Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Hostel Kitchen

I know that I have done my blog for today (and so I should be out enjoying myself). However, before I do so, I want to tell you about a phenomenon that isn't rarely talked about within the world of travelling ... the hostel kitchen...

Lying dormant for 22 hours of the day (apart from hippy travellers coming in occasionally to scavenge a stick of celery) the hostel kitchen erupts between the hours of 7:00pm and 9:00pm. 30 hostel guest decent telepathically at the same time to cook their evening meal.

Firstly you have to find 'your space' to prepare your meal. This involves allot of pushing, and the use of elbows, to get the prime spots (and there are prime spots within a kitchen ... don't prepare your food above the 'knives and forks' draw or else you will be asked to move more times than you can count). Once within 'your space' you then make yourself as big as possible whilst looking left and right every 0.001 seconds to make sure no one else is even thinking of entering.

Once you have 'your space' the next battle is to get as many (note not the ones you need ... as many) utensils as possible. You have a cheese grater in your right hand ... you know you won't need it but if you let it go you will never see it again. There is also an added complication with grabbing utensils in that, if your not careful, you will lose 'your space'.

Now the next thing is to tackle the 'hostel fridge' to get your food. A fridge big enough for a family of four holds 30 hostel guests food. It takes a degree in physics to open the door without everything toppling out on top of you and yet, whilst getting your food, you also have to watch out for 'utensil scavengers' lurking in the dark depths of the kitchen, ready to steal your prized cheese grater.

So you feel like you've done a days work in the space of 20 minutes but you still haven't even prepared your food. Within the hostel kitchen their are three cooks; firstly you have the 'wanna be professionals' who purchase their meat from the deli, fish from the fish market and vegetables that I've never even seen before. They slice and they dice with one eye constantly fixed on what the competition are cooking. I don't understand this cook ... 4 hours later and their meal looks less appetizing than my 4 minute microwavable meal.

Next you have the 'no hopers'; they would like to be a 'wanna be professional' but they haven't got a clue. They purchase ingredients for their tea but usually miss half of what they need. The first thing they pick up in the kitchen is a frying pan, which is a symbol of 'hostel kitchen dominance', and they have seen it being used on tv, they know deep down they have to use it but they have no idea how to.

Finally you have the last group of 'hostel cooks' called the 'I can't be bothered' cook and once they catch sight of the pandemonium within the kitchen they either go out to eat or purchase a microwavable meal so that they can get in and out of the kitchen quickly.

Now we are onto cooking the food and even this gives further problems. There are eight hobs and two ovens for 30 meals ... have you ever seen 4 pots balanced on each hob (each getting exactly 25% of the heat) and 15 pizzas stacked one on top of the other in the oven ... you have if you've been into a hostel kitchen. By now the humidity within the kitchen has passed that of the Amazon rain forest as 10% of the worlds pasta resources boil away.

Finally, heroically, all the meals are prepared and then it dawns on each hostel guest simultaneously ... there are only 22 seats within the dining area!

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