Changing It Up

Matzah: unleavened bread

Image via Wikipedia

This Foodie Friday is taking place in the midst of Passover, the annual celebration of matzoh and laxatives (trust me on this) that commemorates the Jews’ salvation and departure from Egypt.  For those of you who don’t celebrate it, the traditions of the holiday go far beyond not eating bread.  In fact there is a fairly lengthy list of proscribed foods which, depending on from which part of the Jewish world your family comes, can include corn, beans, and other things one wouldn’t immediately associate with unleavened bread.

I usually make the celebratory Passover meal for our family which of course makes me think of a quick business lesson.  Food and business?  Must be Friday!

The thing cooking during this holiday teaches you as a cook is how to adjust.  For example, everyone wants baked goods but you can’t use yeast or other leavening such as baking powder.  How do you make a light cake?  By whipping egg whites.  You adjust.  You can’t use cornstarch to thicken a sauce or  use confectioner’s sugar to make icing.  So?  To thicken we use potato starch (the white stuff left in the bowl after you soak potatoes in water).  You also use it to make your own confectioner’s sugar with regular sugar and a food processor (1 tablespoon of potato starch per cup of sugar for those of you playing along at home).

That’s the business thought too.  Many of us get thrown when we can’t do things in the manner to which we’re accustomed.  We saw this over the last few years as economic conditions prohibited many businesses from doing things normally.  Many wanted to hire but they didn’t have the resources – they couldn’t use yeast and had to figure out some other way to lighten the cake.  The ones who have thrived and are leading now that things have turned around (even Passover ends!) are the ones who didn’t sit around and bemoan the different conditions – they adjusted.

That’s one of the signs of a great executive – someone who can succeed in all kinds of conditions and adjusts their game as conditions warrant.  So when the projector won’t work or the boss cuts back travel, think of the Passover kitchen.  There are a lot of hungry people waiting on you – adjust!

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