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.
(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?
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?
A report came out yesterday afternoon which got me to think again about the changing television business. Coupled with a few other things going on, I wonder if they’re the harbingers of some sort of butterfly effect in the media business or if they’re just aberrations. Let’s see what you think.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The report is from the Leichtman Research Group (LRG) and it showed that video subscriber gains in the first quarter of 2013 by top U.S. service providers were not enough to avoid a first-ever net subscriber loss in the category over a four-quarter period. In other words, fewer people signed up for pay TV – which is pretty much any kind of cable or other video service – than cut one off. As Multichannel News reported:
Leichtman attributed the downward trend to a combination of a saturated market, an increased focus by service providers on acquiring higher-value subs, and seeing some consumers opt for a “lower-cost mixture of over-the-air TV, Netflix and other over-the-top viewing options.”
So that’s one thing – cord cutting. Is it overemphasized by many at this point? Probably, but when you see something happen for the first time ever, you need to pay attention. Then there is the bill submitted by Senator McCain to use regulatory incentives to encourage programmers and distributors to unbundle their channels and offer a la carte programming. This means that if you don’t watch a channel you wouldn’t have to buy it as part of a bundle. So if you’re effectively paying $5 for ESPN as part of a basic cable package and don’t watch it or want it available, you might get a price break. Then again, those of us who do watch it might be paying substantially more each month as the user base diminishes. Do I think the bill will pass? Probably not since the idea has been around for years. However, it might just be another butterfly flapping its wings, especially given that there are many more options for video (see point 1!).
Finally, ESPN cut staff yesterday despite record profits. One would assume they know what their projected P/L looks like and they have committed a lot of money to rights over the next few years. Making cuts now ahead of the new rights kicking in can help maintain that profitability Again, another butterfly but pair it with the potential for ala carte cable and fewer pay TV buyers, and then ask if these are butterflies or just blips? What do you think?