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I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

Taste Testers

Many times I'm guilty of preparing a recipe that I think looks totally awesome and then not really being moved by the finished product. It happens often and I've come to the conclusion that it has to do with the fact that I'm constantly tasting each component of the recipe along the way and by the time I get to the grand finale I feel like I've already been there, done that. Also, since I work around food all day, every day, I've lost my zest for most things that once excited me. Case in point...I love, love, love boiled shrimp. Used to anyway...up until this past summer when the catering kitchen did a shrimp boil for 150 people on one of the hottest days of the year. I tell ya, once you unload 70 pounds of the frozen crustaceans from a truck, pack them into coolers to thaw, load them into a vehicle, unload them at the job site, cook them, smell them, feel them....well, you see where I'm going with this. As much as I love(d) them, I still can't look at them the same way that I used to.

That's where unbiased, third-party taste testers come in handy. Someone who hasn't gorged themselves on or been knee deep in the raw materials and who is capable of evaluating the item set before them because they are looking at it and tasting it for the first time. I have only one rule in my kitchen - not counting the unspoken rule of cleaning up after yourself - if I make something and you don't like it, you'd better be honest and tell me. It won't hurt my feelings, I promise. If you don't tell me and I make it a second time because I thought you liked it the first time and THEN you tell me that you didn't like it the first time.....well, we're gonna have a problem. Captain Sturm has no problem with said rule (well, sometimes I have to remind him of the clean up after yourself rule) and he's actually been kind enough to point out some of my less than stellar kitchen performances but those times have been far and few between because there isn't alot that Captain Sturm will veto when set before him. Luckily, when I need a second opinion I have three other taste testers that I can default to. Fortunately or unfortunately - however you wish to view it - there is very little that these testers will veto as well. Either I'm one fine cook or I need to find more discriminating palates to judge my fare. When I ran across
Peanut Butter Etouffee's blog event, I knew it was high time I introduced you to my panel of taste tasters and give credit where credit was due.


First up, we have Jesse James. Mr. James has volunteered his less-than-discriminatory palate to Someone's In The Kitchen on a part-time basis for nearly 6 years now. He would prefer to work full-time but unfortunately is afflicted with a delicate digestive system which prevents him from participating in some of the richer, tastier testings. Not much on paying attention to detail, Jesse prefers to gobble his food offerings whole and is often left wondering, "what exactly was that?" Since he is unable to join his fellow testers on most occasions, he supplements the void by vacuuming up any crumbs and morsels that have found their way to the floor. This talent has earned him the nickname "Hoover".

Second in command in the taste testing arena is Savory. This raven haired beauty found her way to Someone's In The Kitchen quite by accident about 4-1/2 years ago and has been with us ever since. Don't let her name fool you - she really is a sweetie and has no apparent food hang ups. When not offering her tasting talents to SITK, she can be found dining on a freshly maimed squirrel in the back yard. Savory's palate is a bit more discriminating in the sense that when something is really, really tasty she will make the effort to cry for more instead of just offering up a tail wag of acceptance for a mediocre item.

And last but certainly not least, we have Brown Dog. Miss Savory recruited Brown Dog about 4 years ago from the neighborhood and while we'd love to have him work full-time for us, he prefers a more nomadic schedule. We're not sure how Brown Dog spends his free time but we're just glad to know that when he gets hungry he always thinks of us. BD is a sneaky little tester and has been reprimanded on more than one occasion for tasting before he has been invited to do so. Our camera caught him in action stealing this cookie so keep your eye on him if you happen to sit your plate down and turn your head for just a minute. We can't be responsible for lost or stolen items.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting our fine, dedicated staff members here at Someone's In The Kitchen and we hope you'll visit Peanut Butter Ettouffee's blog for what I'm sure will be an excellent round up of characters!

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4 comments:

Hilda said...

Thank you for the smile. Your taste-testers are adorable!

E. R. Dunhill said...

Alison,
Brown Dog's MO reminds me of my two basenji hounds. They like to consider themselves masters of their own domain, and don't mind helping themselves when the opportunity presents itself.
I'm not sure that they have particularly refined tastes, though.
Bubba's favorite foods: Cheddar cheese, futo maki, bacon
Banjo's favorite foods: Peanut butter, samosas, dead frogs blanching in the sun on the road

LisaRene said...

Dogs are simply the best! Your guys are precious and your lucky you get to "take them to work with you".

Doodles said...

thanks for participating in PBE pets blog. Come back again please.