Saturday, October 22, 2011


Today, straight out of the shoot, I was given the glorious duty of zesting 40 lemons. We've all been here before so I won't go into a long saga of how my hands are now crippled and my fingers are dried and peeling. I was, however, a bit pissed off that while Hirimo and everyone else was topping tarts for the shop, my one highlight of the day, I was zesting away like a madman. Ok, madman may be a bit of an exaggeration since I stayed up until one am last night watching the newest episode of Pretty Little Liars (perhaps my favorite shitty show out there) and so I was a little too tired to be very mad or manly first thing in the morning.

After zesting I got to continue on the citrus train and juice 2 liters of lemons, and 2 liters of lime juice. Woo hoo, howdy fun time! But as usual I didn't complain. I save that for my blog. And honestly I wasn't upset about it. But when I looked at the to-do list for the day and saw Hirimo's initials next to the creme citron, then I got a bit pissed.

This is a new thing that my boss and Alberique have been doing. I'm not exactly sure which one of them chooses who does what but now next to the to-do list is the initials of whoever will be the lucky person to complete that task. To-Do lists are fairly normal in every kitchen but I've never seen them doled out like this. And of course this means I get to see all the fun things they're planning before I'm told to do them. At least I get to prepare myself for the excitement.

But today I was hoping, hoping, that somehow they were going to switch it around and have me do the creme citron. How could they have me doing all the grunt work for Hirimo? Surely they wouldn't do that to me. Oh...but they would. Those damn bastards have now put me as the lowest man on the totem pole. Not only is Hirimo blessed enough to get actual real jobs, I am also now his bitch. I just don't understand why they dislike me so much. What did I do?

(see that jackass on the bottom, that's me!)

I have tried to figure this out numerous times. It isn't because I'm American because they love Cecilia and she's American, too. It's not because I don't speak french very well because Hirimo can't speak any french and they like him more than they like me. Alberique may constantly give me shit because I'm too slow but I really do try to work as quickly as possible. I come to work on time, I don't bitch about going over hours, and I certainly don't complain about getting all the shit jobs. So where, exactly, did I step in it?

While the bells of freedom are ringing not too far off from this wretched day, they aren't exactly clanging against my head either. I seriously considered just not going in this morning because really, what's the point? But then I remembered that whole little issue of my visa renewal and the fact that I actually NEED this internship to get it. So I'll use them to get my visa extended just like they're using me to do all the crappity crap crap jobs. But until that happens I have to stick around and put up with their abuse. Woe is me.

It's hard not to take it personally when I can see that it obviously is, somewhat, personal. Sure they're French and it's expected, but they blatantly treat me differently than the other interns. Perhaps they're just jealous of my perfectly straight teeth or striking eyebrows. Maybe Alberique is secretly in love with me and so abusing me like a playground crush. Or maybe Hirimo and Cecilia both slept with the boss and so have "earned" the right to make things while I sit like some prude cutting onions. But really, I think they just don't see how awesome I am and so are perfectly content letting me fester in my own citrusy nightmare.

I did, actually, get to make something today though. One of the easiest recipes ever, I was allowed to make Glacage Rose. It's essentially just boiling water, throwing in some gelatin sheets, and topping it off with Eau de Rose. But still, at least I was in danger of burning myself. That's the kind of excitement I look for in a kitchen, not fearing the plastic wrap container is going to bite me... again. Glacage is something I had no knowledge of before going to pastry school. It's very popular over here. They seem to put it on top of almost everything. It's a gelatin mixture that, when liquid, is poured over a cake or something like that, giving it an everlasting glossy finish. It's really pretty, actually, but I find the stuff on its own to be quite disgusting. It's pretty much just straight gelatin, and it doesn't taste all that good either. But it looks a lot classier than it is, making it the trophy wife of the pastry world.

But, alas, my time with the tacky tramp that is glacage was short lived and I was back to cleaning, segmenting oranges, and putting things on gold cardboard rounds for the shop. While the one glimmer into the world that I so desperately want to be a part of did make me think twice about my planned departure, I was quickly brought back down to earth. Even if they do, slowly, let me make things, at this rate I won't get past making things I already know how to make. And let's not forget that the atmosphere is terrible. Alberique is an ass who mocks me to my face. The bosses are mentally unstable. Everyone else is, well, French. The place is unorganized and has a constant hectic air of panic. If this were the states I would've been long gone by now. So why does the fact that I'm in Paris make it any different?

The reality is that it shouldn't. If anything my standards should be higher. There's an entire, cultured, unexplored world out there waiting for me and my time with it is limited. It's like Never Never Land except I don't have my whole childhood to enjoy it, I just have these six months. So instead of zesting lemons I'm going to think of happy thoughts, take the second star to the right, and go straight on til morning.

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