The florescent light flickered on, bathing the stainless steel appliances in their most unnatural brightness. The cook adjusted the thermostat to no avail, the furnace had broken again. She thought longingly of last summer, when the kitchen had been so hot the blocks of shortening would melt into puddles on the chipped tile floor. The kitchen was a long and narrow room, with the preparation equipment lining the right hand side, and the cooking appliances against the left wall. .
She hurried to turn on the fryers, hoping they would provide her with some warmth, but apparently the furnace had not been working overnight, because the shortening inside the each fryer had solidified into one immense, white mass. The cook looked from the four square fryers to the odd shaped machine sitting next to them. A large cauldron-like device was balanced over a very low but long steel table. The cook flicked the power switch on the cauldron and turned the power level to eight. She disappeared into the freezer and returned with a bag of what looked like red mud. The substance was in fact crackling, the base for her gravy, which had been collected by the night before from the bottom of the fryers. She ripped open the plastic bag and dropped the frozen chunk of crackling into the heating pot and let the substance simmer. .
The cook then turned her attention back to the four fryers. They had made progress on melting the shortening, and were ready to be stirred. She reached for her stirring stick, which was long and metal, and began work on the fryers. Stirring the fryers was difficult work, but not all together unpleasant. It was a warm task. She stuck her head over the rim of the fryer and stirred down to the bottom. The grease was thick and solid in places, but the harder she worked the less cold she felt. Soon the grease was transparent and she could see the bottom of the machine. The room was beginning to fill with the thick aroma of boiling grease, which indicated the fryers were fit for use.