Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just Stick That Barbari Up Your...

I'm getting pretty tired... I have worked like every day... every day... and you know... there's stuff going on in my personal life as well as my work life.

My daughter wants to do school over the internet like Tony did... I'm having to pause before giving that one the "go ahead"... and then there's the thing about being broke... It looks like these folks are not intending to pay me until the first of next month. My car payment is due tomorrow and I don't have quite enough to cover it.. Rent? Oh... don't even want to go there...  

Every day at work has been a matter of increasing production and tweaking recipes to get them like we want them... and even over the recipes there have been battles. 

Some think that we should add MORE sugar to our Barbari recipe... while I was trying to take it out. Every Barbari recipe I have found so far does NOT have any sugar in it. So whut the ????

There is also the issue of increasing recipes and converting everything to freeking ounces! ( for our own ease, because of our scale) Oh dear heavens... I have NEVER had to mix recipes which start out with 104 ounces of water...Puuuhhhh leeeeeeze!.... 

Here again Gina has the right idea. She wants a "set" recipe book put together. I have been working on it, but here we go... my hours were cut back to 3 or 4 hours per day... (just enough to ruin my life and not enough to make any money... myeh... if they ever DO pay me.) 

My time has been spent doing production, learning their ways and starting to change things to make production go faster... retraining GeekBoy without him really knowing that I'm doing it. I'm getting the other bakers on the same page... (the sweets and cakes bakers)

I've been coming home to rework the recipes and get them typed up and researching more flatbread recipes that would be more cost effective and delicious... I also found THE coolest conversion chart which can make small recipes into large volume ones... you know, you cannot just double the recipe for bread and expect it to come out right. It doesn't work that way... This conversion chart shows you how to do it by percentages.. This percent flour, this percent yeast, and so on... I've never seen anything like it before but it seems brilliant... It should work. (If I can just do the math... might have to phone up Tony to come over and help me with it! LOL!)

Umm... so yes I do still have a bit of enthusiasm left... even after today...

I still have enthusiasm and ... I am hopeful... I don't know WHY I am so dammed hopeful, but I just keep thinking... well?... something has to go my way eventually... doesn't it? And I'm dead set sure that ALL things happen for a reason....

I went in this morning rather late, at 8am, as requested by Mr. RoadBlock. We had a rather good morning as he was being very nice, instead of combative... He started talking about his life... I was captivated. It was so interesting... 

In his country he was a contractor he said. I had to listen closely to understand all that he was saying. I did listen close. I wanted to hear what he had to say. He was in charge of putting up transformers. He is well educated. He went to University. 

He started to laugh... "What a weird life!" he exclaimed... "I never thought I'd do dis!... Here I am baking pita.," 

I laughed along with him, "I never thought I'd be baking pita either!"   

I was tired though and I ended up omitting the oil in the first two mixes I did... I had just missed it when I had copied the recipes from GeekBoys book. ( these were tried and true white and wheat pita recipes that I do not want to alter) I also mixed a Barbari bread batch, a large one, that was correct. 

We started in on the wheat pitas to bake them and that's when I realized I'd screwed both of the pita recipes. Holy Cow! Ohhh Noooooooooo! 

By then it was ten and the shop was opening. Gina and the son were working.. Oh good... I instantly realized why nobody wants to work Sundays, and what kind of boob that I am for agreeing to work Sunday... 

Gina works in the shop on Sunday... That is why no one wants to be there. 

Gina instantly blew her top! I mean she came unglued. Yes, we were low on product on the shelves. We ended up having a very busy weekend and made a lot of sales... a good thing in my mind... (personally I think we should close on Sunday like every other shop in this town)... 

Her explosion resulted in a good hour PLUS,  screaming match between her and her ex (Mr. RoadBlock) in their language... so I was really clueless as to most that was said.. but they kept pointing at me and my name was said and Geekboy was mentioned and it appeared to me as if Mr RoadBlock was coming to my defense. Gina was just full of venom. 

Their kid went out front to open the shop and turned his music on blasting loud. It was so loud that even though I was across the table from these folks in the baking area I really could not hear them... I only heard this weird version of Pink Floyd.. 

Then customers came in, the music was turned down and the arguing stopped.

Except that I found myself confronted with Gina's wrath as soon as the customers left... the recipes... the recipes... this is why we make mistakes... we need the recipe book!

Lookit.. I've worked in bakeries all of my life and mistakes are made, with a recipe book or not. We try to always make things right, but if we mess up we try to fix it... if we can't fix it? What we have is made into something else if possible. 

Before I knew it we were screaming at each other.  

I felt myself getting hot... as she raised her voice to me I raised mine to her, and I totally hate that shit. I got divorced because I hate that shit.  

Well, I need TIME to do it! She told me I should do it on my own time. I told her that I HAVE been! But I need more time in the shop to convert my measured recipes to OUNCES with her crappy scale! 

She went over again what she wants to see with a recipe guide and I cut her off. I KNOW THAT!

"As you asked, I sent you all of the recipes that  are complete and that I want to keep by email. Did you get them?" I asked... "Um, oh. I haven't checked my email yet," she said 


THAT is when the top of my head blew off. I'm quite sure my face turned blood red and my blood pressure shot through the roof. I was royally pissed off.

"Fine... THIS is NOT going to WORK for me!" I yelled at her. I started to blubber... can't tell you what I said exactly but I'm sure it made sense at the time. She expects all this stuff, then she allows me NO TIME to do it. My hours are cut... CRAP!!! I'm in a worse spot than I was BEFORE!

I was seriously ready to just tell her to cut me a check and I'l be on my way... I AM DONE!... Eff OFF!!

Here again I am in this spot where I have worked my buns off and I don't have one flat dime in return yet. THESE people!!! THIS place!!! 

But she did a complete "about-face"... Oh no... everything is great... Would you like me to go print off your recipes now please?" 

Yes please... 

Oh for fux sake... 

I know she's nervous about me. I am nervous about her. My gut is telling me, do not trust someone that does not trust you... 

I will tell you that I was SO ready to just walk out of there today... it's done.. I'm done... this is over... I mean really? It isn't like THEY'VE PAID ME ANYTHING YET... She wants me to work at home on my own time... uh huh... which I have already done... but what I have asked for in wages is too much? 

I mixed another white pita and a wheat pita dough (the right way this time) before I left. 

I was cleaning up and started gabbing with their kid. He asked if I liked the music. "Well, YEAH man, it's Pink Floyd," I said.

His eyes got wide, "You know Pink Floyd?"  (kids... ya gotta luv 'em.. as they think they have discovered all of this stuff that none of us old folk have ever heard before)

"Yeah buddy, I LOVE Pink Floyd... but I don't recognize this... what is it?" I asked.

"It's The Pink Floyd Experience," he said and went on to tell me that this group was given the right to reproduce the music. Hmm... did not know that. 

"Oh yes I saw that they were down at the Mountain Theater," I said.

"Yeah, I went to that concert!" he said. "How was it?" I asked. " IT WAS THE BEST!" he said and starting going into detail...

Mama Gina kept busy and was smiling now. 

I pulled the Barbari bread out of oven and this was a hit with the boy. "Oh, it smells soooo good! I want to eat some NOW!" he exclaimed as he glanced at his mother and she gave him the "okay" nod to cut a loaf. He loved it and said that the texture was just right.

She tasted it too and said it was not right... "It is sweet... WHY is it sweet?"

Four ounces of sugar... FOUR ounces of sugar in a 238 ounce batch of dough and SHE tastes the sugar. (See what I mean with the ounces thing? It's driving me NUTS)  

This was another battle... One that I have been fighting all week... and I explained it then. 

"It is sweet because it has sugar in it," I said, " I wanted to take the sugar out, and I did, but then everyone complained that the sugar should be back in," I completed with a sigh.

"WHO complain?," she asked and when I told her she waved her hands like waving away flies... 

"There is no sugar in Barbari," she said, and I replied, "Yes, I know," 

I went on to tell her that I do have other recipes to try... to try to get closer to what they are missing from home... 

I do understand. They are far away from "home"...  

It's different for me, because I consider where I AM ... wherever it is... it IS  "my home".... but I miss things too.... I miss collard greens... you cannot really get them here... You can sometimes, but then they are small and expensive, and they are just not even CLOSE to the same as you get in the south.

I miss my southern iced tea... I miss Kraft peanut butter... I miss Hellman's mayonnaise.. 

"The texture, the softness, will it still be the same if you remove the sugar?" the son asked. "Yes," I said, "The sugar is not an active ingredient in this recipe... it's doing nothing beyond adding flavor," 

Things were calm then but I was simply DONE. I told her that I was going home. "You aren't going to stay to work on recipes?" she asked. "Nope," I said, "Not today. It's been a bad day. I'd probably mess them all up. It is not a good day for that. I should stop now,"

She kept me over anyway to discuss ordering product for the shop... I surprised her by telling her that I had taken an inventory of the product we had on hand the first day that I started. I know exactly "how much" of "what" we have gone through this week.. three bags of wheat flour, four bags of bread flour, one bag of all purpose flour.. and so on and so forth... 

I am going to email her the rest of the recipes before I fix them...  their tattered scratched mess of recipes will be in a neatly typed form, ready or not, complete or not, converted or not, she's getting them! (let's just waste a whole bunch of time why don't we? We'll do it NOW, but it's wrong) ... just go ahead and laminate THAT! (for our permanent recipe book) 

She is absolutely NOT getting MY recipes... that much is for sure... 

I AM taking tomorrow OFF. 

I am NOT answering my freeking phone... 


  1. You are an amazing human being , do not ever forget that. I love you.

  2. Hellmans mayo is called Best Foods mayo on the west part of the US. It is the same mayonnaise.

  3. Thanks Sabine, I love you.

    To Connie - yes we figured that out six months after we got here... but... why doesn't it taste the same? They say it's the same but it doesn't seem to be.