An Ode to Garbage by Chef Jennifer Boye


We are currently on hiatus until March 1st but that doesn’t mean the blog is stopping. Thanks to our friend Christa Seychew, we will have a guest post every Sunday afternoon. Today’s post is by our friend Jennifer Boye, you can see the previous guest posts by clicking here.

As a cook, I am given the opportunity to work with beautiful ingredients on a daily basis. I can visit a local farm and pluck ripe, dew-kissed vegetables straight from the soil. I am can sample healthy, lovingly crafted dishes prepared by chefs I respect tremendously—and I love that. Every single part of it.

I also love garbage. A lot.

Here’s what is usually on my mind as I drive home after a long kitchen shift: What kind of stale, past-their-prime treats will my dinner consist of this evening? Has the milk in my fridge soured to the point of tasting like olives? Are my Grandma’s cutout cookies from Christmas still safe for consumption? I’m sure they are fine, for Grandmas would never give anyone food poisoning.

As much as I’d like to say that my refrigerator is chockfull of gourmet goodies, that simply isn’t the case. I currently have twelve items in stock, and ten of those items are condiments. There’s also a melted and re-solidified bowl of organic dark chocolate left over from Christmas cookie production. I’m saving it because I’m going to grind up some roasted hazelnuts and make my own homemade Nutella (no I’m not). Behind the chocolate lurks a bottle of apple cider vinegar with the “mother” (pictured above, photo credit). They tell me this is healthy for me. A mother—when speaking in terms of vinegar—is a slimy ball of cellulose and acidic bacteria. Yum. As delicious and wholesome as that sounds, the fact that it looks like a big snot only sweetens the deal. I guess I’d better keep searching.

lake effect

If I were to have my way, ice cream would be on the menu every single night. Pints of ice cream, eaten straight from the container. If you are the type of person that scoops ice cream from a pint container into a bowl, then you, my friend, can hit the bricks. That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. IT COMES IN ITS OWN BOWL. A pint of ice cream is a single serving, and no one is going to tell me otherwise. And if you think I’m about to dirty a spoon, you can think again. What is this, the Ritz-Carlton? Disposable chopsticks? Perfect. Just don’t break them apart and you’ve got yourself an adequate little utensil. A stale pretzel rod, on the other hand, is my favorite ice cream-to-gullet transport. This can be tricky if your frozen treat isn’t fairly soft, but I don’t mind that one bit. Ten minutes of thawing time gives me the perfect opportunity to savor my amuse bouche of parmesan Goldfish cracker and onion dip.
As much as I’m willing to defame my own character by admitting to such unsavory habits, I also think it’s fair to give credit where credit is due. I snack on the good stuff too, when I have the time to procure it. Daniel Oles’ gorgeous kale? I’m hooked. Elm Street Bakery’s sourdough? One hundred percent addicted. But you can’t tell me that a little port wine cheese spread wouldn’t do a fine job of gilding the lily.

They say that everything is about balance, don’t they? If that is the case, then I think I’m going to be just fine.

Jennifer Boye is the executive chef of the Mansion on Delaware Avenue. As a Nickel City Chef she will face-off against challenger Michael Dimmer (Black Market Food Truck) on March 23.

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