Tag Archives: walk-in cooler

Buck Brook #27 – Running Rat

It was another of my days on kitchen duty at Buck Brook Farm and I was man-handling a huge square pan of chicken swimming in a thin sauce into the commercial oven. Suddenly one of the students burst out of the walk-in cooler. She was all atwitter about seeing a rat.  

I guess some folks live around rats but I had never shared space with our fellow life form that lives as grey rodents with bald tails hiding from the world. I prefer the variety of rodents that sport busy tails, an abundance of brown or grey hair, and are always squirreling around climbing trees for all of creation to enjoy. 

Not having been around rats, I finally had a chance to check one out. I started hurrying to the walk-in, hoping it would not be gone before I got there.

As I entered the walk-in I was astonished at the size of that rat! It was longer than a commercial sized can of tomatoes and it was running like lightening. How it ever fit through whatever small holes it could find through the walk-in’s walls was astonishing to me.

Just then one of our energetic students came screaming in, yelling like a Mongolian hoard riding into battle, and swinging one of the kitchen’s sharp French knives.

As fast as that rat was sprinting it was not fast enough. The flash of the knife in one mighty swoop toward the wooden shelf that frightened beast was running on and we were left with a front half a rat and a back half a rat.

I refrained from serving up a chef’s special. 

Buck Brook #23 – Gassed

Once a week at Buck Brook Farm we gathered together and committed GI. Don’t ask me what the term “GI” had to do with scrubbing the kitchen, but gather and scrub we did.

On one such gathering several students and I were assigned to the walk-in cooler and it came time to mop the concrete floor. 

I’ve always been dedicated to doing a good job while using as little time and effort as possible. I had also learned ammonia is great for cutting grease and bleach can’t be beat for sanitizing surfaces. Bleach also has the advantage of turning things white, a selling point when getting concrete to look clean. So, several good of glugs of both ammonia and bleach went splashing into the mop water.

I was rewarded with a medium boil immediately activating the mix and a noticeable mist rising from the bucket. 

Just then the the kitchen manager happened to need some help at the stove so I left my station and went to lend a hand. I was so proud of my cleaning concoction that I immediately told the manager about it, flourishing the story with how active the mop bucket was with the bubbles and mists.

And my reward for solving the war on grim and germ? — A kitchen manager dropping parts of the stove as she went screaming toward the walk-in. “Get out! Get out now,” she repeated as she ripped open the door and grabbed the mop bucket and scurried to the kitchen door. She dashed to the middle of the school’s driveway and threw the solution on the ground, all the while yelling, “stay away — stay away.”

Who would think my two favorite cleaning products would combine to produce chlorine gas? And that chlorine gas quickly damages lungs and can soon lead to death? 

Perhaps I should have paid more attention in eighth grade chemistry. 

In case you, dear reader, were distracted during those tender years, here’s a web site with helpful hints on what common products to avoid mixing. 

Personally the whole experience has me reluctant to mix chemicals the pharmaceutical industry tells me to toss down my gullet.