Tonight's dinner: Tilapia. Rice w/peas. Green bean casserole (yep, just like Grandma used to make). Oh, and rolls. And date cake or spice cake or something like that.
Tonight's conversation with the new chef:
Yodabeth: Hi, Chef.
Y: Is there a vegetarian entree tonight?
C: The green beans are vegetarian.
Y: Yes, thanks. Is there an entree, though?
C: Green beans.
Y: Well, the green beans and rice are veggie, yes. But they're side dishes. So there's no vegetarian entree?
(Point of order: some of this repetition was to ensure clarity, as English is not the new chef's first language. Her English is pretty good, but it seems to be worth double checking things.)
This is a slightly different approach to training a new chef than I've taken before. That's partly because the old approach hasn't worked all that well, and partly because this chef seems to be very adaptable in other ways. Someone asked "Do we have Cremora here?" and the next day we did, for instance. So I'm starting slow, planting a seed. It was also closer to an entree than, say, a pan of over-steamed vegetables, so that's something, and it's the first day that there's been a problem at all. Plus, at least she didn't think that the fish was vegetarian, which was an initial problem with last year's new chef. I'm hoping that tonight's conversation will inspire a bit of rethinking on her part before we move to actual suggestions. (Empowered and empowering cooks, etc.)
Perhaps I could start a 12-step program for chefs addicted to meat-centered meals. Step One: Admit that green beans (squash, broccoli, etc.) are not an entree. Time will tell whether we've accomplished this step tonight and can move on to step two, or whether we need to spend some more time with step one.