Years ago, I worked the line with a guy who I wasn't crazy about. He was a decent cook, and a fun dude, but our working styles just didn't click. It was my last week at that restaurant and I was more than ready to close that chapter and not have to see my bff daily for 12 hours.
Every night after shutting down our stations, we were supposed to leave a few pieces of protein for the nighttime porters. Of course, they always wanted the steak–the most expensive cut we carried–and on that night, that's what my co-worker left. That's all fine and good, except for the fact that the head chef announced the day before that we can't leave the steak because food cost is too high. When I reminded my friend that we need to find something else, he dismissed me and left the steak anyway. I chimed in again...he got defensive and left them there. When I pressed the issue–the fact that this is what our bosses simply asked of us–he walked away from me and yelled, "You're.....you're.......such a bitch!" It was the only time I was called a bitch to my face, a word I really find demeaning towards women.
I didn't name call back but I was really upset/about to cry, said, "Seriously??????" and then went to get my stuff and leave for the night. I was over it and the boys club.
The next day I came into work still really pissed over the situation and so disgusted with him and the environment. It just so happened that his mom was coming in for dinner that evening and all I wanted to do was introduce myself as "BITCH."
Hours later, after a verrrry long/semi-torturous dinner rush, I walked upstairs into the kitchen to find her being shown around by her charming son. If I could have avoided them I would have, but they were in my path. You could tell that he was super skeptical to introduce us, but there I was needing to pass them.
Then, the strangest thing happened.
I smiled and only said REALLY good things about him to her.
It's not that I was trying to take the high road (I definitely wasn't), or even that I was lying....it's that seeing his mom (or any mom) walk into her adult kid's workplace, with pride in her eyes and smile in her cheeks, just totally disarmed me. It erased everything bad and wrong in that moment and all I could see was a mom so very proud of her boy.
And that's what I think of when I think of moms and Mother's Day.
This salad is dedicated to my mom. It's one of her favorites.
Baby Kale, Tangerine, Pistachio & Orange Blossom Salad
INGREDIENTS: (Serves 4-6)
- 5 large handfuls baby kale
- 1 handful mint leaves (stems removed), roughly torn
- 4 tangerines, peeled and segmented
- 1 small avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into1/2” pieces
- 1 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
- ½ cup shelled & roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- black pepper, to season
1. Place baby kale in a large mixing bowl. Remove any long, thick stems. Toss in mint leaves. Add the tangerine segments, avocado pieces, sliced fennel and pistachios.
2. To make the dressing: In a separate small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, orange blossom water, salt and pepper.
3. To finish, gently toss the salad with the dressing being sure not to smash the avocado.
–Arugula, mixed greens or regular kale can be easily substituted.
–If you have a mandolin, use that for the fennel. You want it as thin as possible.
–Orange blossom water can now be found at many Whole Foods and other mainstream grocery stores. Also check out Middle Eastern or Indian stores. Or online.