It's 4:30 in the morningneither night nor day. The year is 1999, and I am just getting up for my shift as lunchtime fish cook at New York City's Daniel restaurant.
My mother is, as usual, stationed at the dining room table poring over a huge manuscript. A cookbook editor, she's already a legend in her field. I am just starting out in mine.
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"Ma, I'm going to work," I say, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. She doesn't react except to hold up a simple line drawing of an oyster. "Is this a Bluepoint or a Malpeque?"