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  1. Huh. Wonder where he disappeared to...
  2. I was surprised that Mario won after the comments made by the judges. I was particularly surprised that Mario got one more point on taste after the comments from the judges. I have to say, though, that watching Mario go at it on Iron Chef is immensely entertaining. The banter between him and Alton is fun to watch.
  3. Okay, so as I've gained insight and education into the cooking, I have gained some skill in Pan Searing Salted Dead Animal Flesh, and serving it with a side of veggies or a salad. But I feel like I've plateaued in my progression. When my wife asks "What's for dinner?", the response is usually something to the effect of "Well, I'll thaw out some of that Dead Animal Flesh we have in the freezer, throw some salt and pepper on it, and then toss it into a skillet." And while this was groovy the first few times, I'm looking for some variety. So last night my wife takes out a large sirloin steak to
  4. The Shepherd's Pie recipe in Cooking for Dummies is pretty groovy. I tweak it by adding cheese to the mashed potatoes, and by doubling the amount of stock specified in the recipe.
  5. Well, I was thinking something more along the lines of not presenting the situation as though they were the first ones to figure it out, e.g. "It has long been common knowledge in baking that the way to know if your dough is properly proofed is when it has doubled in size, and when indentations placed in the dough don't disappear. We tested this wisdom ourselves in the test kitchen, and...." yadda yadda yadda. It's not the dry, scientific approach to the recipes that I mind. (In fact, quite the opposite. I dig that format.) And, as mentioned, I really enjoy the magazine as a whole, and am
  6. As part of my efforts to edumacate myself, I got a subscription to Cook's Illustrated. On the whole, I dig the magazine. I like their format, and they offer useful tips. But... Is it their standard approach to present every recipe as though they're cooking in a vacuum? Like, for example: Latest issue has an article on Sourdough Bread. At one point, the article's author pointed out that you want neither overproofed nor underproofed dough. The author then claimed to have "discovered" two methods for checking proofing doneness: (A) when the dough has risen to twice it's size; and (B) poking t
  7. But, on the gripping hand, there's probably 50 Bennigan's or Olive Garden-type restaurants in this country for every one French Laundry. So I think the original assertion -- that most waiters don't report all of their tips -- is valid.
  8. The drive to make others live their lives as we deem proper seems to be hardwired into the human animal.
  9. Given my experience with waiting tables, I think it would be far more accurate to say that only 10% of all waiters report earning more than $11.00/hour. In 9 years of front-of-the-house work, I only ever met two people who accurately and faithfully reported ALL of their tips -- one had been audited by the IRS in the past, and the other was an ex-con who didn't want to give the Feds any reason to look askance at him. Everybody else reported only the 8% minimum that's required by law.
  10. I largely agree with you. When I waited tables, I didn't offer above-average service because I thought I would get a good tip. I offered above-average service because that was my job, and because I had pride in my craft. I provided excellent service to people I was certain would leave me a lousy tip, due to age, occupation (cops and teachers are lousy tippers, generally), or what-have-you. The only people that ever got intentionally indifferent (or worse) service from me were people who were, in my opinion, unconscionably and unreasonably rude to me. (Like the twits who were tugging on my a
  11. It makes a lot of sense for the company that runs the restaurant to have their waitstaff do tip-sharing. This is because the minimum wage laws in this country allow for different minimum wages for tipped vs. non-tipped employees. Most places I worked at required the waiter to give a percentage of his/her tips to the busboy in charge of bussing his/her tables, as well as to the bartender(s). The bartenders in this case weren't going to be getting non-tipped minimum wage, but the busboys might have...except that, thanks to tip-sharing, they're technically considered tipped employees and, theref
  12. In the US, the government expects that you make 8% of your total sales in tips. That is, if you sell $100 worth of food in a shift, the government will expect you to declare a minimum of $8 worth of tips as income. I used to declare 10% because the math was easier, and still made out like a bandit.
  13. I don't think all waiters do it. But I do think a significant portion -- perhaps even "most" -- have that attitude. Of course, almost all of my table-waiting experience comes from working in chain restaurants like Bennigan's, the Olive Garden, and so on. So my sample set may be skewed in one direction or another.
  14. Perhaps not to the exact percentage. But if you wait tables for any length of time, you get a rough feel for 15%, and you learn what 15% is for the $10 increments (i.e. 15% of $10 is $1.50, 15% of $20 is $3.00, 15% of $30 is $4.50, and so on). So it's pretty easy to look at a tip and make a ballpark estimate of how the tip compares to the 15% standard.
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