Monthly Archives: May 2013


Foodie Friday Fun time! Today our topic is a sauce many of you have had with crab cakes, french fries, cold beef filet, or many other dishes called remoulade. Other than spelling, and the fact that it’s good, that’s about where the agreement ends.

Français : Sauce rémoulade faite sans mayonnaise

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was chatting with a dear friend and fellow cook on the topic (we had dined at a place with excellent remoulade years ago and were trying to figure it out) and realized that we didn’t even know where to start.  Unlike many dishes, remoulade is a bit of a chameleon, changing itself based on its enviroment.

Cajun remoulade is different from French, which varies from Belgian.  Is it mayonnaise-based or more of an aioli (I know – splitting hairs bit still…)? Is there ketchup in it or not? Anchovies? Do we use French cornichons or a dill pickle? Capers – in or out (is that a master’s thesis topic or what)?  In fact, maybe it’s more of a condiment than a sauce?  Tell a cook to make a remoulade and you’ll get one of several things, each of which is “right” based on the cook’s background.  It’s unlike one of the “mother sauces” which are very specific. Which is the business point.

Most business issues are like remoulade – there is more than one right answer.  As my friend said, “there are so many different ways and you don’t know which one is right for the job, maybe you should just give them a list of options and let them pick the one that suits their needs the best.”  Good advice for consultants like me and other business folks like you.  What can hamper our business success is thinking that there is just ONE way to accomplish the goal.  We need to focus on “a” right answer, not “the.”

We haven’t quite deduced how this restaurant made their remoulade – they’re out of business now so we can’t go back and ask – but we’ll keep trying.  What we do know is that their answer to the remoulade question was unique and worked for them with their food.  That’s just like the answers to most of your business questions are.  You with me?

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The Grind

When you’re done reading this, how about you try writing your own screed?  You don’t have to jump on a fancy CMS or anything – just whip out a pen and your old-fashioned pad or open up a text editor and bang away.  See if you can get to 300 words or so.  Go ahead – I’ll wait.

photo by Randall Niles on Flickr

Done?  That wasn’t so hard I’ll bet – most of us have a thing or two on our minds or at least can assemble a few cogent thoughts about what we had for breakfast or a work-related project.  Maybe it was even fun.  Now do it again.  And again.

Here’s the thing: doing something once can be fun. Doing it day after day can be crushing, especially if it’s not something you enjoy.  Writing isn’t easy for some people just as public speaking terrifies others (and I’ve even known folks for whom speaking to two other people counts as public speaking!).  I enjoy writing almost as much as I enjoy the interaction and feedback I get from lobbing it out there day after day but I’m not going to lie and say that it’s always easy to crank out the screed (which I consider part of my work).  The fact that I enjoy it makes the grind of doing it bearable.

I suspect that what ever “grind” feelings we might harbor about our daily lives they’re compounded by the almost universal feeling that THERE’S JUST NO TIME.  Work never stops since we’re always plugged in.  Social media is a time suck.  Then there’s the other media – TV, music, reading books (remember those?) .  So how does one deal with it?

  • If you’re not happy with your job, start to think about another one.   I know that’s easier said then done but if you don’t start the journey you’ll never get to the destination.
  • Unplug.  Seriously.  Even for a day.  It’s like a big gulp of oxygen and it will all be there when you get back.
  • Change your perspective.  If you’re reading this on a laptop, flip it upside down.  Completely different experience  right?  Look out a window from which you never look out.  Sit in the back seat of your own car and let someone else drive you.  You never know what silly little perspective change will be a major life adjustment (trust me as a guy who’s had a couple).

If it’s not fun more than once,  stop doing whatever it is before it becomes a grind.  You see, at some point anything we do over and over does become one.  In my mind, what’s getting ground is our spirit and our souls and we need to keep those around.  What do you think?

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Death Or Chichi?

There is an old joke about three missionaries who are captured by a warrior tribe.  The chief gives the first two missionaries a choice – death or chichi.  Not wanting to die, each chooses chichi which involves all kinds of physical abuse.  The third missionary chooses death.  The chief smiles and says “DEATH!  But first, chichi!”

Harris Interactive

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought of this when I read a piece in the Marketing Daily about a recent Harris study:

According to a recent Harris poll of more than 2,000 adults, nearly two-thirds (63%) said they would prefer to sit next to a crying baby than a smelly adult.

“It’s not like either is preferable,” Regina Corso, senior vice president at Harris, tells Marketing Daily. “No one likes the crying baby, but you can understand it’s not the baby’s fault.”

Like the missionaries, neither choice is a particularly good one.  However, there is a lesson in the study and it’s really not about the fact that the baby isn’t at fault.  It’s about the consumer being in control.  The sound of a noisy baby is easy to deal with – noise-cancelling headphones and a little music can fix the issue pretty quickly. A smelly adult is out of your control and is not something you’re going to mask.  Spraying air-freshener on a plane isn’t really an option (assuming you carry air freshener) and is possibly just as disruptive to your neighbors as the stench is to you.

Let’s visit the thought again.  Consumers want to be in control almost more than any other demand they make of your business.   They already control the brand image via social and other media and are comfortable with less than optimal choices as long as they are the ones making the decision.  The days of imposing your will on consumers are long gone.  You with me?


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