Clarence

Birdseye Jungle Shapes Chicken & Sweetcorn
Image by Scorpions and Centaurs via Flickr

Seems like we always do a food topic here on Fridays.  Today there just happens to be one that coincides with this date.  You see, today is the anniversary of the day Clarence Birdseye started to sell prepackaged frozen food for the first time, in Springfield, Massachusetts.  That’s right – Birdseye isn’t just a brand name by happenstance – the brand is named after the man who invented the commercial freezing process and perfected the process known as anhydrous freezing.Around the same time, society was changing from a farm economy to a manufacturing one.  Clearly, food was going to have to be transported over greater distances and, therefore, preserved longer.   Freezing helped.  But old Clarence may have created a few other ripples that we’re seeing today.

How many of you know how to cook?  I don’t mean microwave something or grill a hot dog.  Grilled cheese doesn’t count either.  I thought so.  I’m always amazed that many people have no clue about basic kitchen skills and this, in part, may be Clarence’s fault.  You see, frozen food is a great convenience but it’s also a crutch.  While it saves busy people a lot of time (OK, creates more leisure time is a more positive spin), it also negates the need to learn about choosing ingredients and the skills needed to prepare them.  It’s one thing to choose to use frozen food – something is out of season and you can’t get it fresh or you only have 20 minutes for dinner since you’re just home and going out – but it’s quite another to incur extra cost and dumb down the overall food experience because you have no other choice due to your sadly lacking culinary skills.

Same thing happens in business. We use spell checkers instead of proofing and learning to spell. We assume all the formulas in the spreadsheet are correct and our math skills aren’t good enough to check them. We don’t bother to learn some very basic skills because there is a “frozen” solution already prepared for us.

Don’t let tools become crutches. And if anyone needs some cooking lessons, I’m here to help!

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