One day, several years back, when I was traveling a lot for work and never had anything in the fridge, I bought and ate only half of a Philly Cheesesteak. I put the rest in the freezer and when I returned from my trip, I chopped it up, poured an egg and milk custard over it (if I remember correctly, I actually made the “milk” out of ice cream, not having any fresh dairy on-hand). Then I baked it and enjoyed an awesome savory bread pudding.
That’s one lesson I’ve had in cooking – use what you have. And re-use it. A strange education to get from living a life on the road in corporate America.
Odd man out
The reason my taxes took so long the other day is because I had to manually enter all the “cost basis” and profit/loss amounts for the 250+ trades I made last year. This is not a common problem among boat workers. It is one of a dozen things that make me a little different from my co-workers. In addition to the fact that I just used the word “co-workers,” I still have gold membership status at Starwood hotels and hundreds of miles saved among three airline groups. I have credit cards with $50,000 limits. I used to have telephone meetings in airports using PowerPoint and LiveMeeting. I’ve bought and sold property – and I don’t mean a couch.
Last but not least, I’m 37. The crew member next closest to my age is 28. Cap is my parents’ age, I think. When I came out of a stall at the shore head (sailor-speak for hotel lobby toilet), a woman asked me if I was one of the crew. I said yes, and she asked me if I was just out of college. I told her no, that I was 37. She looked shocked. “I climbed up the corporate ladder,” I told her, “then I climbed back down again.”
When I was up there, I had a mentor, a partner in an International law firm. She was wise and took a serious interest in me. My years in New York would have been much tougher without her. One of the things she told me was that I had a responsibility to keep climbing the ladder. I had made it that far; I had to keep going.
At the time, this notion troubled me a lot. Did I have a duty to keep on climbing? If it was making me miserable – if I really couldn’t stand sitting at an office until late at night, the long commutes, countless and often pointless meetings, colleagues who were impossible to deal with, senior management that didn’t believe in the value of my department or my role, should I still keep on keepin’ on? You know, for the women of the future?
Obviously, it wasn’t enough. I climbed back down the ladder. In so doing, I’ve learned that perhaps what my mentor meant is that I should not settle. I shouldn’t let the Big Dudes at the Top get me down.
And if that is true, then there is also validity in showing the women of tomorrow a different way to grow older, and a variety of pathways through life.
Savory bread pudding using the roast beef sandwiches left behind by yesterday’s guests
Hamburgers, with homemade buns and sweet potato fries and salad
Chili (Bob’s recipe, from AllRecipes.com – I have loved this recipe for years) and cornbread. I also took some of the leftovers and rejuvenated them into appetizers. The slightly overcooked salmon got put in the food processor with heavy cream, chives, cream cheese, salt, white pepper, mustard and a little Chablis and became salmon mousse (the boys said it was far better tonight than last night).