Cooking School Journal: The Market Tour

Mom came and spent the night. Joe was in Florida, and I had to leave at 5. Stupidly, I hung up until 11 the night before, sipping wine and telling endless “funny” stories to Mom, who kept courteously laughing and telling me to go to bed.

Finally, I had a great idea: I really should get some sleep. I headed to bed.

5 am came two minutes later. My head hurt. I was exhausted and it was cold and dark outside. But, I managed to get in my car and get to the school parking lot by 5:15 am. There sat  Alice and Home-schooler tapping their feet and fakely smiling.

“Sorry I’m late guys,” I said with my morning voice, which now sadly sounds much like Abe Vigoda.

“Oh. It’s okay,” they lied. I climbed out of my Ford Expedition and climbed into the back seat of Home-schooler’s Ford Expedition. We hopped on the dark, empty freeway and headed to Downtown L.A.

It was clear to me within the first mile that Home-schooler is the worst driver on the planet. Even my 82 year-old grandmother would rank #47 behind her. I immediately began having a panic attack. I quietly began my deep-breathing and positive self-talk exercises that I learned in my 14 different fool-proof fear of flying therapies. Meanwhile, I was clutching my seat belt so tightly that it almost melted in my hand.

Too bad I drank all the wine last night. I should have saved it for the drive.

We narrowly escaped disaster on the 101/134 merge, while Norah stared at the number pad on her cell phone. She was trying call her husband to give him his “morning wake up call”. I felt truly thankful when we pulled into the parking lot at the L.A. Produce Mart. It was in absolutely the lousiest part of the city, and when I got out of the deathmobile and stared at the gun-toting Cholos on the opposite corner, I felt completely safe.


We were the first to get there. We politely chatted with Mr Neruya, a GOD in the produce industry who is about 90 years-old, and was annoyed with Chef for being late. Although he’s done these tours with her for over a decade, he still hasn’t figured out that she’s always late. Hmm.

Everyone slowly trickled in. Amber, Bridget, Lana (another Wed. class person in an SL 500. Nice), Bigfoot, and Cameron. He’s so nice. I was ¬†glad to see him there. I wanted to get to know him better. He really had me laughing in the “at least you’ll learn how to make a good pizza” class.

Chef finally pulled in 20 minutes late with Loretta the bubbly and kind TA.

I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that I was cold, tired and really needed an Egg McMuffin.