by Eddie Morin | January 17, 2017 1:29 pm
Ok, so I’ve been working in the kitchen at B & G Tasty Foods for about 15 years now. I never had any culinary training before that, and have never worked in a different kitchen, so my experience is pretty limited. I’m sure I do things my own way, which might be a good thing, but probably not. I’m wrong a lot. For 15 years I’ve been slicing tomatoes by hand, one slice at a time. I just accepted it, but it doesn’t have to be that way! I just learned about tomato slicers. Life has been great ever since. I’m absolutely sure I have your attention now, and this part of my article is done. Moving on to phase two.
Okay, okay, okay. So, we do this thing now at B & G where we provide sandwiches for high school kids, who go down to watch movies at Film Streams. These are educational movies and stuff with merit. Not just like, Jennifer’s Body or something. Then, they have a discussion. The kids are working, right? It’s not like they just wanted to get out of school to go see a movie. Yeah, so we are making these sandwiches, and there are a TON of them. I don’t get out a lot, so I thought there would be about 100 high school kids or something along those lines. Well, as it turns out, there are more like 17 million high school kids in Omaha.
Slicing these tomatoes just got pretty serious, right? So there I am slicing millions of tomatoes and one of our other cooks, Eric Shew, says to me, “Hey, my brother said we should get a tomato slicer.” At first, I was like, well screw your brother. You see, I used to work at Gamers (the video game store) and, Mike Shew, Eric’s older brother fired me for selling defective merchandise back to the store. I didn’t know it was defective because I kind of stole it, and I had never tested it out. But it wasn’t really stolen, my manager said I could just have the stuff in the repair room because our repair guy quit and so that stuff was just going to rot back there. So, with permission, I took the games and systems that were back there, and I’m kind of dumb and didn’t realize that stuff was probably back there because it was broken. I worked at the 72nd Street location, but the Brentwood location has this Japanese game called Pepsi Man that I really wanted, so I took the newly acquired stuff over there and traded it in for Pepsi Man. I was excited. Then, the next day I get a call from Mike Shew saying I was fired because all the stuff I traded in was broken. Now, I know I got permission to take the stuff, but I didn’t want to get my manager in trouble, because at that point, I’m thinking maybe he didn’t have the right to give all the stuff to me. Plus, I felt like an idiot because, of course, the stuff was broken, it was in the repair room. I was temporarily blinded by Pepsi Man. So anyway, Mike Shew fired me. Since then, Mike has been great and even helped me out with some jobs more recently. He was just doing what he was supposed to be doing. But really, if someone fires you, even if it is your fault, you are kind of like, “screw that guy,” right?
Alright, well back to the part where Eric’s brother, Mike, said we should get a tomato slicer. My initial reaction was “screw Mike Shew,” but then right away I thought, “oh yeah, that was my fault. Maybe we should get a tomato slicer.” Right in the middle of cutting 700 slices of tomato with a knife, I decide to go over to Hockenbergs and look for a slicer. I was imagining a little plastic thing for about 30 bucks. I get there and Ray is right at the counter. Ray is great, by the way. Super helpful dude. So I say to Ray, “Ray, I think I might be in the market for a tomato slicer.” Ray shows me the slicer and it is way more intense than I imagined. I knew this wasn’t going to be $30. I ask Ray how much it is, and he says about $250. Holy smokes. That’s a lot of money. Can I afford a $250 tomato slicer? Tune in next issue to see how this ends up…
Haha, just kidding. I’m going to do it all right now.
Ray can see I’m pretty uncomfortable about this whole expensive slicer thing, so he tells me that they are really nice and totally worth it. So, I angrily pointed my finger right at him and said, “Oh yeah? How do you know, Ray? How do you even know if it’s worth it?” Ray then calmly told me about how he managed a Little King restaurant for six years. In fact, he said, “I managed a Little King for six years.” I’m no expert on what it takes to manage a Little King for six years, but I’d have to imagine it involves slicing a lot of tomatoes. Six years is a long time to manage a Little King and not learn anything about slicing tomatoes. So, I curled my still extended finger back in and said, “Ok. Box her up.”
Back at B & G, I opened up the slicer. It is a Nemco 56600-1 3/16-inch model. Top of the line, baby. Here are a few facts to get you up to snuff on your slicer knowledge. The Nemco 56600-1 features:
Those features are right off the manufacturer’s website, so you know they are true.
Ray said we should also get a tomato corer and a drain shelf too, but I don’t want to lose you on all this lingo, so I’ll leave that stuff out. We got the whole setup, ok. I don’t want to get any fan mail telling me I did it all wrong.
I throw my first tomato in the slicer and push the handle, and just like that, 11 perfect slices come out. I almost fainted. Technology! I had to have more. I ended up slicing about 40 more tomatoes. I made all my staff come back and slice tomatoes. That’s when I realized I was in love. As Dan, or Eric, or Joey sliced, I looked on jealously. I smiled and said they were doing a good job, but I could tell they were just using her. They didn’t love her like I did. I asked them what they thought and everyone was really impressed, but then they quietly got back to their other tasks. They weren’t smitten like I was. I read the manual. I took it apart. I showed Eric how to clean her properly. I installed the table hook so you could slice more effectively with one hand. The slicer and me, we are a team now. I have to leave her at B & G when I go home though, because I’m married.
That’s pretty much it. You should go talk to Ray and get yourself a slicer if you want to improve your life. After all, he did manage a Little King for six years. Oh and my manager at Gamers name was Matt Duncan. He was actually a really great guy, but what happened, happened, and he isn’t blameless in the above documented situation.
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