Get Me A Sharpie, Stat.
We actually had a PJP first today...let me set the scene for you. I was alone at PJP Buttonwood. It was around 3 in the afternoon and I had just finished scrubbing down the tables and running the last load of dishes through the dishwasher. I was putting new paper liners on our baking sheets and mentally willing someone to bring me an iced vanilla coffee since I couldn't leave the shop and I was dying for caffeine. I was enjoying some old school DJ Jazzy Jeff on Spotify and thinking that I should really shop-vac the front rugs after we closed for the day. Just then, the front door opened and a guy walked into the store. And if you are thinking that this is where a handsome stranger brings me an iced coffee and tells me to relax while he shop-vacs for me, then you too have watched too many Nora Ephron movies. Turns out, it was a City of Columbia Health Inspector.
And here is the thing...he was wearing jeans, tennis shoes, a ball cap, and a backpack (and a shirt, obviously). I actually thought he was a customer and he was joking with me...until he sailed through the gate and laid his backpack on the table. And then I worried he might kill me because doesn't your mother always warn you about "officials" who don't look official and then they kill you? Or maybe my mother just reads too much stuff on the Internet.
But when he pulled out official looking thermometers and notepads, I figured he must be legit or he was just a deranged health inspector wannabe (I considered suggesting they all wear Health Inspector shirts or something but then decided I should probably just be quiet). And because I honestly didn't know what else to do, I said "uhhh....do you need anything from me?" And he said no and then opened our refrigerator and proceeded to root around in it.
Before we started this PJP journey, I expected a sheet from the City of Columbia Health Department that explained what would be covered in each inspection and what the expectations for the kitchen would be. And you probably won't be surprised when I tell you that this sheet never comes (instead, you watch a 15 year-old 20/20 segment on commercial kitchens that will leave you afraid to ever eat anywhere but your home again). So I had no idea what to do with myself while he roamed around our kitchen and wrote things on his pad. I really wanted to stand there and text Jeanne and Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason with live updates, but then I wondered if that would seem rude. Then no-name Health Inspector went to the bathroom and I wondered if we could get in trouble for storing our lipstick and our shop-vac in there. (If this is the point where you wonder if I over think things, this is the point you would be completely accurate.)
The whole thing lasted less than 10 minutes, which seems fair considering you can see our entire baking space from the front door. I was a little underwhelmed to find that we had received one demerit because when we bag our fruit (we take our fruit from the food broker and bag it into more manageable portion sizes), we are supposed to date it. Apparently, this requirement comes from the Super Secret Code of Health Inspector Expectations...because how the heck would we have known that?
The local newspaper likes to publish the health inspection reports each month. I'm considering calling to ask they include a ** next to our entry with the side note of "they totally didn't know and will write on the fruit bags with Sharpies from now on, they promise."
And then no-name Health Inspector left and I didn't know if I should offer him a free baby pie as he was leaving or if that was against some other Super Secret Code of Health Inspector Expectations and so I just said "bye" and the whole thing felt awkward. Which, I guess, makes sense because I don't think it is supposed to feel any other way.
And then I skipped the shop-vac and got out the Sharpie and started labeling.