1/3 Parma, Hobart and Me!

This episode starts with the last 1/3 of a whole Parma prosciutto I found in the kitchen fridge at school on meat/cheese platter day. I was in friggin heaven. I was the master of my own domain. 24 students and not one of them really knew how to use the Hobart slicer; let alone, how to properly slice Prosciutto . . . and the good stuff at that. Nobody even thought about touching this meat, because nobody knew what to do with it. LOOK OUT!!! Give me that thing and get out of my way . . . I’ll show you what to do with this thing. Everyone knew what I had, and the value of the product under my arm, but didn’t know how to transform “God’s meat” into the delicate melt-in-your-mouth thin slices of slightly salty goodness that every Italian prays to Emilio Vespucci about. Yes Emilio was the father of baseball; and baseball . . . well, we know the rest!

Now meet Mr. Hobart. Hobart’s history dates back more than 100 years . . . almost as long as Emilio. http://www.hobartcorp.com/AboutUsTimeline.html Yeah it looks easy; but, watching this bunch of young students trying to handle the various meats, cheeses and vegetables was like watching a world-class rodeo star attempting to handle a world-class bucking Brahma bull wanting to crack that little cowboys ass. It’s even more funny watching this because the Hobart slicers in our school are all on rolling carts and has a blade sharp enough to shave that bare cowboy ass just by staring at it for too long.

Now trying to explain the safe use of this buzz saw to as many of these students as I could on meat and cheese platter day was kinda fun. These young students never really used a slicer in a production environment before and getting them to learn the proper method of cutting a slice of Swiss, turkey breast or provolone is definitely different then teaching them to slice a  delicately rolled duck Prosciutto (yes we made these in class . . . yum!), a soft Gruyère cheese or the chunk of Prosciutto from Parma that I sported around like a football after I scored the winning touchdown in the World Series. Yes I know . . . I’m messin’ with your baseball brains. It’s not a home run but I’ll take the G O O O O O O A A L L L anytime! Now back to Emilio. He is of course the father of baseball; and baseball . . . well, we know the rest.

I must have sliced prosciutto 35 different ways. I tried to give hands-on experience to some of the students on the great Parms, but they couldn’t figure it out. Then I would ask them, “how thick do you like”. They would show me about 1/8″ think. Then I would slice a small section and have them gnaw on it for a few and ask them what they thought about the thickness. They all would reply, “can you just cut it for us please . . . real thin like you do?” One student made the comment, “you should be a teacher”. Well we’ll just leave that one alone. My Chef would just let me run with the slicer and teach the students because at least he’s confident in one thing I do . . . even telling one of the students that wanted a 1/4 in slice of expensive cheese, “let Foodie (not really my name) do it”. So I sliced everything and just about anything around. I got to the end of the usable prosciutto and then decided to make a prosciutto tartare and stuff it inside of olives. Chef thought that was a good way to use every last portion of a product. I scored points for that one.

Bottom line, I sliced using the Hobart like I was 17 again working the deli counter. Super fun night. The platters were terrific and I must have eaten so much cheese and meats my system was on standby for a good cleansing after that. Luckily I ate about 10 figs in the morning. Next adventure is to take a branch or two from the fig trees in my father’s yard and plant my own . . . and somehow convince myself that I need a Hobart slicer for the house. Yeah right! The Chef and I even made head cheese last night. That was excellent.

Remember . . . be one with the pig and don’t play with big-boy toys, unless you have 11 fingers and Amerigo by your side! No bull!



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