April Fools

I have never been very good at thinking of April Fools’ jokes, not usually until April 2 anyway, and there’s no way I can remember them until the next year.  Maybe I should do what I do with my ideas for classes – put them in file labeled “Kids Cooking Classes in Madison.”  The key then is to remember to look at the file (after I find it).  But that is another story.

I have been April-fooled a few times.  Usually it has been by someone I trusted.  They think it is so funny, but I just don’t trust them anymore, at least for a while.  When April Fools’ Day falls on a day that I am teaching, it is fun to goof around a little bit, especially for a children’s cooking class or even an adult cooking class.  So I will joke with kids by telling them we are going to cook something totally gross, or intimate to adults that we have a special bottle of aged wine to sample with the evening’s menu.  I quickly give in so as not to break the trust.

I remember my culinary instructor Pascal announcing one warm spring morning “On the menu today: Foie gras, Caviar and Lamb Chops.”  Many of my classmates cheered until they saw the grin and heard (in his oh so French accent), “April Fools.”  Being the first thing in the morning, I was only half listening, so I didn’t quite get caught.

However, there is one April Fools’ joke that started out completely accidentally.  Right out of culinary school I was working at small upscale BBQ restaurant.  We had a popular salad on the menu that was dressed with a very tasty raspberry vinaigrette and the chef at the time liked to use sesame seeds as a garnish.  We had run out of our supply of the small seeds and had sent a prep cook to buy some more at the local Asian grocery store.  When I opened the new container, I spilled about a half a teaspoon or so of the new sesame seeds on the prep table.  I brushed them off of the main prep counter, but didn’t clean them up right away as we were busy.  I knew I would get to them when I cleaned at the end of my shift.

Well, I didn’t get there first.  I heard the screaming, swearing and shouting as the Chef found what he thought were mouse droppings.  I didn’t have the heart, guts or more accurately, the desire to tell Chef that the “mouse droppings” in his spotless kitchen were just the black sesame seeds the prep cook had purchased when he couldn’t find plain roasted sesame seeds at the market.

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