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As many of you may or may not know, I am a veteran. I was in the US Army and I had the dubious pleasure of eating at Army mess halls. Needless to say, Army food is often quite bad. Not always, mind you, but often enough that I taught myself to cook in self defense. It all seems to depend on whether or not the cooks care about what they are doing. Now that I think about it, that matters no matter what you are doing. If you care, then the end result is better.
Anyway, I’ve gotten off point again. Once upon a time, I was US Army Intelligence and I ate at a LOT of mess halls. One in particular was on an Air Force Base. What was a soldier doing on and Air base you ask? I was Intel, which means that all the armed services worked, lived and ate together. It was a regular occurrence to see sailors, marines, airmen, and soldiers eating and talking at the same table at this air base. This particular base ran 24 hours a day and I was on the graveyard shift. My dinner break was at around 1 or 2 AM and the ONLY place to get a bite to eat was the mess hall. Quite often the food was just plain awful. At night they were understaffed and what little staff was there didn’t want to be cooking in the middle of the night. There was however, one AWESOME exception. There was a civilian contractor who came in a few times a week and DONATED his time so he could cook for us. He got paid, but he used the money to buy ingredients for what he would cook. He owned a restaurant in town and did NOT need to work on the base. He just WANTED to. He would come in and cook omelets to order, some of the best ones I have EVER had in fact. He stood at a hot griddle and cooked to order for hours every night. Pancakes, eggs over easy, and those spectacular omelets with fresh mushrooms and peppers. Anytime anyone asked him why, he just told them that he just wanted us to eat well. This man showed us care and compassion through food.
Oh yeah, keep in mind that this was LONG before the whole Afghanistan/Iraq fiasco. This was during Desert Shield/Storm, if you know what that is. There weren’t that many supporters back then, random people didn’t thank me back in those days. It was different in the early nineties.
Cook a meal with love for someone you don’t know ….. yet.