Sunday, September 23, 2007

Crepe Suzette

Crepe Suzette

Now I guess I have gathered enough strength to write about my past week and share it with you guys. Oh, no no! It’s nothing serious. Nothing terrible happened. Don’t worry. It’s just that my mind has been occupied with all the new things I have to learn at a new workplace, and it was a bit overwhelming to put my feelings – mostly anxieties – into words. But after experiencing a sort of emotional rollercoaster in the very first week, I’m feeling a little calmer now and able to write about it.

You might be wondering what kind of difficult or complicated job I started to feel so nervous? Uh… I’m ashamed to tell you, but it’s just a half a day’s work at a small bento shop in my neighborhood. Actually, it’s not as physically demanding as the work at the izakaya. But I never thought they had such a wide variety of bentos! For the past week, I spent hours and hours every night drawing and re-drawing bento illustrations to memorize what food should be packed in which bento and what kind of sauce/pickles should come with it.

The manual with photos shows where in the bento box each food/garnish should be put. Oh, and of course the color, shape and size of the plastic bento boxes differ depending on the type of bento. There are many small plastic cups in several different sizes and colors for side dishes and there are of course certain rules for their combinations. AHHHHH!!! And this is my first time handling the cash register!!

Those who have experienced similar job must be thinking, “Oh, come on, Obachan. It’s not such a big deal!” Right? Maybe I’ll feel the same way once I get used to all the work procedures. It’s going to take some time, though.

Anyway, that was what my past week was like, and all the worries completely spoiled my long weekend. So yesterday (Sunday), I got to the point where I HAD TO make something -- something sweet -- to heal myself.

I’m not quite sure why I chose to make crepe suzette when I was on the edge like that… Maybe I was so stressed that vitamin C in orange juice attracted me?

I think it was more than 20 years ago when I first made crepe suzette. I still remember the photo of the dessert in mom’s big, heavy and old cookbook. The French dessert tasted wonderful then even though I didn’t have any liquor (such as brandy or orange liqueur) to flavor it.

What I made this time was not bad, and I do think these photos have some healing effect. But the dessert could have tasted much, much better with more orange sauce. My mistake... I had only one orange, and used half of it for making orange chicken the night before.

Anyway, dear readers. I'd very much appreciate your emotional support for a few more weeks until I get used to my new job, unless they kick me out tomorrow for being such a slow learner. Please share your experiences, if it's OK with you... I guess I'm more vulnerable now than I was before the surgery last May. Hahaha...

One good thing is, though, I can start another series as the sequel to the izakaya and kaiseki chronicles I wrote in 2006.



K and S said...

ooh, did you use Kochi yuzu jam? this looks really delicious.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there,O-chan!
I have experienced cash register too. It gets to be stressful during the peak time. But I am sure you will be fine :)

Unknown said...

Best of luck to you on your new job. I once worked in a bakery/chocolate shop, and there I learned to use the cash register for the first time. At first, I was nervous that I would miscount the money, but it never happened and everything worked out fine in the end. I'm sure you will do just fine.

Anonymous said...

Obachan, hang in there, and don't stress out. Anyone who just started a new job will tell you that it takes a few weeks to really get settled in. In no time at all, you'll be a bento master - when you make them, you'll look like you've got 20 arms because you're moving so fast. AND all your bento will be perfect!

Personal story: during my first job, as I was the only one who knew anything about websites and how to update HTML pages, I was asked to hand-code 4 years worth of memos to put on the company intranet. That was over 5,000 memos, most of them several pages long.

Now, I was a novice webpage creator: I had to constantly consult my list of special HTML characters, figure out how to do the formatting (indents, etc). I was crawling along. My bosses were getting frustrated as I was slow (putting up only 20-30 memos a day). I was afraid that they'd fire me, or demote me.

But after a few weeks, it got easier: I'd learned how to code fast and properly (they didn't have any programs, only NotePad), and I was averaging 90-100 memos a day after a week or two.

Things will look up soon. I PROMISE!

Di said...

Good luck Obachan! I hope things will get better for you soon, in fact I'm sure they will (^__^) Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

I used to work for a Japanese bento shop here in Vancouver. Of course we had many types of bentos as you say. Because I was raised here, it was really hard for me to memorize all the Japanese food, and which garnish should go with what type of food! But I made it. I'm sure you can handle it more then I. Good luck! Once you get the hang of it, You'll enjoy your crepes more with some whipped cream!

K and S said...

Hang in there Obachan! I know you'll be able to memorize the different bentos, it will just take some time.

child-prodigy said...

You'll do fine. Everything takes time to get used to, but best of luck to you and your job.

Anonymous said...

Ne, Obachan! Gambatte kudasai! I know how you're feeling right now. I had the same problem when I worked in an Oriental grocery a few years ago. It was pretty stressful at first, but I managed to hold on. You will, too, and I wish you all the best.

obachan said...

Thank you, guys! I’m sure I’ll feel embarrassed about being childish like this in -- let’s say 3 months or so – but for the time being, I think I need support.

K & S
No, I didn’t use yuzu. This time I used an orange imported from California. :)
And thanks for your encouragement.

Right now my brain is telling me that I should be able to handle it once I get used to it, considering how many people all over the world is using it at work…even elder people. But my feeling is like, “No, those must be superior or at least “normal” people, and I must be an exceptional fool!!” But your support is encouraging. Thanks. :)

Glad to hear that you were nervous, too. Thank you.

Oh, I’m almost choked with stress. But reading about your experience, I’m feeling much better. Thanks. I’ll try to believe that things will look up.

Thank you. You think so? I hope so.

Oh, thank you for sharing your experience. So there are bento shops in Vancouver? I wonder how people like Japanese bento.
Yeah, I really hope that I can enjoy eating soon. Right now it’s like I can’t enjoy doing any activity or eating anything.

Thank you. Right now it’s hard to believe that I’ll be alright someday, but I’ll try.

Oh, I feel so encouraged to hear that people can hold on and finally get used to it. I hope I am one of them. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Just think how long the other people have been at the shop. That's why the bento prices are embedded into their brain. It takes time. Just do your best and it'll come in time. Gambate. BTW, since your watercolor paintings are so nice, your drawings of the bentos must be nice to look at. -lance

obachan said...

Thank you, Lance.
Yeah, I'll try to focus on doing my best and try not to be too paranoid. It's difficult to do so at this point, but I'll try.

Makoto said...

It's been a while since I have been on this blog.... but once again you are making me hungry. ^^ Those crepes look delicious. Anyway just want to wish you all the best in your new job. Sure you will do fine there.
Take care

obachan said...

Thank you, Mako.
Things are (slowly) getting better at my new job. I really appreciate the support from kind-hearted readers of this blog. :)