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November 2007

 November 6

Our first night at the Mervi Fireside Cafe was a great success thanks to all who partook of our food and service. Someone kept changing the sign in the Dining Room that said "Don't feed the Waiter." There was written: Please feed the Waiter, Double portions for the Waiter, and For good service, feed the Waiter and Tip the Waiter with Croissants. Both menus were well received; however, the Traditional German Menu seemed to be the favorite tonight. No, there were NOT any chocolate pig knuckles either.

The last diners of the night were treated to a special dance by the tall, white, fuzzy waiter. It seems a certain lady, whose husband knows all about bears, was swept off her feet by the lovable Waiter. They waltzed around the Cafe to the tune of the Blue Danube. Many twirls, dips and gentle lifts topped off the dance. Both left the dance floor completely breathless. The lady was overheard telling her husband as they left the Cafe "Why Can't You Dance Like That?" "You must have him teach you!" Mervi and I thank you and invite you to come again to Mervi's Fireside Cafe.

November 6

We are in the kitchen of Mervi's Fireside Cafe this morning. Joining us today is Retta. "Retta, I assume you have some experience in the kitchen." Retta: "Well, yes, I do know that it comes with the house." "Tell us Retta, what is your most memorible experience in the kitchen." Retta: "That would have to be the time I met the entire Fire Department in my kitchen. I was going to have biscuits for breakfast and I placed them into the oven to cook. I did remember to light the oven but . . . as they started to cook, I began hearing an explosion in my oven. When I opened the oven door the biscuits were stuck to the walls of the oven and the container they came in was on fire. The instructions did not tell me to remove them from the container first. We did not have biscuits that morning. The Fire Department took me out for breakfast after they put the fire out in my kitchen."

We seem to have ran out of croissants twice last night. I must order more this morning. Perhaps the guests are eating more than I planned. They are tasty. Must run for now, will give updates on our progress later.

 November 7

Phew! Taking a break, getting ready for the dinner rush. We have a line out the door waiting for tables. It seems everyone is facinated by the tall, white, fuzzy waiter with cute ears. He has such a "way with the ladies" and the gentlemen, well, they call him a "Man's man." There has been a rush on the pig knuckles today, seems they are a big hit, but we still seem to be running out of croissants. I can't figure it out. I doubled the order with the bakery this morning, perhaps, I need to count them when they come in tomorrow morning.

 There was only a small mishap in the kitchen today. Seems Retta tied bows on the pig knuckles to brighten them up, but the bows faded into the knuckles. Now we have pink, purple, green and orange pig knuckles. Oh, there was the small incident with pushing the red button, but the Fire Department was very understanding about that. We gave them a sample from the kitchen and they overlooked the "accidental" call. Ah, back to work. What is that waiter eating now???

November 7

Well, I did it, yes I did. I counted every single croissant delivered here this morning as they came off the Bakery truck. The order and the count matched. Today I ordered 6 dozen, which totals 72 croissant. That should be enough. I had help, the tall, white, fuzzy waiter with cute ears came early to help me count and put them up for our lunch crowd. He is so helpful to come in early today. Today I have Luisa helping me in the kitchen. She was able to sneak away from her desk to assist me. I did explain that we cannot change the appearance of any of the food with bows and to NOT PRESS THE RED BUTTON unless we have a fire.

We are pealing potatoes right now to go with the pig knuckles. And No! we do not carve the potatoes into life-like figures of polar bears. "Luisa, please, no liquor in the Cassoulet of Flageolet Beans." "Yes, I know it's native to your Country." "No! No champagne, either." She said something about "the hair of the dog" and last night and headache. "Yes, the asprin is in the First-Aid kit." Oh, dear, now the lights have gone out in the kitchen. I must run!

MERVI: You don't think our Waiter has anything to do with the missing croissant, do you? I have noticed that his apron does have large pockets. I just assumed it was to carry extra napkins for the customers. He seems so diligent in his service, how will I ever approach him with this question? Naw! Must be some other explaination for the missing croissants. Oh, we fixed the lights in the kitchen. Seems Luisa thought the switch looked "prettier" pushed down instead of up. It's time to get the Duck Confit out of the oven. Must run now.

November 8

The lunch rush is in full swing and so far it's going smoothly. The tall waiter with the white fuzzy hair and cute ears has put on roller skates today to serve the guests. So far, there have only been two tiny mishaps. He came out of the kitchen with a tray full of Duck confit at full speed, missed the table and now the duck legs are stuck on the wall above the front door. We can't reach them and they are falling off, one at a time as guests come in the door. One gentleman, who had on a delightful hat with a feather on it, now has a duck leg to go with the feather.

The other tiny mishap was when the duck thigh flew into a glass of red wine. The customer's only statement was "You really should serve the duck with white wine." Some of the customers have complained that they are not getting their croissants they ordered. That is still a mystery. However; I did notice the waiter has on a rather large apron today. He said something about it being his tutu. I will follow up on this after the lunch rush. Oh dear, "No, no, no, do not put pig knuckles with Toulouse sausage!" I must run for now. My helper today in the kitchen is Catherine. She has tried to sneak in a styrofoam container of Oomlots. Thank goodness Barbara was every watchful and was able to remove them from the kitchen in the nick of time. Will give follow-up report later.

November 8

Well, the lunch rush is over and we are preparing for dinner. Catherine heard a noise over the building, took off her apron, ran out the door and was heard mumbling something about the "MotherShip . . . had to run . . . Starship!" and off she went. She was delightful today, well, except for the OOMLOTS. The tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears has offered to help in the kitchen as well as wait tables. I could use his help, but I don't want to tire him out.

The waiter and I had a cup of coffee and a croissant after lunch. When I offered him a second croissant, he said he was full already. I am puzzled since he didn't have lunch. I have noticed that the pole with the roast on it for the Doner Keba seems to have "bite marks." Maybe it's just the way we have cut pieces of meat from it. Well, it's back to work. The potatoes are ready to be place in the pot with the pig knuckles. So . . . it's off to the kitchen again. Will return later.

November 14

We had a good lunch crowd today! I have been finding crumbs on the floor, but I can't decide if they are croissant crumbs or bread crumbs. Not only that, now the croissants are getting smaller. Almost like they've been cut in half. And . . . the tall, white, fuzzy waiter with the cute ears seems a little rounder. I wonder . . .

Naw, well . . . Naw. Silly thought, he couldn't be the one eating all the croissants. Luisa stopped by to "help" in the kitchen. When I sent her out to the storage room to get the squash to roast she came back and said we didn't have any. I said I know we did! She couldn't find the squash tree. I said "No Luisa, there is no squash tree. They are in boxes." She has this faint odor about her that smells ever so sweet and she now has the hiccups. I hope Mervi locked the liquor cabinet because I think Luisa might have gotten into it. Especially when she started singing to the lunch crowd in a loud, high pitched voice. Kind of like an Opera singer with a bad cold. And to top it off, she was singing "Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail." That's an Easter song. We are in the Holiday Season here. Oh dear! Someone get Luisa down from the mantel over the fireplace. Now she is doing the CanCan. I must run before she takes over the entire dining room. More to follow.

November 14

Luisa found the flask at Mervi's chair and drained it. Now she is sleeping in the chair making loud noises from her mouth. I don't think she's singing, kind of sounds like a piece of paper caught in the spokes of a bicycle going round and round. Mervi confirmed that she has the key and the liquor cabinet is indeed locked. Our tall, white, fluffy waiter with the cute ears has brought a small scooter into the kitchen. His reasoning is that he can get trays out to the diners more quickly. I told him that if he went safely and slowly I would allow him to give it a try tonight at dinner. He has put a big, squeeky horn on the handle bars to warn the other waiters he's "coming thru." We shall see.

TONIGHT WE LIGHT THE FIREPLACE for the first time this Winter. With the weather so bitterly cold I thought it would be a nice touch for the diners. Yes, we do have a bucket of water handy, just in case. More to follow after the dinner rush.

November 15

Luisa was safely returned home and is resting for the evening. Tonight we lit the Fireplace at Mervi's Fireside Cafe. I asked the tall, white, fuzzy waiter with the cute ears to do the honors. We stacked the wood with the kindling in the fireplace in the proper manner. He sweetly took my hand and insisted we do it together. (What a gentleman!) We struck the match, put it to the kindling and the fire rose into the chimney lighting the most beautiful fire you have ever seen. For the occassion I decided to put on a "milk maid costume" to look the part. It was so beautiful, well, until my cap caught fire and burned my eyebrows and eyelashes off. In trying to put out my fire, the waiter caught his cut-away coat on fire and the buttons started popping off like bullets as the patrons "bobed and weaved" to avoid being hit by the buttons. At that point, the waiter grabbed the bucket of water and tossed it on my head putting out my fire. Except for looking like a sunburn my face is fine.

Well, except for not having eyebrows, eyelashes and now some thatches of hair are missing, too. I look as though I have a bad case of molting like a chicken that has been plucked. The waiter now has bits of fur floating in the sauerkraut and some of the pig knuckles are roasting in the fireplace. We are both covered with soot and smell like wet rats from the burned fur. But, we are both okay. Someone kindly put out the fire in the fireplace and we have vowed not to relight it this Season. As we left for the kitchen, we received a standing ovation from the diners. They thought it was part of a dinner show we offered with dinner. It wasen't. The waiter and I have decided to end the night early and have allowed the remainder of the staff to close up for the night.

MERVI: I am so sorry about the fire last night but there really was not much damage. I managed to leave the Mervi's Fireside Cafe pretty much intact. We came in early and made sure the staff has the dining room ready for lunch today. Our staff did an excellent job! You would never know there had been a fire at all. Well, except for the slight burnt smell and we are working on airing the place out. The tall, white, fuzzy waiter with the cute ears did not have a chance to use his scooter in the dining room last night before the fire, so we will be trying that at lunch if there are enough diners. Well, it's off to the oven, time to get the duck legs and thighs out of the oven and on to the next step in preparing them. Will write more later.

November 16

Since there has been dispute regarding the place of practice, I have choosen a room just off the kitchen at Mervi's Fireside Cafe. You will not have to share the room with anything or anyone, it is yours and yours alone. I have had mirrors installed, nice, big, soft couches and several big over-stuffed chairs. There is also a table for snacks and a small refrigerator for your libations. I even had your own bathroom installed with a shower to freshen-up after practice. We at Mervi's Fireside Cafe will spare no expense to make our dancers happy. Not only that, the horses were beginning to complain about the sirens when the ambulances had to come and pick up a dancer. It was hurting their ears. So . . . ladies . . . enjoy! We do expect great dancing from all concerned!

November 24 (from Retta)

I have a confession to make. It was I, not Eva, who served poached salmon with peanut butter sauce and mashed carrots instead of potatoes and asparagus pie with vanilla ice cream and smothered with hollandaise sauce. Because of all the pandemonium that folowed, I didn't want to admit to my impersonation of Eva, so I went down to the root cellar and began washing potatoes. I have washed all the potatoes I can find and then washed them again, and I guess I have no choice but to come out now and face veryone. You see, Eva got a chance to go to Le Cordon Bleu, Academie d' Art Culinaire de Paris. She made arrangements, before she left for Paris, to close Mervi's Fireside Cafe for "renovations" until she got back. But I have worked in the kitchen so long now that I felt good and ready to be chef. I talked it over with that fuzzy white waiter on roller sakes, and he encouraged me to disguise myself as Eva and have a go at it. He even inspired some of my wonderful creations when he told me that Eva had a lot of stuff squirreled away in the freezer, and I could just combine them as I liked.

Well, I stil don't understand why all the patrons got so upset and ran over the CAN CAN dancers. My creations tasted wonderful and looked even better! Deta the Bendy is one of my best friends...to think she was so insured that she had to go to the hospital! When all the furor broke out, that fuzzy white waiter escaped on the bike of that Handsome Doctor and left me to face the music all alone. Well, I just couldn't, so that's why I ran down to the root cellar and began washing potatoes.

It must be understood that I can't be held responsible for Yeoman getting lost with the Starship Knuterprise. From what I have heard, they have been having a pretty darn good time on that ship....champagne and everything.....well, you know!

Eva is coming back tomorrow with her medal and diploma from Le Cordon Bleu. I have cleaned the Cafe up, so she need never know what happend. There are a few broken chairs and dishes, but I have Wonderglued them and she will never notice. I hope everyone will keep my confidence. We wouldn't want to spoil Eva's joy at this further recognition of her extraordinary cooking talents, now would we? Anyhow, I did show initiative, and you can't blame a girl for trying.

I will go back to washing potatoes, but, Mervi, I think I am ready for bigger things. Please think about it.

November 24

Tomorrow the Mervi's Fireside Cafe will re-open for business. I have been away at that French cooking school in Paris learning more cooking skills. They had a special class on The Management of Employees that I especially needed to take!!! They even had a segment on waiters who are tall, white, fuzzy with cute ears. And one on employees pilfering in the food. I learned a great deal and hope to put it all into practice. I do have a question: some of the furniture looks "different." Can't put my finger on it but somehow different. Did anyone do something with the chairs? They look okay, but . . . different somehow. Somehow the dining room looks too clean, too. Where did all the potatoes (that look washed) come from? Until tomorrow, live, love and eat.

The Mervi's Fireside Cafe has re-opened after a week of being closed while I went to that Cooking School in Paris. Today I have Retta in the kitchen helping me. (Dear Lord, give me strength) I did have to show her how to use the knife, actually the blade is what cuts the vegetables, not the blunt side. Just to be on the safe side, at the suggestion of our Insurance Lady, I do have the Emergency Services on speed-dial, too. I have Retta cutting up some of those potatoes she washed so well. Next week I will change the menu but for right now I have the same things cooking.

We had a small crowd for lunch but I look forward to being busy for supper. The tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears has on his roller skates today. Well, he did until he hit a slick spot going into the dining room and wound up in the fireplace. It took three showers to get him clean again, not to mention the pig knuckles imbedded into his fur. At least he didn't hit any patrons this time. The other waiter now has sticky gravy all over his jacket but we didn't have time to stop and wash it yet. The patrons who have their pets with them now are trying to round them up since they are following the waiter with the gravy. Yes, we do allow "well behaved pets" I am beginning to re-think this since we do have the occassional misshap with food. And they were running amok after that.

Dear Catherine, I have had padding placed on the floor in the "practice room" for you ladies who do get so "caught up" in your high kick routines and bust your bumm. We can't have CanCan dancers with purple bumms, can we? So, until supper, I will go supervise Retta and hope there is no "blood letting" in the kitchen.

I have decided to NOT relight the fireplace this Season. The insurance lady suggested I find another way to "warm the place."

November 26

Dinner was a success. The diners were enchanted by the "trial run" of the CanCan Dancers led by Luisa. There was a twisting, twirling line of CanCan Dancers going back and forth thru the dining room, doing beautifully I might add, until . . . Luise lost her footing and went bottoms up into the table of Herr Klos and his family. Luisa then became the centerpiece all decked in Pig Knuckles, boiled potatoes and bread pudding. The caramel sauce clung to her hair making it look as though she had tan glue making ringlets of curls around her face. Their dog, Schotzy, was delighted as she tried to pull the curls out as she licked the caramel sauce from her face. Luise was screeching the whole while "Get the dog from my face!!!" But all turned out well. The Klos' took their dog and a gift certificate for another dinner and left without further ado. Luisa is now in the shower and the other CanCan dancers are helping her with her bandages. So . . . until tomorrow, I bid you all a fond farewell.








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