Old Bessie is about to give up on us. This restaurant is nearly fifty years old, and Bessie has been with it just as long; certainly a lot longer than the time I’ve owned the place. But that old oven…we’ve all come to care for her, and even appreciate her foibles. I keep telling her, “Don’t you worry, Bessie. I see all those commercial ovens and stoves, and while you’re not as fancy, you get the job done just fine.”
I even forgave her when she kept burning the spinach and chicken parcels; we eventually learned that the temperature gauge was a bit out and it needed to be lower. But now, she really is on the way out, and it’s time to get a replacement. Probably a commercial oven that heats up in something less than forty-five minutes and doesn’t randomly turn off whenever it feels like it.
We’re going to do this with respect, though. It’s not just going to be a callous case of out with the old, in with the new. We’ll have a proper ceremony, all talk about how much we love Bessie and work through our grief that she’s no longer going to be with us. Ideally, I’d like to clean her up and put her out on the restaurant floor as an interesting art piece, so she can live out her retirement watching over the place. But I don’t think it fits with the restaurant as we have it now.
What I’m really worried about is the new oven. We got a new commercial deep fryer last month after Gregory gave up on us, and it was real tense in the kitchen for a while. We had to use the new deep fryer, but people glared at it as they did so.
Bessie wouldn’t want there to be tension, so this time we’re making an effort. We’re going to welcome this commercial oven with open arms, make it part of the family. We’ll make Old Bessie proud.