Normally in the Test Kitchen, there is a steady flow of food to be devoured, from morning until evening. Depending on the day, recipes can start as early as 6 a.m. and start showing up for tastings as early as 9 a.m. There is usually enough for everyone to sample, and sample we do! A couple of bites from each morning recipe is breakfast for the interns; bites between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. make up lunch, and anything after 3 p.m. is dinner. Our internships are unpaid (A.K.A. externships), so having free meals throughout the day is an appreciated perk. We graze all day long. Mind you though, because these recipes are in various stages of development, sometimes what we’re eating isn't always great...but we eat it anyway.
Then there are writing days - these are the days the interns starve because the test cooks are writing the stories to accompany the recipes for the magazine or books. No one is in the kitchen on writing days, except for the interns. While we hope food will magically appear, it rarely does. This happened on Tuesday. Tuesday was a writing day this week, and Tuesday, we were one hungry bunch. Wednesday was also a writing day, but I wasn't going to let our poor group go hungry again. I had extra food in the freezer that I had not had time to cook at home, and was dying for some family favorites. I made the trek from Providence to Boston with a giant bag of groceries and started cooking the second I got into work. By 11 a.m., we had a huge platter of spaghetti and meatballs and chicken Caesar salad. It hit the spot.
Today was thankfully back to normal and we dined on cakes, cookies, poultry, meats and even seafood. Tomorrow is another writing day. I've got a bag of polenta, a block of parmesan, and a mission to feed the hungry.
P.S. While the test kitchen follows state and federal food safety laws and guidelines, they're not licensed to offer or sell food to the general public, so they're not allowed to give any leftover food to shelters. Any additional leftovers are portioned, packed and placed in the walk-in for staff to take home.