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Vegan Cook

It’s been a little while since I posted. The last entry being the touching video of a young child’s appreciation of all life and his discovery through a series of cogent inquiries that his meal was once a living animal. If you haven’t watched it yet, do check it out.

So, what have I been up to in the interim you may ask? Well, a couple things have gotten in the way of blogging in the last month, one a nuisance, the other a rather positive development.

First the drudgery: My hosting company alerted me to some resource usage issues, primarily related to database queries and traffic. You may have noticed some actual down time as they forced my sites offline. After much, and continued efforts, I’ve managed to significantly improve the situation and remain with the same hosting company for now. One of the things that helped was to add a caching plugin here and elsewhere. You may notice faster load times as a result, but if you also happen to notice anything amiss, please let me know.

Now, on to the good news…

Starting in mid-May, I joined the Susty’s vegan cafe team as a part-time cook! It’s been an amazing experience and a nice change of pace from my usual position in front of the computer. Of course, I still do freelance web development, but now get to supplement that with a far more reliable means of income generation as well as mobility and social interaction. Those first few weeks, my feet definitely let me know how much sitting I’d been doing!

While an inveterate home cook and recipe creator, I’d never worked in a commercial kitchen before. There’s a lot to learn. Everything from the opening and closing routines (turning everything on or off, mopping, putting out or taking down the open sign and flag, etc) to the dishes themselves (ingredients, portion control, and plating) to what to start cooking when to multi-task several orders at once to get things out at the right times.

It can get a bit hectic at times, but everyone is always having fun together and we’re serving wholesome vegan food, so it’s all good. Indeed, the owner, Norma, takes great care to ensure she buys only organic and, when in season, locally. Produce often comes from her own garden or those of local farmers. We even have organic black beans grown and hand-shelled just a mile or so down the road. And, everything, including seitan and the soymilk in the baked goods, is made from scratch.

There aren’t really any videos of Susty’s on YouTube, but I did dig up this excerpt (5:33-7:23) from a longer video of a couple folks waiting for their meal at Susty’s circa 2010. It gives you a small feel of the decor and music. They even catch a bit of the farmer’s market tents across the street (Thursday afternoons during the season).

I also found this vid of one of Norma’s beautiful daughters, Willow…

From the description:

Uploaded on Aug 22, 2011 – Willow explains how and why she and her restaurant, Susty’s on route 4 in Northwood, NH opposes nuclear power, supports alternative energies, and coordinated the food for this “Picnic for Peace” commemorating the first protesters arrested in 1976

Till next time, “Bring it on down to Veganville.” :)

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