Line cooks quickly learn to recognize one another at first glance. Not just from that manic don't-fuck-with-me-I've-just-worked-three-doubles gaze, or the scent of garlic and fryer oil tattooed into their skins, but by their forearms and hands -- pocked, welted, stitched-up, janky. Every cook in town looks like he or she has done a few years of hard labor in a North Korean prison camp. It took a few years after leaving the job, before I could roll up my sleeves without attracting comments.
If you haven't seen it on the front page of the Weekly website, today Chantal Anderson just posted a marvelous slide show of all the kitchen scars she convinced Seattle cooks to show her, complete with the stories behind the wounds.