Where will we find our new “gong heads”?

@demarionunn latest Vittles’ piece on food production name checks our friend Simon Fairlie at The Land magazine. You must of course read both writers. Simon’s article, in his usual quiet, measured and non-expletive laden way, absolutely — and totally righteously — trashes the truly obnoxious, climate destroying, sex predator, Bill Gates. I have always fucking hated Gates although, as you all well know, unlike Simon, fail miserably to steer clear of expletives, so am delighted to have Simon add his vitriol to the fire (yeah, I know it doesn’t combust like petrol).

The Vittles email talks about some writing sources new to me, inc. “Class Power on Zero Hours” by the Angry Workers Collective which I’ve just ordered & I flashed on all the reports of how FOH team members were being even more than usually (mis-)treated both during COVID & after lockdown ended and how, for many of them — if they could afford to — they’ve seen this as an opportune time to say a huge “fuck you & fuck your crappy job” to the shitty bosses, choosing to move off to do something, almost anything, else. Moving to where they are treated and valued as fellow human beings and not just as a totally identical & (until now, apparently) easily replaceable, mere cog in the eating industry.

Class Power on Zero Hours - Angry Workers Collective

©Angry Workers Collective

It reminded me of this piece from “Chop Suey” which shows that these skilled workers have always been needed.

The men of Kaifeng were extravagant and indulgent. They would shout their orders by the hundreds: some wanted items cooked and some chilled, some heated and some prepared, some iced or delicate or fat; each person ordered differently. The waiter then went to get the orders, which he repeated and carried in his head, so that when he got into the kitchen he repeated them. These men were called “gong heads” or “callers.” In an instant, the waiter would be back carrying three dishes forked in his left hand, while on his right arm from hand to shoulder he carried about twenty bowls doubled up, and he distributed them precisely as everyone had ordered without an omission or mistake. —  via Michael Freeman in “Food in Chinese Culture, Anthropological and Historical Perspectives”, edited by Chang K. C., New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977, p161.

The bosses, they never fucking know, but the gong-heads understand…



About Salute The Pig

Charcuterie, smoking, curing, brining and all things porcine. Brought to you from deepest, darkest Cambs, England by Chris Bulow. In the smoker or in the kitchen.... Salutate porcum!
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