The Missing Ingredient

First Foodie Friday of the year! If you read yesterday’s post you know that I’m on the road in Florida wth my folks, moving them into an independent living community. Part of the appeal of where they’ll be living is that their meals are all served in a lovely central dining room. I’ve now eaten there a few times and while the food was nicely cooked, I felt that it was on the bland side. Something is definitely missing. I thought it might be seasoning but I did have a blackened salmon one night which certainly had spice. It took until last evening to put my finger on it.

Their new home is a community where many of the residents suffer from hypertension. As a result, the chef doesn’t use much salt in his cooking. While there is salt (and pepper) available on the table, I guess I’ve become used to most dishes I’m served (and those I cook myself) having an appropriate, although not excessive, amount of salt to enhance the other flavors that are going on in the dish. That’s what was lacking here, and it’s a good reminder about business as well.

No one orders most dishes with salt in mind (ok, salt crusted fish and a few other things are the exceptions) but they will certainly notice if the salt is absent. There are certain things customers expect from a business which are certainly not their primary reason for patronizing a business but which will dimish the experience if they’re not present. Sometimes we forget the most basic, simple ingredients in our businesses or we dimish their importance. That’s a big mistake. Even if other elements are perfect, the lack of a key, basic ingredient can wipe out all of our good work. We need to pay as much attention to the basics as we do to the spectacular stuff that makes us shine.

I don’t fault the chef here. He is serving a community with some specific medical issues that require an adjustment in basic cooking best practices. You probably aren’t in the same situation. Your community expects you to include the key ingredients. Are you doing so?

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Filed under food, Thinking Aloud

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