Author Archives: Margery

Characteristics of a Good Bartender

To effectively establish the parameters of a good bartender, one must look at the subject from 2 perspectives; the customer and the bar owner/manager. The attributes that hold importance to one in most cases are not the same for the other. It is the bartender that finds the middle ground that will ultimately be deemed, by his customers, peers and employers, a good bartender.

The bartender’s importance and stature varies geographically. In Florida, for instance, the bartender is the best guy in the bar to know. Everyone in Florida is a “bartender”, much like everyone in Hollywood is an “actor”. Waiters and waitresses will tell you they are only waiting tables until they can “get a bar gig”. In some states in the Midwest, however, the bartender, and hospitality people in general, are looked upon as uneducated and lower class. Still, as a customer in a bar, you will want to know and have the respect of the bartender.

As a customer, you want prompt service, a clean area in which to drink, and a drink made properly so that the taste is neither overpowering nor weak. Those parameters are also what the manager expects. Some have said that a god bartender will give a customer a free drink or two. The manager would disagree. Maybe one expects only a few seconds before the bartender pours another. That is unrealistic unless you are drinking in a small bar with few customers. A good bartender gives as much attention as his business allows, pours drinks to recipe standards to ensure the proper taste, and keeps a clean bar. The good bartender also asks his manager to comp drinks to good customers because a good manager will always comp a few to loyal guests or big tippers. It is not the bartender’s right to, without permission, give away a drink. One cannot expect a gas station attendant to give away a gallon of gas, yet bartenders and owners are expected to give away liquor, which in many cases, is as expensive as gasoline.

So, before you rate your bartender, know the rating system. Understand the bar you are in. If you get your drink timely, it is tasty, and the bartender is friendly, then leave a big tip and you will get ongoing great service. If you walk into a busy bar or nightclub, tip extra big on your first round, look the bartender in the eye, and say thank you. You will get great service the rest of the night. If you are not happy with your bartender or service, by all means, tell the manager. Trust me, they want to know. And, you may even get a free drink.

Reference:
1. Top 10 Qualities of a Great Bartender | Advertising Schools
2. Characteristics of a Bartender | Chron.com

Making the most of Winter Vegetables

Spring may seem to be just around the corner, but it will be a while before we get the new vegetables and salads. I am talking about the UK now, as I’m not sure when the USA starts to get their new veggies. This is the fag-end of Winter and an ideal time to stock up with cheap vegetables. For me this a busy time as I’m really found of every vegetable and hate paying higher prices as the seasons change. One good thing is that many root vegetables are easy to freeze and at the lowest prices are ideal for people on a budget, students, elderly people, or just people who like a bargain.
So what are root vegetables?

In the UK we tend to stick to familiar tastes, so these are the ones to look out for.
Swede (not to mixed up with turnips.)
Carrots.
Turnips
Parsnips.
Onions.
Leeks.
There are a few more but these are the staple foods and are so cheap it’s a crime not to buy them. I haven’t mentioned potatoes as although they can be frozen it takes too much work. Similarly, vegetables such as Fennel are an acquired taste and don’t adapt well to many recipes. To get these ready for freezing, simply top and tail any that may have a small amount of new leaves. Otherwise just scrape them gently to remove any pesticides. This might not be necessary if you live near to a farm shop, but don’t confuse high-priced organic vegetables with those you can wash. It’s worth buying a good chopping knife if you don’t already own one, this will be used for many years to come. It’s also a good present for a student, along with some simple recipes.
When the vegetables are clean chop them into pieces about two to three centimetres thick. Have a saucepan boiling and pour them into the saucepan. Bring back to the boil, then remove them and immediately plunge into cold water. This stops them overcooking and developing black spots on the surface. With a bit of practise you can juggle two to three different vegetables this way. Save all kinds of bags and even fast food containers. I sent my daughter off to university with ten of these. The dual containers were ideal for freezing carrots in one compartment and leeks in another. You could argue that a tin of cheap carrots cost just 14p, well I’ve bought a pound in weight for the same price.

How to use them.

In soups, stews, casseroles, stir-fried or fresh and crunchy with various dips. Use boiled potatoes with some swede and carrots. (add squash or pumpkin if available), Mash together, season with a sprinkling of nutmeg and finely chopped spring onions to make a vegetarian dish. Bake in the oven for about ten minutes on a medium settling and you get a lovely looking accompaniment to other dishes. Puree for children and babies instead of paying a fortune for ready meals with only half the taste. It’s also good for elderly people who have trouble swallowing. (My late mother had Parkinson’s disease but ate many dishes like this.).

I Haven’t forgotten the greens either. Broccoli is one of those vegetables that seem to last through a few seasons. Cauliflower is more of an Autumn and winter vegetable, but can often be bought for half the frozen price. Kale and other leafy cabbages such as Savoy are best blanched in hot water for a minute and frozen as soon as possible. Take great care that there is no air left in the bag as you freeze the vegetables and they will last a good few months. I haven’t mentioned peas and green beans on purpose. This is because I’m fortunate to live in an area that is near to many of the “Pick your own” farms. It’s worth visiting a few of these on a day out when you don’t intend to buy anything. Chat to the farmers and get an idea of the going rate. Don’t expect all these to be cheap, they rely heavily on people buying goods in bulk. Most will be happy to tell you when they have slumps, this is the time to go picking.
Make it a family day out so you’re not wasting petrol. Better still, fill up your car boot and sell to the neighbors. Or do a good deed and donate some of your purchases to your local community center, they will make sure they go to a good home.

Oh and if you find where to buy mushrooms cheap in South Wales, could you let me know ?