I'm gearing up for the publication date of "The Customer is Always Wrong," August 8, 2017. That means I have to keep my strength up. Working at Mama's Royal Cafe in Oakland in the late 1970's as a waitress, I learned everything I know about cooking from watching the short-order cooks. At that stage of my life, I couldn't imagine how you could assemble a whole meal. How did you get everything to come out at the same time? What? You have to plan it, and time it, and prepare? Who knew? I began to work the mis-en-place - as Anthony Bourdain would call it, unlike any of the snarling, attitudinous, punk junkie fry cooks I watched would ever do- and over the years turned myself into a pretty goddamn good cook, if I do say so. This omelet- charming in its wabi-sabi, don't you think - contains a little cheddar cheese and some salmon roe, with a little chopped green onion on top. Another thing I learned in that kitchen was presentation! You can't just slop something down. You have to make it pretty. At Mama's Royal Cafe, we used vintage restaurant ware because at the time it could be bought for pennies. Now it's crazy collectible! Lucky for me I have an entire set of this Jackson china from fabulous New York tableware store Fishs Eddy.