I needed help to deliver breakfast to the press truck for the Bay to Breakers. Oscar was up for it, but I had to lure someone to drive us. At 5:30 in the morning. His brother Steve had a new, nice truck. I told him he'd see naked people (leaving out that the naked were usually over 65, male and droopy). Perhaps we'd meet some famous local journalists, too.
It would've been a great idea to practice making poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Instead, I read the recipe over and over, and thought about the various steps in my head. Truth was, I had no time to practice the day before, because I was helping with the food demos at the Bay to Breakers pavilion, running around buying travel mugs, and getting the smoked salmon and English muffins to go with the breakfast for twelve.
I had helped make a bunch of poached egg for a CCA-Exploratorium video, and remembered one tip: add a dash of vinegar and swirl the water with vigor. So swirl I did. Damn. The eggs were turning into white strings, and falling to the bottom of the big pot. I was starting to sweat in our little kitchen. The oven was blasting, getting the English muffins good and crispy.
Oscar and Steve were assigned hollandaise sauce duty. They both watch a lot of Food TV, and Steve can cook. Oscar was reading the recipe steps back to Steve, who was using the whisk to work magic. Oscar turned on another burner for our Joseph Schmidt hot chocolate, and I could hear and smell hair burning. Steve's arm. "Oscar! Ow!!" Steve yelled. Oscar looked stressed.
"OK, Oscar. Why don't you work on assembling the kits for the food?" I asked, trying to keep things moving without getting too frantic. The plastic containers would hold lettuce and smoked salmon, and we'd add the English muffin, eggs, and sauce last.
I kept stirring the milk, dropping whole disks of Joseph Schmidt chocolate mint disks in. My chef-boss had insisted we use Joseph's stuff, since they are long time pals. This chef was having me cook the breakfast, but was going to wear his chef's jacket and play it off like he cooked it. It seemed funny.
The eggs eventually started to cook up correctly, but there was still a lot of white in the pot. Thank God I overbought. I helped Steve with the sauce, which was more of a thickish paste when we finished. Rather than have the eggs served open faced, I made them all into sandwiches, to cover up the weak sauce.
We drove over. I felt something wet on my foot. Looked down at the hot chocolates and damn! One had spilled over, and was leaking into Steve's nice, new carpet. Paper towels got some of the liquid off, but there was definitely gonna be a nasty stain. Argh. Not a good way to pay someone back who drives you to a catering gig.
Security almost didn't let us through, even though I had a media badge. Oscar and Steve didn't. Look, we're going right there, I said as I smiled REAL big, and pointed to the media crew. Chef-boss spotted me, and came over to straighten things out. The race was going to start in twenty minutes, so our timing worked out. I hid my nervousness as I watched the journalists dig in. They oooohed and ahhhed. One even asked for my card. Chef-boss took credit.
Steve did get to see a few naked people, of the aging male hippies, and middle aged female variety. He enjoyed the excitement and crazy costumes. We took him to Chava's to eat a post race meal. I had nightmares about the eggs and sauce, even a few weeks later. Better luck next time.