Apr 4, 2014

Do you want it fresh, fast, or honest?

I know not many will read this and those that do probably won't recognize themselves in it. Rest assured, anybody who has ever worked fast food will recognize these customers and hopefully recognize it if this is how they have behaved themselves.

1. Food is only fresh for a limited time. For example, where I work, fries are good for seven minutes from the time they come out of the fryer. If it's a slow period, chances are we aren't going to keep a lot up because they will go bad before we can sell them. Constantly throwing them out raises food costs for us, which in turn raises it for you! You can either have it fresh or have it fast, but rarely do you truly get both. I'd much rather wait 3 minutes for fresh and hot fries then get cold ones that have been sitting for a half an hour just to get through the drive thru in 30 seconds.

2. It's never free. Many restaurants are changing to the format of charging for any and all extra sauces. A few don't. However, you will notice these are usually the stores that have higher priced menu items. This is because it's never free, it has to be accounted for somehow. And when customers take advantage of this by asking for a huge handful of sauces to take home and save for their own food, that handful comes from the store's overall food budget. That has to be made up somewhere, usually by prices on the menu going up. And frankly, it's ridiculous to ask for 20 packets of ketchup for a single burger.

3. Don't make false complaints to get free food. If you have a legitimate concern, then please do ask for a replacement. Mistakes do happen. Considering how quickly most fast food places are expected to get the food out, mistakes happen often. Most places will happily replace mistakes, but if you are one of those that constantly complain to get free food, make no mistake- We DO notice you. And we DO keep track of the scam artists. I've worked at several different fast food chains and one of the things they all had in common was called service times. This is usually a set amount of seconds that we are supposed to have the food ready and out to the customer. However, special orders will typically require more time to get ready. It's called fast food not instant food.

When you are labeled as a "complainer" that regularly lies to get free food, you go on a watch list. Chances are the one time something really is wrong with your food, it won't get replaced because you've lied about it so many times we no longer can afford you as a customer.

4. Many fast food restaurants are franchises. Let me explain what this means. The stores have individual owners, much like the smaller mom and pop places. However, they pay a franchise "fee" to be able to use the corporate logo and menus. They are limited to a point on what they can serve as they also have to agree to adhere to certain corporate standards, such as having certain common menu items at all times or having certain items on sale during a nationwide promotion. There is a reason that every single coupon states quite clearly at the bottom "at participating locations"...this is because NOT all stores participate in a given promotion, and certainly not at the same time. Where I work there are two locations within blocks of each other that are owned by separate owners. These two different locations have coupons out at different times and different menu items featured.

5. Do not expect expired coupons to be honored just because such and such store did it at such and such time. This is entirely based on the discretion of the store managers and/or owners.

6. Don't assume that all fast food workers are ignorant or incapable of handling a higher paying job. I myself hold a bachelor's degree but as the employment opportunities are somewhat limited in my field, I still work in fast food.

7. The nicer you are...the nicer we are. We will smile. We say thank you. But if you have a piss poor attitude, chances are you will not receive our best customer service. Our jobs are harder then you think and much more stressful. Most fast food chains serve up to or over a hundred customers a day. You are not the only customer we deal with on a daily basis but we still try to make each customer feel important. It is first come, first serve at the majority of fast food restaurants. However, this can vary depending on your order. If someone else has a smaller order, they may receive their food first. If a customer is hard of hearing, it is our job to make sure they have just as good of an experience as you do. This may mean it takes us longer to take their order then it does yours.

8. Don't constantly order things that are no longer on the menu. If we have the items, we will try our best to make it for you. Be aware that menu items constantly change. This is a common denominator of all fast food chains. Each one is looking for the next big "hit" on their menu. 90% of the advertised items will say for a limited time only and this is because it is only intended as a test run. If it does well enough, chances are it will come back. Take the McRib for example. McDonald's brings it back every year but it's not a constant menu item. This keeps interest in the item at a higher level. People look forward to it coming out and getting something not available all the time. This is a marketing ploy that all fast food stores use. These are decisions that usually come down from the corporate level. Individual stores have no control over whether to offer these items or not. And it's rare that individual stores get to decide on pricing either.

9. We are not your momma. Just because we are fast food does not mean we want to be your maid. Use common courtesy. If you are in a fast food restaurant that normally brings the food to your table, then please have a seat. If you are not, don't expect a waitress because that's not what we are. Don't expect to go into a restaurant that serves food on plastic trays and get a full service experience like a fancy restaurant because that's not what most do. Please throw your own garbage away, don't leave it on the tables or floor. If you bring in a child (which is good training for those fancier restaurants) then don't let them throw food all over and not even attempt to clean any of it up. That's just rude. Would you let a relative come to your house and smash food on the floor and just leave it? Well maybe you would, but it's not our fault your relatives act that way.

10. Respect. Respect what we do. Know the hours of operation. Know what to expect from our menu. Understand that just because it might have the name of a large food chain that does not mean it operates exactly the same. For example; I went to a McDonald's in Kansas quite a few years ago and was astonished to realize that they served soup as my local one never did. But because it was owned by an "owner" and not the "corporation" they had a different menu, only some of the items were the same.

It's easy to tell who has worked in food service and who has not. Anyone who has spent a decent amount of time working in the industry is noticeable. We can tell who you are because you are the ones who collect your garbage and keep your kids reigned in. You are the ones who smile and are patient and understanding if we are dealing with a customer in front of you who is being difficult. You are the ones who we love to serve and have as regular customers because you are the ones who make our jobs bearable. Be one of those. Be a solution to the ever rising prices, not the cause of them.

Try putting yourself in another customers shoes. If you had a disability, wouldn't you want someone to take the time to get your order correct? Or the employee's shoes. Wouldn't you want to be treated with respect? Many businesses like fast food chains rely on repeat customers, but we want quality customers. Ones who enjoy eating at our stores and enjoy the overall experience. That can't happen if people continue to try and cheat the system or act like they are the single most important customer in the place.

And probably the most important one of all...don't be the person that every single fast food worker despises!! That one person who makes a habit of coming in less than 2 minutes to close and orders a huge amount of food, knowing that we have to stay open later just for them. Or enters the dining room, knowing it's closing in five minutes and gets all comfortable with their phones, tablets, computers, etc., to take advantage of the free wifi. Or of course, the ones that clearly recognize what they are doing and do it anyway just to be an ass.

Oct 6, 2010

Wonton Bites and Steak with Peppers over Rice

Todays’ recipe may seem a little daunting, but I promise it’s really not difficult. There are a lot of ingredients on the list, but most of it is prep work. As long as you follow the steps, you’ll be eating yummy food in no time! Most of the ingredients also don’t have measurements this time. That’s because it just depends on how hungry you are! All the measurements for tonight’s dinner are estimates. (Ignore the eggs in the picture, they didn’t make it in tonight.) And please ignore the dryer/prep table. Mine are in the kitchen and do double duty as counter space.

  • Cornstarch
  • 1 small can of beef broth
  • 1 small steak
  • Peppers (I used 4 peppers, one of each color, but you can use whatever kind you like.)
  • Instant rice
  • 1 lb sausage (I buy the frozen roll and let it thaw.)
  • 1 small can of mushrooms
  • Soy sauce
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers
  • 1 package of egg roll wrappers
  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • Crispy chow mein noodles (if you want them)
  • About 4 bowls

Start by cutting the steak into bite size pieces. Place in a bowl and set aside. Cut the stem out of the peppers, slice into thin strips (julienne) and then put in a bowl. Set this to the side to.

The way I cooked the rice was to heat water to boiling and then put with an equal amount of rice into a bowl with a tight lid. That way, the rice cooks on it’s own while I do the rest of the food and I don’t have to watch it.

Crumble and cook the sausage. Drain and place into a bowl with the cream cheese. Brown the steak in the same pan. I used my handy cast iron skillet for this one. While the steak is browning, you can mix the sausage and cream cheese together. After the steak is done, split in half. Add mushrooms to one half and leave the other half in the pan.

Use the wonton wrappers and place about a teaspoon of the cream cheese mix in the middle. Wet down the edges of the wrapper and fold in half to make a triangle. Place on a plate and set aside. With the egg roll wrappers, place about a tablespoon of the steak and mushroom mix in the middle. Roll up however you want it. Just be sure that with both the egg rolls and the wontons that you have the edges all closed so that the filling doesn’t come out while it’s cooking.

Boil water in a large pan. Heat your fryer up and set up your station. You’ll have the wontons and potstickers close to hand. The potstickers can be either boiled or fried. *Hubby likes them boiled, I like the fried crispy!* Drop a few of the potstickers in to boil, being careful not to crowd the pan. They will be done when they float to the surface.

Turn the pan with the steak onto medium high. Add the peppers to the pan and about half of the beef broth. While the peppers are cooking, you can start the wontons. They will only take about 30 seconds to fry. Cook on one side until it is very lightly browned, it will get darker after they are taken out. Flip them to the other side, cook. Remove from oil and place into a strainer or on a plate covered with paper towels.

Now that the peppers have had time to soften, add in the rest of the beef broth. Mix about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into a coffee cup of cold water. Once the broth starts boiling, add the cornstarch and stir continuously until it thickens.

Serve the beef and peppers over the rice with wontons/potstickers on the side. This is an easy dish, even if it seems complicated.  

Oct 4, 2010

Cheater's Chicken Parmesan

I call this recipe “Cheater’s Chicken Parmesan” because it’s basically made using convenience foods. It’s really simple, really delicious, and easy on a budget.

1-2 boxes of penne rigata pasta (number of boxes depends on how much you need to make)
1 large bag of pre-cooked chicken nuggets
1 large can of spaghetti sauce
1 bag of your favorite shredded cheese (I used Mozzarella with Sun Dried Tomato and Basil from Sargento.)
Grated Parmesan (also known as parmesan powder in a can, usually labeled Kraft)

From your spice rack: Basil and Parsley

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to directions. This means boil water in a big pot, add a touch of vegetable oil (keeps the pasta from sticking) and then add the pasta. Cook until al dente, or until it still has a little bite to it. It will cook a little longer later, so you can leave it just slightly underdone for this step. Drain pasta.

In medium to large casserole dish, layer ingredients in the following order; chicken nuggets, pasta, sauce. Continue to do this until all the pasta is used. You may have some chicken left over (yeah, lunch for tomorrow!) and that’s ok. You want the last layer to be sauce. Top with the shredded cheese.

Your not going to need to cook this very long and the times will vary. This is one dish you’ll have to keep an eye on. For me, it took about 20 minutes. The cheese will be just slightly browned and the casserole will be heated all the way through. You can test this by digging out a nugget somewhat close to the middle (from the top down, not the middle of the pan) and seeing if it’s all the way heated. Sweet! Chef’s get to taste test!

Serve hot and add parmesan to individual servings. This way, everyone gets the amount of cheese they like and it doesn’t turn all gluey from being in the sauce to long. This is a super easy meal that is absolutely tasty!

Sep 27, 2010

Tempura (Battered) Chicken Bites

I used to be very picky when it came to eating things I wasn't used to. I didn't care for Chinese food because in my mind, it was all bamboo shoots and baby corn. I'm happy to say that the notion didn't last long. Now that I've learned a little more about Asian cuisine, I love it!

One of my favorite things when I would go out to our local Asian buffet is these little chicken bites that were battered. There would be either sweet and sour or peanut sauce to go with them. (I used ranch, lol.)

I had to find out how to make these lightly battered bites. If they are made correctly, they are not greasy and taste so much better than traditional fried chicken. Think Long John Silver's type of batter, only much lighter and crisper.

  • 1/2 Cup flour
  • 1/2 Cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 Cup ice cold water

Mix the dry ingredients. Beat the egg and add to the water. The water needs to be cold in order for the batter to turn out right. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until mixed. (There may be some lumps left and that's okay.)

I used 1 lb. of skinless chicken tenders. I cut them into small, bite size pieces. You can also leave them in strips and they will turn out well. After the chicken is cut, dredge it in flour (coat it in flour) and let rest for about 5-10 minutes while you are heating up your oil. Dip the coated chicken in the tempura batter, being sure to coat the entire piece. Don't worry if there is extra batter because those will drip off and make those crispy little munchy pieces that we all love but refuse to admit we love.

After you dip in the tempura batter, carefully place into the oil. Do not drop into the oil because it will splatter! I used about 3 inches of oil in my cast iron skillet. After one side was lightly brown, I turned to the other side. My chicken was done when it just barely floated to towards the top. You will need to check your first couple of pieces so that you can decide when they are done. There will be no pink left in the middle of the chicken.

These bites are good by themselves or with a dipping sauce. They go great with the Onigiri that I wrote about in the last post. Enjoy!

Sep 23, 2010

Onigiri and Octodogs

My kids and I were recently watching some of our favorite anime. This got us interested in onigiri, which are Japanese rice balls. Onigiri is a staple in traditional Japanese cuisine and is used most often in lunches but can be for any meal, even breakfast!

The basic onigiri is a simple rice ball made from sushi rice. This can be found at nearly any grocery store. It does not have to be name brand or specifically say “sushi rice”. You need to get a short grain rice (Not instant rice!!) and it typically does not cost much more than regular white rice.

Now, I have a rice cooker which makes my life a bit easier, but you can still cook the rice on the stovetop. You just have to be sure that you check it often as it has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Make the rice according to the package directions. There are no fancy instructions here. Many recipes call for using rice wine vinegar, white vinegar, extra salt, etc. I didn’t use any of that, although you are more than welcome to.

The Onigiri can be filled with a variety of ingredients. My kids’ favorite was broccoli and pork. I got a small package of thinly sliced pork chops and cut them into small strips. The broccoli has to be cut from the stem. You can either blend the broccoli straight into the rice or stuff the middle of the rice ball with it. I seasoned my pork chops with a mix of soy sauce, Worcestershire, and garlic. My favorite was the most recent, where we used pre-made meatballs and wrapped the rice around them. YUM!

When the rice is done, allow it to cool just enough that you can handle it without burning yourself. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and add about 3 tablespoons of salt. This will be for you to dip your hands in. Dipping your hands helps you make the rice balls without it sticking to your fingers and will also help season the rice ball.

Form the rice into a ball and create a dent with your thumb. Put whatever fillings you want into the dent and then shape the rice over it. Keep in mind that Onigiri are not typically shaped like “balls”, they can be triangles, squares, or even rectangles, the choice is yours. Mine are balls because it’s easier. LOL.

Nori (Japanese seaweed) is usually used to cover the Onigiri and is used to hold it in the hand. My family hated the Nori, but yours may like it. If you want to try your hand at making sushi, you would also use Nori, but roll it into a tube shape and then slice it. We sliced up cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower and cheese as sides to our Onigiri. For the kids, we made hot dog Octopi which turned out really cute and are super fast and easy.

Open a package of regular hot dogs and cut them all in half. Using a small paring knife, cut the “tentacles” by making cross cuts to the bottom of the hot dog. On the flat side of the hot dog, cut two eyes and a smile. Boil until done. The hot dog will blossom in the pan and it is fun to eat! You can also pan fry the hot dogs, but they seemed to spread out better when boiled.

The possibilities are endless with Onigiri and the octodogs are a lot of fun for the kids. You can pick any of your favorite vegetables to go with or in the Onigiri.

Coming next...Tempura Chicken!

Blog Template by YummyLolly.com - Header made with PS brushes by gvalkyrie.deviantart.com
Sponsored by Free Web Space