The Compass - - Front page - Terry Bursey The Food Dude

Seafood is a com­mon (and usu­ally se­vere) al­lergy. Not for me though; I’m al­ler­gic to dogs… most of them any­way. So much so in fact – that it’s ru­ined many im­por­tant things in my life. It has ru­ined re­la­tion­ships, fam­ily func­tions, mar­riage pro­pos­als (I bleep you not) and on one oc­ca­sion, an im­por­tant job op­por­tu­nity.

I like to play the field when it comes to kitchen po­si­tions to land a lead­er­ship role but I was hooked by the ti­tle alone when I saw a glimpse of a job ad on an on­line ca­reer site: “WANTED: LIVE-IN STU­DENT COOK. FLEX­I­BLE HOURS @ $16 P/HR”. Know­ing that I wasn’t yet a red seal and couldn’t pass up a rare ap­pren­tice­ship op­por­tu­nity, I con­tacted Mary right away to charm my way into an evening in­ter­view.

I got the in­ter­view but in true fash­ion of the in­dus­try, I was asked to bring along some­thing I’ve made along with my re­sume and col­lege tran­scripts. When I asked her what she wanted me to bring, Mary replied with my favourite re­sponse: “Sur­prise me.”

I gave the mat­ter some thought and de­cided that a Prince Ed­ward Is­lan­der like Mary might ap­pre­ci­ate a unique spin on a salt­wa­ter favourite us­ing some lo­cally sourced pota­toes. With this con­cept in mind, I took pen and pa­per in hand and jot­ted down a rough recipe for: Direc­tions

In a large pot, boil pota­toes and place in a large bowl. Mash with ri­cotta cheese, canned crab meat, egg yolks, but­ter and salt and pep­per. Pre­heat oven on broiler setting (or 400 F) and set top rack. Us­ing a medium ice cream scoop, place a dol­lop of the mix­ture each in 6 ramekins, top in or­der with chunks of imi­ta­tion crab meat and shred­ded cheese. In a medium bowl, mix bread crumbs with savoury and place on top of the cheese. Sur­round in­ner edges of ramekins with sliv­ered spinach and broil for 12 min­utes or un­til bread­crumbs turn golden brown. Let crab cakes come down to room tem­per­a­ture, cover each in plas­tic wrap and chill.

The in­ter­view took place at Mary’s home just out­side of the inn where I had hoped to live and work. Upon be­ing ush­ered in I was un­ex­pect­edly greeted by two large golden re­triev­ers whom Mary’s hus­band as­sured me were both well trained and harm­less. I pressed an awk­ward smile out from pure dread as he left me mor­ti­fied with the dog­gies as he fetched his wife for our in­ter­view. As my nose be­gan to tickle and my eyes wa­tered, the first sneeze hit me. Then an­other sneeze, fol­lowed by an­other un­til I was hav­ing a full on al­lergy at­tack.

In the midst of this chaos I dropped the whole glass con­tainer of crab cakes on the floor which shat­tered upon con­tact with the mar­ble. The two dogs promptly be­gan eat­ing the crab cakes… along with a few shards of bro­ken glass. Of course, I cried out im­me­di­ately for help. Mary came to as­sist the sit­u­a­tion and I was im­me­di­ately sent home with an­gry rep­ri­mand from a jus­ti­fi­ably con­cerned dog mother.

The dogs later turned out to be fine, as I was wracked with guilt enough to in­quire about their health ev­ery chance I got there­after. The job though was an im­me­di­ate lost cause and my al­lergy wasn’t re­ally con­sid­ered a valid ex­cuse for the ac­ci­dent. You were ex­pect­ing a happy end­ing? I wish I had one for you, and per­haps next week I will. Un­til then, Happy En­deav­ors!

Mashed Potato Crab Cakes

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