Wednesday, May 4, 2011
How bout dat! Auction food, its either the best, or worst, absolutely no in between. As an auctioneer my main goal is to get it for free. Unfortunately it does not always work out so well. So today we are talking about George.
Several years back I ran my own auction house. We tried to keep it simple, stuff for sale, easy parking, nice location and simple foods. My auction house actually had none of these. The stuff for sale was usually junk, the parking needed a security guard (we will tell the story about him in a later article), outside of the man being chased by the police while carrying a fully automatic AK47 the location was OK (another story for later) and the food.
You would have thought that Graham Kerr himself was the cook. Hot dogs, hot ssssaussauge nacho chips, soda, and some other stuff. George was our galloping gourmet. First, lets describe George. Relatively demure in stature (pot belly, stained shirt and with just a hint of alcohol) George was the epitome of an auction cook. His thinning (greasy) and receding (with some obvious scalp disease) hairline accented his well groomed (unevenly unshaven) rugged looks. His jawline was accented by a gleaming (toothless) perfect (green) smile. He wore only the finest (Goodwill) clothing. A slight but distinct speech impediment that involved the prolonged usage of the letter S completessssss thissssss dessssscripssssssion.
George came with a girlfriend named Kitty. Kitty was a benevolent type whose soft spoken manner was equal to her beloved George. Kitty would show up at each auction with an uplifting personality that could be best compared to Randel Patrick McMurphy. She could be manic, sane and serene, all at the same time. Her favorite topic, George. Kitty was always seeking advice (from anyone who would listen) about her love life. In particular she wanted someone, to explain to her why she was still with George. She would ask me, Stephanie, my children or anyone attending the auction to tell her about why she should stay. Since none of us could come up with a good reason we assumed it was because of his cooking.
His cooking was extraordinary. It was out of this world. It was without comparison. It was usually 3-4 weeks old. The food was usually brought in the night of the auction pre cooked. Now I am not really sure about where it was cooked, how it was cooked or when it was cooked. I do know that he tried to cook it. I know this because the hot dogs were always a nice charcoal color. Not the charcoal that would make you think of a nice rich black color, the charcoal that is actually charcoal. Over cooked to the point of turning to ash. The buns could not be steamed back to life. This seems to be somewhat of a contradiction since they obviously did contain life. The rich green and red spotting that was contained throughout the bottom of the bag made you think of rainbows and squirrels run over on the road.
The hot ssssausssagesss were without comparison. The only thing burnt worse that the hot dogs was the hot ssssaussagesss. The sssaussage came complete with pickled peppers and onions. The peppers and onions (still in some type of brine) were kept warm with the ssssaussage in some type of candle heated tray. We always made it a point to keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case the candles ever became a problem. We also feared the the hot dogs and ssssaussagesss might reignite causing some type of Beverly Hills supper club incident that we really didn't want to be responsible for.
The nacho chips and cheese dip are another story that could stand on their own. The cheese was always hot. The chips always stale. This may have been caused by the storage methods employed upon completion of the auction. After the auction was completed the leftover cheese was was put with all of the other condiments into the sun filled oppressively hot storage room that we had provided to him. The open chip bag would always be set right next to the left over hot dogs so that forgetting to use them all up would be an impossible task. Some nights he would have specials. We still are not sure about what his specials really were but I suspect that it may have been the leftovers of the leftovers, mixed with some ketchup. Bona petite.
To top it all off they had a helper. Not hamburger helper like most auction food people use, but an assistant. When the helper showed up it his shirt would be partially tucked in shirt, with the tail protruding from his zipper, the standard greasy hair and a very distinct smell. This smell was one that if captured and bottled for sale as a perfume would have to include the words "boozncheapcigsnobath" in the title. A truly rare scent that can only be reproduced in the finest bridge trusses in the world.
Like I said earlier, auction food is either the best or worst with no in between. George was one of the best. Some day I'll tell you about the worst. For the time being keep on eating those weenies.