Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Others will never taste Grandma’s great cooking.

I’ve had the total misfortune to witness a G.I.D. (governmental intrusion disaster) unfold for months on end now in the commercial space next door to my shop.
A very nice woman decided to try and achieve her dream of opening a great little pizza parlor there. Not just another of the hundreds of standard franchise models but a home made, brick fired oven variety. The kind of oven I’ve seen while watching a travel channel in some far away island community. A place the locals hang out drinking exotic drinks while watching the suns rays slowly sink into the abyss of the Ocean.

I’m guessing now but I can imagine she will use a secret sauce that was proudly passed down for generations in her family. My admittedly overindulgent imagination would also include the dough. Not a dough from a box with an ingredient list in some foreign language as long as the Constitution, thrown together with water but something her Grandmother taught her to make with the main ingredients being love and patience for perfection.

Now that’s one hell of a wonderful dream the lady has, wouldn’t you agree? What could it possibly take to throw together a nice little pizza parlor to serve the locals a great tasting pizza?
Admittedly the building we’re talking about is old. Very old. Probably pushing 100 years old in fact. Still, some wall, floor and ceiling treatments, a little paint, some kitchen appliances, the oven of course and some tables and chairs for the patrons and BAM! “Welcome folks. Come on in. Your nice hot, bubbling pizza straight from the brick fired oven will be ready in a moment. Have a glass of wine or a beer while you wait.”

Approximately 17 years ago, when I rented my commercial space next door, in the same 100 year old building, it was already painted so all I had to do to create a Barbershop was put up some mirrors, install a sink and slide the old fashioned Barber Chair in place. Then some nice rocking chairs for the clientele and “Welcome folks. Have a seat. I’ll be with you shortly.”
If I remember correctly, it took all of a week to open for business.

Now back to the nice lady trying her best to open a little pizza business next door.
The first activity I saw and of course heard, being right next door was a whole lot of demolition. They obviously had to tear out a lot of the old wood, wiring and what little plumbing there in order to upgrade the whole thing to modern standards.
It all seemed to be going well until everything stopped one day. Which turned into not days but weeks, then months.
When I asked, they told me they ran into the dreaded building department monster.

Now my life experience admittedly does not include all the modern requirements in this day and age to create a space to handle food but the things I was hearing from the contractor and workers’ trying to do their jobs was horrifying at the least.

First of all, instead of hiring some draftsman to pencil in some general drawings for the place, they had to hire an architectural engineer for god’s sake. Now his work extended the timeline another month or more. He for reasons unknown did not work out in the end, so they had to hire a new and improved architectural engineer. Of course his work only added another few months to the now ridiculously long drawn out process.
Again I have no idea what’s involved in achieving this little project but was constantly amazed at how long this was taking.

Finally one day, when I came to work it was a beehive of activity with grins on everyone’s faces as they told me everything was in place and it was a go! Then the bangs, crashes, air guns blasting and shaking enough to knock things off my walls commenced in earnest once again.
With every apology offered, I always responded with “No problem. Just happy you’re on your way now.”

Once more silence prevailed.

This new bureaucratic brick wall had something to do with a “Grease Trap doohickey”, which costs thousands of dollars by the way and has to be reviewed and approved by several arms of the permit department, as more weeks flow by.

Using her California bureaucratic travesty as a lead in, as the title of this piece infers, because of these insane food processing rules, our free choices of what, where and how we enjoy food is only going to get more and more mind numbingly generic and tasteless. Because Grandma is flat out not allowed to cook in her own kitchen and serve to the public from her front porch swinging bench, the general public will never get the chance to enjoy the delicious food she regularly prepares for her family. Food by the way she’s prepared and served most of her life with no one turning green and keeling over with some exotic disease never heard of before or since.

No sir. The only food available to the masses (that’s us folks) will be served from the confines of the mass marketed franchise verity. With meat products from boxes labeled “Eatable Meat”, as I observed in the loading zone of a McDonalds on my very LAST visit there.

So no folks. You will NOT be allowed to taste the wonders passed down through the generations from folk’s family recipes, straight from their regular kitchens. You’ll have to settle for the tasteless garbage offered at the McPlastic establishments only.
So at the least, treasure every chance you get to set down in Grandma’s kitchen and savor every morsel of heaven offered therein……..

Lastly, all I can say to the nice lady next door is “Hang in there. Hopefully in the end, we’ll all get a chance to enjoy your offering from the heart.”

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