire Christmas miracle but we did it none the less.
This time of year always gets me thinking about life and I am in awe at what we’ve accomplished since moving to this city. The friends and connections we’ve made have been irreplaceable and this experience; simply unbelievable. Some days I come home and my back is killing me and feet feel as though they have lead pipes fastened to them. A better spouse would likely quiet this fact and ask how her partner was doing. Not me.
“Ugh, FUCK I’m so tired!” I will say in a bitter rage to my husband.
“It feels like I slept for an entire minute last night!” Jamie will rebut because if we are anything, it is on the same page about how close to zombies we’ve become since opening The Hot Wire up.
We persevere though because the shop means life and life is the shop. This is mantra as of late. ZOMBIES I TELL YOU — ZOMBIES!
A few days ago we had a couple of fellows stumble, and I literally mean stumble, through our doors. They approached our patrons asking each one if they would buy them lunch. Of course, once I caught on to their shenanigans I quietly asked them to leave.
“Well who the heck do you think you are little girl?” The one man slurred as the other fell to a nearby seat.
“Look guys, I’m not trying to be rude here but if you aren’t going to buy anything you’ll have to leave.” I repeated.
“Well what can I buy for two bucks?” He asked throwing a pile of change on the counter. I knew what he wanted but I find it difficult to give to those who barge into my life with unpleasant confrontations.
“Any of the baked goods.” I replied.
“What only these things?” he said smudging the display case`s glass with his oiled fingers.
“Yes sir…those things.” At this point he must have picked up on the condescension which was creeping into my tone of voice.
“Hey, so what, you work here or something?” He said as he swayed to imaginary music.
“Yeah, I own this place.” Screw Christmas kindness, I’m done being cordial to this jackass.
“Oooh whoopidity doo!” He replied rolling his eyes. “All of your food is too expensive anyways. You`re a joke.”
“Okay well you can leave then.” I reiterated for the tenth time.
I will spare you the gritty details, because in all honesty this conversation (if you can call it that) went on for another five minutes in loop-de-loops which resulted in nothing other than the man calling me a chubby cow and asking if I was smart enough to count change. All the while I kept a pretty decent cool if I do say so myself. Jamie managed to finally get them out of there by threatening to call the cops.
I could dwell on this. I could worry that I said the wrong things. I could waste so much of my precious time rolling it over in my mind thinking about what I could have done differently and how I can prevent this unpleasantness from happening again. But that would be pointless. The sad truth of it is, these things just happen. Rather than being angry about these two men coming into our shop, harassing us and frightening our customers, I am going to feel sorry for their lack of social interaction skills. I do however wish that if these guys were actually hungry and cold, that they would have approached us differently. We are happy to give what we can and provide a warm place from the cold to anyone in need. And I am so grateful that we have the ability to do so.
I`ve come to realise that Jamie really is my best friend. Together, it seems, that we can accomplish anything. We`ve grown a family, moved to a new city, built a business from nothing and created a life together. We are the epitome of the definition of partners; in business but more so in life. At the end of every month when our numbers get tallied we can see our hard work paying off slowly but surely. Our children are growing up healthy and happy and cared for. Yes we are tired. Yes we`ve had to make huge sacrifices. Yes some days it is difficult to find the wherewithal to go forward. But we will go forward. We will keep moving on with our plans and dreams and hopes and aspirations because that is what those who live in happiness will forever do.
Merry Christmas Friends and Family! I hope this post finds you all in positive spirits and looking forward to a new and exciting year ahead.
Ahh the joys of customer service. *she says as an involuntary twitch travels over her left cheekbone.*
I suppose this vocation needs no real introduction because all of us, at some point in our lives, have probably partook in such means of work.
Except, maybe that’s not true. Maybe, there is a portion of human beings who have never had to take an order, clean up after someone or do anything remotely of the sort. Because, correct me if I’m wrong here, I feel like if everyone knew what it was like to work in customer service, well, there just wouldn’t be as many delusional asshat customers as there are.
But that’s not the way we humans work is it? I’m as bad as the next guy. Just a few weeks ago I was a total jackass to the cashier at the gas station because they had changed their pumps to prepay and they hadn’t thought to reach out personally to me and let me know this vital information in advance.
Why did I feel the need to stomp around like a friggen maniac because I had to go in the store and pay before pumping my gas? Now looking back it was outrageous of me and I hope to God that the gas-bar attendant got a good laugh in at me on account of my temporary insanity.
However, I received all of that bad juju and more in karma today at work. It was pretty much a day from hell. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I need me some redemption, I need to make things right again in the universe. I can’t deal with anymore “hell-days” so I’m here to right my wrongs.
So here it is. Redemption.
A list. Because everyone loves lists.
8 Ways to be a Good Customer (and avoid the bad juju):
When entering a business location if greeted, it is wise to greet back in a friendly/polite manner…as is, and has always been the social norm since, well, pretty much forever ago. When one does not greet back it is awkward and makes actually no sense at all; leaving the greeter to conclude that they must be in the midst of a total fucking chode-monster.
Do not, under really any circumstances, ask the person behind the register if, “anything is good here.” It’s a completely senseless question. Like, I’m not sure what you expect the answer to be but in pretty much every scenario, whether it’s an employee/owner/volunteer, they are probably going to tell you that the product is good. Even if it is some little shit employee, they aren’t risking their job to tell you all the gruesome truths and malevolent corporate secrets of this establishment. Sorry to break it to you, but nobody is going to think twice about spewing out some rehearsed line, “of course it’s good…Everything is good here at Daisy Dukes Dildo Shack.” So save everyone a lot of weirdness and just don’t ask and judge for yourself.
This one is more for just the food service industry so it pretty much involves everyone on the face of the planet. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, go into an eatery during lunch/dinner to inquire about anything other than eating right then and there. No, they do not want to hear about your cutting edge new knife product. No, they are not interested in your organic vegetables. NO, they cannot give you a minute of their time. Why you ask? Because they are balls to the walls busy with people who are actually spending money at their establishment. Try again in the downtime…or don’t, nobody cares.
Do not treat a cashier any different than you would treat the owner of a business. Plain and simple.
Many of us like to talk about only eating and shopping locally. It’s great. It’s actually fantastic because it is a community minded way to be. I applaud you for that. The thing is, when you shop/eat locally that often means you are doing so at tiny Mom and Pop businesses. Sure they may have fantastic food and yeah, I bet every lunch hour that you go in there they are just hopping busy. That doesn’t mean (even in the slightest) that they can afford employees. So, before offering your breadth of knowledge just know that the last ten customers probably said the same, “looks like you need to do some hiring” spiel before you. And despite the general consensus of these people who have never come close to seeing the financial books of this establishment, unfortunately, that doesn’t make their suggestions even a little bit more attainable.
Sometimes businesses run out of stock. Don’t argue with the staff about it. If they are out they are out. No amount of “well this is ridiculous!” will change that.
If you notice a customer in front of you being a right ol’ bag-O-dicks to the cashier, please by all means, say something. It is in fact your business as a human being to stop the blatant verbal abuse that customer service people endure daily. Be the difference.
If you’re sort of shy and non-confrontational, that’s okay too, once the cashier has so aptly moved the smacktard on his way, show the person behind the till your solidarity by rolling your eyes and saying quietly, “what a jive ass turkey that slime ball was” and then promptly pull yourself out of the 70’s and continue on with your day.
Heed these words my friends! And know that out there somewhere there is a retired front desk associate wearing an avenger’s shirt that is two times too small bottling up karma, watching and waiting for the perfect moment to throw it in the face of some twittlefuck who has told off his last cashier.
In other words, the bad juju’s a bitch, and she’s coming for ya.
There is one thing you need to know before you carry on reading this little thing of mine. One thing that may or may not change your thoughts on whether this relationship of ours is going to go any further. One thing that might indeed change EVERYTHING.
Well this is awkward, it seems I’ve amped it up so much that I can never make it sound as awesome as it needs to.
So here it is: right now at this point in my life I have exactly three things on my brain. My kids well-being, the panini palace and writing.
A while ago Sophie told me she wasn’t exactly fond of me writing all of these, she says “embarrassing” I say “adorable” stories about her. So I will respect her wishes and the tales of the children will have to be kept to a minimal. Which leaves us with paninis and writing.
Hence, if you choose to continue frequenting this account you will probably be reading about a whole shit-ton of misadventures which Jamie and I find ourselves getting into daily at the shop. That and my ridiculous obsession with pop culture, I will probably throw that in here somewhere too. Example, Vampires. Another example: my love for Mindy Kaling…She’s so fucking cool.
Ahem, allow me to paint you a little picture here.
It was lunch-rush and busier than we’ve ever been before. INSANITY to be exact. But good insanity. Exciting insanity. We were running into each other like chickens tend to when their heads get cut off except babbling back and forth so perhaps more like a pair of challenged baboons. I was panting for the love of God! Panting! I’m so out of shape.
Then everything froze.
Now everything did not actually freeze to be literal, it’s not like there was some kind of super natural force which actually stopped time or anything. This was more of an emotional freezing moment where I looked at my husband and this sandwich kingdom we have assembled and I couldn’t be more honoured to be in this thing with him. Like, how did I become so lucky to have found a partner who I can raise a family with but build a business alongside too? It is nothing short of a miracle.
Time jumps back to reality and Jamie runs past me clutching his hand. He returns to the line a few minutes later with his index finger wrapped up like a mummy and two clear plastic gloves on over top.
“Did you cut if off? Do you need stitches?” I ask with not a hint of yarn in my voice because my husband has literally cut off the tips of his fingers several times before in his career and had to get them sewn back on. So this was a serious and vital question at the time.
“No I just sliced it down the middle.” He said. Then we disinfected what needed disinfecting (becasue a restaurant is nothing without clean and proper health standards) and continued on with the lunch-rush because stopping just isn’t an option these days.
I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough go of it lately. We are feeling the debt that we created when setting up the shop and it’s proved to be a lot more difficult than we anticipated to begin paying it down.
Of course, it’s all part of it. This is the big shebang of starting a business. Them’s the ropes, as they say. We get it. But if you’ve ever had debt hanging over you, if you’ve ever felt that suffocating fear of relying utterly and completely on your next day’s sales, your next week’s paycheque, I’m sure you can feel where we are coming from.
So today, this fantastic day that we were not expecting but eagerly hoped for had finally come! At one point as I slid in beside my husband on the line and poured a bowl of soup we caught each other’s eyes. He looked at me and smiled this smile that just said, “I may have just sliced my finger open but that’s okay because we’re doing it! We are making this happen!” and it gave me a stomach full of butterflies.
It was a long day, twelve hours to be exact with even more paper work and planning to be done once I arrived home that evening. When they say starting a small business ain’t for the faint of heart, believe them, they wouldn’t lie to you. **I don’t know who “they” are but they sure know their shit.
When Jamie got home we cracked a couple of beers and talked about the day. It was in fact the busiest one we’ve had yet and despite our aching feet and weary brains it was our day! We had done it. Sure there were a few mishaps but we recovered. We moved forward and now are ready for another day, and that my friends, feels fabulous!
Something sad and not at all nice is going on guys. I’ve been noticing it more and more as I progress deeper into my role of Panini Provider for the People.
But before I get into that I want to tell you about a “study” I read a while ago—I put this in quotations because quite frankly I’m not sure if one can consider it a “study” when the suggested posts under it had titles like, ‘drinking copious amounts of beer now reveal health benefits’ and ‘scientists can now tell if someone is gay or straight by the dilation of their pupils’. If I was ever going to use the hashtag #facepalm it would most certainly be right now.
Anyhoo, regardless of what you want to call it, the thingy I read told me that it is no longer politically correct to ask someone what they do for a living…Like, are you fucking kidding me right now?
No no, it is now bad form to inquire as to what your new small talk buddy partakes in during the daily grind because their answer may or may not be “cooler” than your answer. THUS hurting their oh so fragile feel-bads.
There are reasons upon reasons why people choose the jobs they choose. Sometimes it’s for the passion it evokes in them. Sometimes it’s for the security it provides. Sometimes it’s because they just really really like working with small rodents or dynamite or whatever. Most of the time, if you ask someone what they do there is usually a pretty sweet/funny/semi-interesting story to go along with it. Humans are remarkable that way; we are forever selling mundane antidotes as interesting tales of adventure. Writer of this blog…prime example.
If you ask me, as long as you’re earning an honest living, then you’re doing pretty damn well in my books.
However *holds pointer finger up in exaggerated motion* not everyone feels this way.
Not everyone deems “The Working Joe” as a respectable way to earn a wage. I know this because I’ve seen it first hand and it makes me realise how innocent questions like, “What do you do?” can be made into a hurtful faux pas.
For the most part when a customer comes in, Jamie and I are able to talk with them, get a few laughs and all around have a glorious 5 to 10 minutes of chatter while we cook them up the greatest sandwich in the world. And sometimes the exact opposite thing happens.
A customer will stroll in and look the place up and down. They will see Jamie and me awaiting their arrival from behind the counter and begrudgingly address our cheerful, “HELLO!” with an uninterested, “Hey” of their own. They will look at the menu boards and choose a sandwich all the while trying their damnedest not to make eye contact with us because that could mean talking and stuff.
They will stare awkwardly out the window pretending not to acknowledge our presence. Even though both Jamie and I are undeniably loud at existing. Always have been, can’t help it.
And that’s fine. Sometimes people just really don’t want to deal with the small talk of strangers. I get that. I can admire that even. Here I am HAVING to be the chipper chicken (where did I come up with that one, I astound myself sometimes) day in and day out! It’s exhausting.
But what I don’t get, what really burns me up, is when the people who come in acting this way completely and utterly change their attitude towards Jamie and me when they find out that the shop we are working in is actually ours.
All too soon we’ve become exciting. Now we seem worthy of their conversation. And it makes me gasp, gasp I say, with shock. Why is business owner Lindsay more appealing than cashier Lindsay? Why is it now in their interest to be civil and kind to me when moments ago my reality bored, perhaps even annoyed them? How could the mere title of my job have changed their opinion of me so drastically?
So my end conclusion is that “studies” one finds on the internet are weird but sometimes can hold some weight when splattered onto the right framework. But mostly they are probably lame. But *again with the exaggerated finger* being the asshat that belittles a fellow human for working a job that in their stilted definition deems ‘dead end’ is by far a thousand times lamer.
So please, next time you find yourself out and about rubbing shoulders with society tell your stories, be weird, make the mundane look beautiful and most importantly show the asshats how spectacular the human condition truly is.
The house has a muggy calm about it this morning. Today is supposed to be devastatingly hot and I’m not entirely sure I am ready for it. I’m not entirely sure I am ready for anything anymore. For someone who used to be chronically prepared for just about everything, I’ve sort of dropped the ball lately.
Maybe it’s the heat. Or maybe it’s my brain being overloaded with menial tasks. Perhaps it’s my brain being overloaded with all of the non-menial tasks that’s getting me down. The worries and what-ifs about the future. I find myself daydreaming all of the time about what’s to come.
Like, I wonder when that multi-billionaire is going to stroll through the doors of The Hot Wire and give us an offer right then and there that we can’t refuse. He will say something along the lines of, “Boy Howdy I do declare this is the best éclair I’ve ever eaten!” or “Well, I tell you what, I’ve never seen a more original and downright delightful sandwich shop in my whole dang life.” I am imagining this person to be from the Deep South with an accent reminiscent to Foghorn J. Leghorn.
However right here and now I am reminded that none of this has actually happened yet. A wall of heat is currently pressing up against my back and I feel as though I may be slowly melting away into oblivion. I do hope it’s not so hot there.
Usually I don’t mind the heat. I like to bask or whatever. But working in a kitchen when it is 30 above, I’ve come to discover, is most likely the closest impression of Hell that any human being will ever know.
I literally just turned around to see if I could physically see what the “heat” looks like. I am assuming that because it is so god-damn hot in here (at 6 am) that surely I would be able to spot its wrath. I’m really considering stripping down to the buff and going to sit in the cool garage for a few before I head off to work.
Okay by now I’m sure you guys are asking yourselves where in the good and glorious name of Jeebus am I going with this blog post?
Well, to put it right out there; I’ve been a bit of an asshole lately. I’ve pretty much been the assholiest asshole in the history of assholes (but not the literal kind…because that would be shitty. Ha!)
In these last few weeks I’ve pulled away. I’ve withdrawn because let’s face it, things got scary and things got hard. We were struggling to get the business where we needed it and doubt plus many misgivings were running rampant. I stopped calling my friends and family because I just didn’t have anything positive to say. I didn’t text, and when they texted me I shot back with insincere one word answers.
Assholery I tell you, pure assholery.
Now, it is time for an apology! I’m sorry dear loved ones…I love you all. Love, love, love, love and some more love. Yes, this is in fact my idea of an apology. They’ll get it.
The smouldering and fiery facts—that accompany my current state of sweltering alive—are that I was a little depressed for a brief moment there, and it scared the holy molies out of me.
But then one day not too long ago something happened and although it doesn’t solve all of our “starting a business stresses” it gave me that little bit of oomph I was in need of to get up and get on.
A dude sitting in the shop so very nonchalantly muttered to his Panini one random day, “I love you. I never want you to end.” And in that moment our suspicions about failure vanquished. We realized that we have something here, something good. It was about at that time when grandiose delusions of talking roosters paying us millions to franchise our panini palace came into play.
Maybe that’s a little much, I don’t know.
What I do know is that I cannot allow the down days to affect the relationships in my life. Our humans, the ones who get us through the everyday, are our everything. There are going to be bad days. Days when the bread doesn’t rise and the cakes all fall. There will be days when the equipment brakes. When the kids act up and lash out. There will be days when we want to tell the whole entire world to just fuck right off.
And then, there will be days when we find a grown ass man telling his panini that he loves it. There will be days when we feel invincible. Some days we will find that we have the ability to do just about anything.
These are the days we must hold tightly to. The days that remind us that we are doing something wonderful and fulfilling.
Some may even go as far to say; these, are the days of our lives.
So there I was about to make a pot of jam, when I got struck with the most fan-fucking-tastical idea I’ve had since I decided to deem Helen (don’t act like you don’t know her) as my blogging alter ego.
Before I go on, I have some apologies to make to you, dear friends and readers. As of late, I have undoubtedly abandoned you all and it is pretty obvious that you have more than likely been going through some outrageously cray withdrawals over the lack of Blogging Mama showing up in your news feed. For this and all of the mental hardships my absence may have caused you I am truly sorry.
But I’m just going through some stuff right now okay.
I’ve decided that I want to be more earth friendly, frugal, and resourceful in my approach to life and existence in general…Or at least give all that jazz a shot. You know, see what the big hype is all about. So for the last few months I’ve been growing a bunch of my own food, baking my own bread and doing a hell of a lot of canning.
So between all of that and the raising of boy and girl child, I’ve been a little swamped.
BUT THEN IT HIT ME!
I could be a food blogger!!!
I could combine my love of entertaining you and my love of food…
*Hundreds of food bloggers, from all corners of the world, suddenly feel a universal urge to facepalm for no apparent reason*
But honestly how hard can it be, I thought nonchalantly as I pulled out my trusty cell phone deeming it just the right tool to take the photographs I would need to bring this new food blogging dream to fruition.
So on today’s menu we have a pot of SUPER SIMPLE 3 INGREDIENT RASPBERRY JAM!
Shall we begin?
That was actually a rhetorical question, but let’s just try and breeze on past this awkwardness.
Super Simple 3 Ingredient Raspberry Jam
What you will need:
4 cups Raspberries (go ahead and raid your neighbours garden- like Mom always says, “the more you pick the more they produce!” So really, you are just doing them an awesome favour. Your neighbours will surely be thanking you in the long run.)
4 cups Sugar
The juice and pulp of three lemons
1 Water Bath Canner (many people would argue with me and say that you don’t need a water bath canner for this type of canning due to the copious amounts of sugar that will preserve just about anything without bringing it up to a bacteria slaughtering temp. My response: WHY DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE TO TAKE THE FUN OUT OF EVERYTHING I DO?!)
Between 10 to 12 half pint canning jars
1 Jam Pot (much like this one I Instagrammed earlier)
1 Lemon Juicer
Run of the mill ladle
More tea towels than I care to admit
Canning picker upper thingy
Let’s do this.
Combine raspberries, sugar and lemon in jam pot over medium heat.
Meh, put it on high heat if you like to live dangerously.
Watch that shit carefully!
Nobody likes burnt jam people.
Meanwhile fill your water bath canner a little under half way full.
Due to buoyancy and junk you will have to fill your jars with water before placing them into the water bath. Water should always be at least half an inch above the jars.
7. Begin the boiling/sterilizing process of the jars and their lids.
8. After jars have boiled for ten minutes and jam has thickened it is time to begin ladling the jam into the jars. Have a dry clean tea towel laid down beside your jam pot to place the hot jars on. Use your picker upper to retrieve all of the jars and place them on the towel. Then begin to ladle your jam.
Forewarning: This is a bitch of a job. Hot jam can be ridiculously hot.
9. Next, after your lids have been simmering this entire time, use the magnet to retrieve the lid as well as the screw ring. This also must be carried out with extreme caution as these little bastards will be quite warm too.
10. Screw tops on until fingertip tight.
11. Fingertip tight means that you are just using your fingertip strength to tighten them. So obviously not like hulk shit…If that was what you were doing taker down a notch.
12. Using your canning picker upper thingy place jars back in the water canner and let boil (in canning lingo “process”) for ten minutes.
13. Use picker upper to lift jars out of the water bath and place on clean dry tea towel.
You will begin to hear the wondrous sound of the lids sealing shut- POP POP POP!
It is delightful, I tell you, DELIGHTFUL!
PS- If you have jam left over, repeat entire process of sterilizing jars, jam ladling, “processing” ect.
Okay, get ready to have like a totally foodie orgasm…IN YOUR MOUTH.
Next time on the blog,
Yep, that’s the best name three intense minutes of brainstorming got me. Time well spent.
Until we cook again my friends:
Create Cuisine with Class
And try frying something naked at least once in your life