Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)
TITLE: Sammy Joe’s Place
By Delores McCarter
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I was a little nervous because I wondered why she wanted to interview me, a part-time stay-at-home-mom and Jane about town.
I designed my own career as a business consultant. My fiancé and I wanted to get married and start a family, so I designed a business that I could enjoy and would fit in a future with a busy husband and a growing family.
“Mrs. Duncan, I really admire what you do for this community. You are an inspiration to career women as well as stay-at-home mothers.”
“Thank you so much,” I said, feeling my face get warm.
“You have a great opportunity of working in so many professions. What would you consider to be your most enjoyable job?"
“Hands down, it was working in my mom’s restaurant,” I said.
The publisher looked up at me and smiled.
“Sounds like you have a few stories about the place,” she said.
“Oh, I could tell many stories about that place,” I said.
“What do you remember the most about working there?”
“I loved being able to cook the food that I wanted with the instant feedback of the customers.”
“How old were you that summer?”
“That was five years ago, so I was nineteen.”
“What makes it so special?”
“Well, I love create some of the dishes that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. While my mom was taking care of my aunt who just had a baby, I had those plates turning while keeping the food from burning.” I said, using a popular expression at Sammy’s Joe’s.
“I’d love to know what specials you served that summer.”
“Oh, I made a lot of food. I made all kinds of muffins for breakfast, rosemary roasted chicken, lasagna, turkey pot pie, roast beef for dinner and about a hundred soups and sandwiches.”
“Did I hear you correctly?” She asked.
“Yes. I worked Monday through Friday for ninety days. There were some soups that I tested and didn’t use and there were some soups that were snatched up by my family before I could even add them to the special.”
“So, did you also handle the work schedule, handling payroll, paying the vendors, handling deliveries, and all the other stuff that restaurant owners do?”
“I learned to do it all, but I have to admit, I had a lot of help. Mom had Ms. DeLuca and she made things flow so much easier.”
“Is that Ms. DeLuca, the fashion designer?”
“Yes. We are still very close.”
Greta jotted something on a notepad.
“Ok, let’s go back to those one hundred soups and sandwiches. I eat at Sammy Joe’s a lot, so I know I had some of those specials.”
“I’m in the kitchen a lot so I’m sure you probably had some of my cooking.”
“Did you make the grilled cheese and tomato basil soup?”
“That was one of my entrees.”
“What about the chili corn carne with cornbread muffins?”
“Oh yes. The firefighters eat that right up.”
“What about the chicken tortilla and those little pretty muffins?”
“Those were confetti corn muffins and
they were tasty. I added some peppers, carrots and just a hint of pepper jack cheese.”
The publisher sat back in her chair again and started laughing. First, I didn’t know what to make of it, but finally, my curiosity got the best of me.
“What is so funny?” I asked.
“I ate your lunch almost every day and I’m surprised that I didn’t get big as a house. In fact, by the end of that summer, I managed to lose eighteen pounds and I never gained it back.”
“I’m glad that you lost weight, but I hope that you enjoyed the food.”
“Enjoyed the food? I’m about to offer you the opportunity to be our next cooking expert! That is, if you’d like to join the team.” Greta said.
“Well, if I get to come up with cool recipes and work in that fabulous test kitchen, I’m all for it.”
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