The Mesmerizing 1971 Moves Of A New Hampshire Short Order Cook


(via) “A very fast short order cook preforms at 2AM in a greasy diner for inebriated customers.” So sayeth the brief entry associated with this YouTube video from a night in 1971. I dug a little further and found out that the mesmerizing Laconia, New Hampshire character was pretty much the sort of worker that every restaurant wants: a multi-tasking machine whose economy of movement and Tigger-like bounce were things to behold. His real name was Kenneth S. Osgood, but he was known to all simply as “Spider” on account of his speed and agility. Before being called to the grill at some of Laconia’s more famous/infamous diners (eg. The Shore, Paul’s, Paugus). Mr. Osgood was a Golden Glove boxer, which goes far in explaining his expertise in the bob and weave (and the right hook way in which he opens a walk-in cooler). And yet he was also once upon a time an antique clock repairman, a vocation requiring – one imagines – an incredibly deft and subtle touch. Despite taking different turns in life, as a lathe operator or as a maker of knitting machines for example, “Spider” kept returning to the kitchen, working shifts well into his late 60s. He died in 2012 at the age of 82, having never received his Foodsafe certificate.

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There are 2 comments

  1. I worked with a guy in a hotel kitchen doing early mornings.
    I did the baking, he pounded out the breakfast functions.
    Once I was ahead of the game, there were times I would just stand and watch him, sipping a coffee while enjoying a croissant with bacon – impressed as he had economy of movement; every step served a purpose and none wasted.
    On his day off, three cooks came in to do his job.
    H

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