This Foodie Friday it’s all about alchemy. Back in medieval times, alchemy was seen as magic even though it’s the forerunner of modern chemistry. Way back then, the point was to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir. It was a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination. To me, part of why I love to cook is that magic. It’s something that any of us can do as we transform raw ingredients into something more valuable than the ingredients themselves.

An Alchemical Laboratory, from The Story of Al...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have friends to whom making a simple sandwich taste delicious is magic. They can’t cook at all. What a shame, as Chef Ramsay would say. I believe that learning to do some simple cooking makes us more self-sufficient and the confidence which ensues carries over into other parts of our lives.  If you’re in business, it turns out you’re more of an alchemist than you think.

The obvious comparison is anyone who manufactures a product, transforming raw materials of lesser value into something else with higher value.  As an aside, we forget sometimes how many people it really takes to make anything, since we tend to forget that if we use lumber or minerals or just about anything else to create our products, many people had to create or harvest those raw materials for us.

I look at great managers as alchemists.  Anyone can put together a group of people and charge them with tasks.  It takes an alchemist to transform that group into something more, converting the base metals into gold.   It’s the same magic as what goes on in the kitchen.  Sure, the better the ingredients, the better the dish, but coaxing something special out of even average ingredients is just as magical.

So here is to all of you alchemists out there, both those in the kitchen and those in the office.  Have a magical weekend!


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Filed under food, Thinking Aloud

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