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October 24, 2013

Food From Hell

I worked in one restaurant for about six months. I was not very happy with the owner's methods. He had a black market deal going on with a food supplier salesman who would bribe the rest of us to keep our mouth's shut by bringing us specialty food items.

The owner's favorite purchase was frozen processed turkey breast. He liked it because it was cheap, he could buy it in bulk and its flavor was easily disguised. If you ordered a tuna salad sandwich what you got was 50% tuna and 50% turkey.

The biggest travesty was the "lobster roll" according to the menu "succulent chunks of Maine lobster in homemade mayo." In actuality it was a product called "Sea Legs" which was essentially processed fish and texturized soy flavored with lobster juice and dyed red along one edge to give the appearance of lobster, mixed with chunks of turkey dosed with paprika to match the visual effect, mixed with old chopped celery and industrial mayo.

I needed the job. My kids were hungry.

Then came the middle of summer. During a parade a float went out of control knocking down a power line and blacking out downtown for two days.

When we reopened, the inside of the refrigerators were like ovens. I started to dump the tuna, chicken, egg and lobster salads into the trash. The owner stopped me and told me that we could just mix fresh stuff with the warm and no one would be able to tell the difference. Put it back he said, or you're fired. I took off my apron.

Three weeks later he was cited for a dozen or so cases of food poisoning.