Part 20: Nothing Dies like Love or Restaurants
A story about chive flowers
Memoirs of a Line Cook Part 20: Nothing Dies like Love or Restaurants
When you are away, you are nevertheless present for me. This presence is multiform: it consists of countless images, passages, meanings, things known, landmarks, yet the whole remains marked by your absence, in that it is diffuse. It is as if your person becomes a place, your contours horizons. I live in you then like living in a country. You are everywhere. Yet in that country I can never meet you face to face.
John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos
“Nothing dies like love or flowers,” I told the rest of the kitchen crew.
“Shut the hell up, Reidie,” Janina, a fellow line cook at Restaurant Esperanto, politely requested in response.
2 kilos of chive flowers had just been dumped in front of us. It was half past midnight. The end of a typically long Saturday and we couldn’t leave until all of them (about 2 bin bags full) had been “taken care of”.
Maybe that’s why Janina was a little more direct than usual.
If you’ve never seen a chive flower before, just picture a regular chive with a purple pom-pom stuck to the end of it. Our job late that night was to separate said pom-poms from the green stems, rinse them in water, run them through a salad spinner, and lay them out on sheets of baking paper to dehydrate by Monday morning.
If we worked quickly, maybe we’d be out by 2 am.
It was a university friend of mine who wrote “nothing dies like love or flowers.” His name was Gareth and, as well as being exceptionally Welsh and capable of drinking me under the table, which he tended to generously agree to do whenever I’d had my heart broken, he was also capable of writing the most beautifully delicate prose.
That line of his I’ve never forgotten. 15 years on now, I think I never will.