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Shannon Hodge - A Hard Day in the Kitchen 汉译

2014-07-07    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

A Hard Day in the Kitchen

Shannon Hodge

Everything had gone wrong that morning. The chef had arrived late, severe headache and other effects from drinking too much alcohol, nursing a hangover, and the kitchen hadn’t been cleaned properly the night before, which put him in a worse mood.

The boss, having attended the same party, was in a similar state. He was holding his head and trying to do the accounts at the same time. Enclosed in his little glass-fronted office, Caroline could see his face growing more puce by the moment. He was just reaching for his first sherry.

Running backwards and forwards between the kitchen and the dining room, Caroline had no time to think for a while.

When she’d first managed to get the waitressing job in the restaurant, she was delighted, for she was at her first year at university and jobs were scarce. She sighed. She’d wondered at the time at her ease in getting employment. It now appeared that her boss’ reputation had preceded him, and no one else had applied. However, she had no time to think of that now. A portly blue-eyed man was giving her furious looks as he waited for his order. Damn! What was it again? She had been caught up with the fussy woman who had been so particular about how her streak was cooked. In fact the offending meal had been sent back to the kitchen twice. It was, the woman complained, too well done—she liked her steak “bleu.” Yuk! Thought Caroline. Give me a well-done piece of steak every time. The man continued to glower at her while he watched the grey-haired lady’s antics.

Sweetly Caroline went to him and made sure that his order was right. “I wanted,” he enunciated in ringing tones, “just a moderate grill, French fries, and a well-done steak.” He glared dismissively at the woman at the next table. “And a green side salad.” “Right, sir,” she chirped with a cheer she did not feel. “Coming right up.” With that, she hastily retreated to make sure that Joseph the chef had it right this time.

Yes, thank goodness it was ready. Caroline thought the side salad of lettuce with tomato, several slices of hard-boiled egg, cucumber and dressing looked very attractive.

In her haste, she did not see the young man at a corner table casting her sympathetic glances as he waited patiently. Tall and about 25 with tousled black hair and an impish grin, he was watching “the circus” as he mentally dubbed it.

He could see the pretty young waitress getting more and more frustrated. Poor girl, she looked at the end of her tether. He wondered what he could do to give her a hand and pour oil on troubled waters.

But all was not over. The man, Henry Savage, had finished his grill with much enjoyment and now turned to his salad. He poised with his knife and fork in mid-air, his expression a study. A green caterpillar was slowly crawling out from under the lettuce. It was large, fat, and apparently well-fed. It paused in its travels to survey the scene. Purple with fury, Henry could barely find his voice.

“Waitress!” he thundered. “Come here this moment!” He sounded every inch the headmaster he was.

“What do you call this?” He pointed with a quivering finger at the caterpillar, which decided the world outside was not as copy as hiding behind the lettuce leaf and retreated.

Caroline, petrified by the tone of the shout, came into the dining room at a trot.

By now, the whole room had ground to a halt. The diners were all staring at her, mostly in sympathy.

Henry speechlessly gestured at the salad where the caterpillar, bored by its seclusion, had reappeared.

Caroline blanched. Nervously she tried to speak, but failed, then managed, “Sorry, sir, it’s never happened before, we’ll make you a new one.” Grabbing the salad, she whisked it away into the kitchen. But Henry Savage was not to be deterred. After a shouted opinion of what he thought of the restaurant, he stormed out.

Caroline, with a hastily prepared new salad in her hands, returned to an empty table. She didn’t know where to put herself with the rest of the customers peering at her. Bursting into tears, she rushed back to the kitchen. “Take that, you stupid man, next time make sure you wash the salad when you’ve got a hangover,” she ground out to the startled chef. “I’ll give you a tossed salad!” she snarled and threw the contents of the bowl over his head.

The manager, by now completely sober, appeared. When a hasty explanation was made by one of the more lucid customers, he was remarkably nice about the whole episode. Maybe he had a guilty conscience. Caroline mused, remembering that sometimes he was the one who helped wash the lettuce if the staff were too busy. In any event, the whole incident was quickly smoothed over and everyone’s temper restored.

After Caroline had washed her face, tided herself up and resumed working, the young man beckoned her over. “I watched you handle that,” he said admiringly. “I think you did great. That old man really gave you ‘what for.’ Do you think you could do it all over again for a film I’m producing? It was far better than a custard pie any day, you did it so beautifully!” Here he chuckled. “But you really should have thrown it over the old boy’s head: he was being the unreasonable one.”

They looked at each other. Caroline could feel the beginnings of a smile on her face. All of sudden both of them burst out laughing. Maybe it wasn’t going to be such a bad day after all.

厨房里的一场闹剧

香农•霍奇

那天早晨,所有的事都不对劲。厨师来晚了,由于喝酒过多,头痛,还在调理中。前一天晚上厨房没有收拾干净,这使他心情更坏。

曾参加同一个晚会的老板也处于类似的状态中。他一面托着头,一面还试图结账。卡罗琳可以看到他在正面镶有玻璃窗的小办公室里,他的脸那时候变得更加紫了。他在伸手去拿第一瓶雪利酒。

卡罗琳在厨房和餐厅之间前前后后地奔跑着,没有片刻时间容她思索。

当她首次设法得到餐馆女侍者这一职务时,她很高兴,因为她还在上大学一年级,而工作又很难找到。她叹了一口气。她当时奇怪为什么那么不费力地就找到工作。现在看来,她的老板早已名声在外,因此没有别人申请到他这儿来干。但是,她现在没有时间来考虑这些了。一个胖胖的蓝眼睛的男子正在给她看一副愤怒的脸色,这是他在等着点菜,该死!又是什么?她曾经被那爱挑剔的女人缠住,那女人对于她点的牛排怎么烹调要求很特殊。事实上,这份使那顾客生气的菜也退回厨房两次了。那女人抱怨说,它做得这头了——她喜欢吃“半生不熟”的牛排。啐!卡罗琳想,要我吃牛排每次都得熟透过好呢。那个男子一面观察那灰白头发的女人的古怪样子一面继续怒视着卡罗琳。

卡罗琳和颜悦色来到他面前,向他保证点菜不会出什么问题。他毫不含糊地一字一句地说:“我要一份不要太熟也不要太生的烤肉、法国油炸土豆片和一份熟透的牛排。”他轻蔑地瞪了一眼邻桌那位女人后又说:“还要一份绿色配菜色拉。”“好的,先生,”卡罗琳细声细气地用一种自己没有察觉到的愉快的口吻说,“马上就来。”随即,匆匆地回到厨房让约瑟夫厨师这次务必要做好。

好,感谢上帝,终于做好了。卡罗琳想,这份用西红柿、几片煮老的鸡蛋、黄瓜和调料搭配的生菜色拉看起来真诱人。

匆忙中,她没有注意到在角落里那张桌子旁的年轻人在耐心里等待时向她投来的同情的眼光。他是个高个儿,大约25岁,一头蓬乱的黑发,带着一种顽童的笑容注视着这出“杂耍表演”,这是他暗自给眼前这一幕起的绰号。

他可以看出这漂亮的年轻女侍者越来越泄气了。可怜的姑娘,她看来已到了山穷水尽的地步。他不知道他是否能做些什么来帮她一把以平息争端。

但事情还没有了结。那位男子,亨利•萨维奇,相当愉快地吃完了烤肉,又转向他的色拉。忽然,他举着的刀和叉停在了半空中,带着一种钻研的神情看着它。一条绿色蠕虫正慢慢地从生菜下面爬出来,很大,很肥,显然吃得很好。它在旅途中停了下来以观察周围环境,亨利气得脸色发紫,话都差点说不出来。他吼叫着:“女招待!马上来这儿!”俨然一副十足的校长派头。他用颤抖的手指指那条虫说:“你说这是什么?”这时,这条虫断定外面世界不如藏在生菜叶子后面那么舒服,于是就撤退了。

卡罗琳被那吼叫声吓呆了,赽跌到餐厅。现在整个餐厅都鸦雀无声,用餐者都一个个盯着她看,大多数是带着同情的眼光。

亨利无声的用手势示意那色拉,在那儿,那条虫不甘隐居,又重新出现了。

卡罗琳脸色煞白,想说些什么,但紧张得一时说不出来。后来终于说出:“对不起,先生,这种事以前从来没有发生过。人我们替你另做一份。”她一把抓住那碗色拉,一下子把它端进厨房。但亨利•萨维奇不肯就此罢休。他大喊大嚷地发表了一通他认为餐馆应该是什么样的议论后,就冲出去了。

卡罗琳手里端着仓促做好的新的色拉回到已经没有人的桌子旁。在顾客众目睽睽的情况下,她感到十分尴尬。她哭着跑回了厨房。她冲着受惊吓的厨师以刺耳的嗓音大声嚷:“认错吧,你这傻瓜,下次你要是再酒后头痛,也得一定把生菜干净。” “我给你一份拌好的色拉!”她说着粗暴地把那碗菜扣到他的头上。

经理来了,他此刻完全清醒。当一位头脑比较清楚的顾客匆忙地向他做了一番解释以后,他对于整个事件表现得非常理智。也许他良心上也感到内疚。卡罗琳思索着,想起有时候如果员工们太忙的话,他就是帮助洗生菜的人。无论如何,整个事件很快平息下去了,而每个人又都恢复了平静。

当卡罗琳洗了脸,梳理了一下,又重新工作时,那个年轻人向她招手,要她过去。他表示赞赏地说:“我观察了你处理的这件事。我想你处理得很好。那老家伙确实把你‘整’得够受的。你能考虑为我制作的一部影片再重演一遍刚才发生的事吗?不管怎么说,它比粗俗的打闹喜剧要好得多,你干得真漂亮!”这时他咯咯地笑了起来。“但是你真应该把那碗色拉扣到那老家伙的头上,他当时真不讲道理。”

他们互相对视了一下,卡罗琳开始感到自己脸上有了笑意。突然,他们两人都哈哈大笑起来。也许,这终究不是很坏的一天。

(乔萍、瞿淑蓉、宋洪玮 编著)



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