With age, comes keys


With age, comes keys
It wasn’t that long ago that all I owned were two, three keys at the most. One to open the front door, and another to access the letter box. Today as I was leaving to do some grocery shopping, I reached into my bag to grab my keys, and realised that the bunch had grown into a full-blown jail warden’s set of keys. Eleven keys, at last count, connected by chains and sub-chains. Not to mention a special pass I have that allows access to another key for work. About 70% of the keys on that chain are work related, as I currently spend my daylight hours in a building with pointy bits that people love taking pictures in front of, and which requires some security presence. Usually when I arrive at work each morning, a pass gets me through security. The same pass is then used to retrieve a key to open the main kitchen door. A small key unlocks my locker where I proceed to get changed. From there, I get to my kitchen and unlock 6 bench fridges, 1 freezer, 2 standing fridges (if I need to use them) and the main coolroom. Each morning I fumble with the keys, trying to remember through a sleep clouded mind, which belongs to which lock. There’s been talk that they want to get the door to my kitchen padlocked also. A whole bunch of bananas went missing overnight once, and I guess they’re worried about all that couverture chocolate I have on my shelves.

With age, comes jars and tubes
Where once I was happy enough using super-duper-market sorbolene, I now have three jars and two squeezy tubes of moisturising cream – all specialising in various parts of the body – and two bottles of cleanser in the shower. The jars are lined up in my cupboard like soldiers fighting against the war on ageing. The catalyst was a visit many months ago to Nina, who gasped at my audacious use of soap and sorbolene. Under the harsh revealing light of her overhead lamp, she was utterly horrified to hear that I used soap on my face. Sharp intake of breath?, I replied. She obliged.

So now I’ve actually started obsessing about face creams. Nut oils and various extracts you’d happily find on a plate, crushed to a colourless paste which I smear liberally day and night. Compounds and botanical cocktails to stem the ageing process. To smother the fine lines. To tame the dry landscape of skin on hands, face, legs. I’ve tried things I wouldn’t normally – a facial masque that upon application dried so firm I couldn’t smile or wag an eyebrow. So this is what botox is like!

With age, comes age
My boss told me yesterday that he was going to have laser surgery in a couple of weeks to remove varicose veins in his legs. He showed me the ones around his ankles; thick purple-blue lines forking around bruised skin. Along with back pain and scarred arms, these are the product of years spent standing all day in a kitchen. I haven’t felt any twinges in my knees or back yet, but there are some days when I feel tired the moment I get out of bed. On these days, I wonder about the percentage of cooks who end up with physical pain in their later years.

I was watching an episode of Marco Pierre White’s Hell’s Kitchen, in which celebrities are thrown into a kitchen environment, most without much prior knowledge about cooking. One celebrity, looking a little tired and teary, is later quoted as saying, “I don’t know how they do it”. How do they do it? Why do they do it? What do chefs get out of the long hours, the back breaking labour, the intense services? Can’t say I know the answer, but there’s always a little part of me, even after a very long day, who can’t imagine doing or wanting to do, anything else.


  1. chocolatesuze said,

    September 25, 2007 @ 5:28 pm

    aw but youll always be young at heart!

  2. Y said,

    September 29, 2007 @ 1:52 am

    I certainly hope so! 🙂

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