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» Restaurants, Kitchens and Bars... Oh my!

Serving food to people you never meet...
I was hired for three days to help cover an illness in the kitchen at Walls's sausage machine factory in Machester's docklands. This was the oddest canteen I've ever worked in. We kitchen staff spent most of the day cooking food. We cooked/prepared everything starting at 8 am and working until 1 pm; from breakfast, through lunch, dinner, supper and snacks; eggs (scrambled, fried and poached), sausage, bacon, tomato, black pudding, pies, hot-pot, stew, chips, fish, chops, salad, cheesecake, cakes, fruit, the bloody lot.

What did we do with all this freshly cooked food? Serve it through a hatch? Carry it out waitress-style? Silver service, even?

No. We flash chilled it, plated it up as if it was hot, then entombed it in cling film. These culinary masterpieces then had a coloured sticky label stuck on by the 'chef de cuisine' Tony (of course) and were placed in rotating compartments ranged along one wall of the kitchen. As we opened the door to do a 'fill', the light on the far side went out and only we could turn the carousel. The carousels would turn round at the request of someone in the canteen, who would remove the meal and follow the colour coded sticker placed by Tony. There was, apparently, a bank of microwave ovens out there with coloured labels stuck over the buttons.

We filled the drinks dispensers with cans and bottles from the rear as well, and there was another, smaller carousel for plate returns.

The factory staff worked shifts, 24 hours a day, and we never heard any more than a dozen or so people at any one time in the canteen. We never went into the canteen, only Tony did that. He would unlock the door and return a few minutes later with a tray of empty sauce bottles, sugar dispensers and salt pots for refilling. He would take out a box of sealed, disinfectant soaked cloths which the workers used to clear up after themselves. The canteen floor was mopped by the factory cleaners, we mopped the kitchen floor.

We never, ever, EVER saw any of the workers. One night, I lurked around outside the gates waiting to see one of these mysterious workers, but all I ever saw were shadows moving behind the obscuring, translucent panels in the walls, high up on the side of the factory.

It was very freaky.
(Wed 26th Jul 2006, 12:43, More)

» World's Sickest Joke

Iran nuclear weapons.
Shah al la lala lalala
Shah al la lala lalala
Shah al la lala lalala

When George is yawning
On a Texas Sunday morning
How he longs to destroy
Ayatollah Ali Kha-men-ei
Every lonely city where uranium's at
Ain't as half as pretty when he's done with it

Is this the way to Arm-Khamenei?
Every night it's been buggin our Georgy.
Dreaming dreams of Al-Khamenei
Weapons inspectors work for him

Show me the way to Arm-Khamenei
A mushroom cloud is starting to billow
Rising over Al-Khamenei
And his nuclear energy

Shah al la lala lalala
Shah al la lala lalala
Shah al la lala lalala
And his nuclear energy

There's a death knoll ringing
Hear the song of doom that it's singing
For Al-Khamenei
And the guy who's coming to see him

Just beyond the highway,
there's a great big plane
And its going to keep going
through the wind and flame

Is this the way to Arm-Khamenei?
Every night it's been buggin' our Georgy.
Dreaming dreams of Al-Khamenei
Weapons inspectors work for him

Show me the way to Arm-Khamenei
A mushroom cloud is starting to billow
Rising over Al-Khamenei
And Iran's nuclear energy

Shah al la lala lalala
Shah al la lala lalala
Shah al la lala lalala
And Iran's nuclear energy

Shah al la lala lalala
Shah al la lala lalala
Shah al la lala lalala
And Iran's nuclear energy

Shah al la lala lalala
Shah al la lala lalala
Shah al la lala lalala
And Iran's nuclear energy
(Fri 13th Jan 2006, 15:38, More)