Tag Archives: Christmas

Seven New Fishes

This is the last Foodie Friday post before Christmas and I’m writing it while sitting on a train heading north. Seven years ago (how is this for synergy), I wrote a piece about the Seven Fishes. You’ll read the original piece below.  In addition to the original business point it makes, this train ride is adding a corollary. With spotty wifi, I have quite a bit of time to reflect. One thing I’m anticipating is that while my family has its own holiday traditions, this year will be different. My sister has moved far away, so no Christmas morning with her family. We welcomed a new person into our family officially this past summer so the core family itself is different. The gifts have become less important; the family time way more so.

To put the end at the beginning, questioning why we do things in business needs to be done with the knowledge that like it or not, change is constant. We might as well control the change and not react to it. To those of you celebrating, Merry Christmas. To those of you just eating, enjoy.

Our Foodie Friday theme today is La Vigilia, the Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes.  Now what, you might ask, does a nice Jewish boy know about such things?  Well, having spent a great deal of my youth around my best friend’s Italian mother and grandmother while they cooked, I know quite a bit.  I know that they started to prepare this feast several days in advance, as they put salt cod into water to hydrate it (there was a running battle about using milk to do that).  I know that they spent many hours over the subsequent days preparing all manner of seafood – fried, broiled, and baked.  And I know that it all was mind-blowingly good.

There’s one thing I didn’t know, and still don’t, about the Feast:  what does it represent?  Everyone knows it came as a southern Italian tradition and there are lots of theories about the number 7.  But apparently no one knows for sure and that’s the business point to end the week.

All too often in business, we do things because that’s the way they’ve always been done.  When we ask why or what does it mean, there is much head-scratching and often there’s uncertainty but both are generally followed with a shrug of the shoulders and a supposition that someone higher up wanted it that way.  I used to tell new employees that they possessed a rare commodity: fresh eyes with which to examine all of our business traditions.  They were not supposed to take “because that’s how we’ve always done it” as a satisfactory answer if something didn’t make sense to them.  Sometimes as we dug down into the “why” we figured out a better “how.”

I’m not sure it’s important that we understand the “why” of La Vigilia, but that’s an exception.  In business, everything changes pretty rapidly and the traditional ways may no longer work.  Questioning the reasons why we do certain things is a critical item on the path to success and we should encourage it.

And now, it’s off to go find some fresh fish.  Buon Natale!

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Gone Fishing

It’s a very warm Christmas Eve here in the east – warm enough that many of us will go play golf today in shorts.  Hard to think that’s it’s Christmas tomorrow. In any event, this is the last new post before Christmas (I’ll post Monday, but I’ll probably begin the “Best Of The Year” series) and I wanted to touch upon the Christmas Eve tradition of the Seven Fishes.  I wrote about it several years ago and after reading it again, I thought I got it right the first time (funny how that saves you work later on!).  To those of you celebrating, Merry Christmas.  Whether we observe the day or not, we should enjoy its culinary gift!

Thanks Saveur!

Our Foodie Friday theme today is La Vigilia, the Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes.  Now what, you might ask, does a nice Jewish boy know about such things?  Well, having spent a great deal of my youth around my best friend’s Italian mother and grandmother while they cooked, I know quite a bit.  I know that they started to prepare this feast several days in advance, as they put salt cod into water to hydrate it (there was a running battle about using milk to do that).  I know that they spent many hours over the subsequent days preparing all manner of seafood – fried, broiled, and baked.  And I know that it all was mind-blowingly good.

There’s one thing I didn’t know, and still don’t, about the Feast:  what does it represent?  Everyone knows it came as a southern Italian tradition and there are lots of theories about the number 7.  But apparently no one knows for sure and that’s the business point to end the week.

All too often in business, we do things because that’s the way they’ve always been done.  When we ask why or what does it mean, there is much head-scratching and often there’s uncertainty but both are generally followed with a shrug of the shoulders and a supposition that someone higher up wanted it that way.  I used to tell new employees that they possessed a rare commodity: fresh eyes with which to examine all of our business traditions.  They were not supposed to take “because that’s how we’ve always done it” as a satisfactory answer if something didn’t make sense to them.  Sometimes as we dug down into the “why” we figured out a better “how.”

I’m not sure it’s important that we understand the “why” of La Vigilia, but that’s an exception.  In business, everything changes pretty rapidly and the traditional ways may no longer work.  Questioning the reasons why we do certain things is a critical item on the path to success and we should encourage it.

And now, it’s off to go find some fresh fish.  Buon Natale!

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Wrapping It Up

There won’t be a blog post tomorrow – it’s a day for family and friends and not thoughts of business. I know it’s TunesDay but the music today is all my own.  It’s become my annual thing to repeat the most read posts of the year between the two holidays, which means this will be the last original post of the year.  Most read music post next Tuesday; most read Foodie Friday post…well, you can probably figure it out.

English: Gift ideas for men - wrapping paper e...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First and foremost, a healthy and Happy New Year to each and every one of you and to your families. Having had several health issues occur within my extended family over the last year or so I can tell you being healthy trumps anything business can give you.

As I’m writing this my two daughters are in the next room wrapping gifts for everyone.  I’ve been forbidden to leave the room I’m in lest the surprise of gift-giving be jeopardized.  They will be the first to admit that they inherited their father’s inability to wrap gifts.  My futile attempts look as if the package had been wrapped and mailed through a series of post offices across each continent, each of which adds a nick and a tear to the wrap job.   Needless to say, the quality of my gifts needs to be spectacular since the packaging is terrible.  Which of course is the business point.

A walk through most markets show you that most companies spend a lot of time thinking about packaging and nearly all of them fail.  Very few go beyond the conventional.  Have a look at these examples and your mind will be opened up as to what we can do – whether it’s a package or the product itself – when we don’t use where we are as a jumping off point.  Starting from scratch is hard – there are few things more terrifying as a blank whiteboard (or an empty space in which one needs to write a blog post).  Those blank spaces – filled only with promise – are where we need to force ourselves to begin.

The year starts next week and with it everything is new again.  I hope you use it to rethink everything.  Even if you come out if the same place, you’re better off for having done the exercise and placing it all in a nicely wrapped package.  Happy Holidays!

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Seven More Fishes

I started to write our Foodie Friday post and got part way through it when I realized that I had written it before.  Seriously – I had written a nearly identical post a few years ago.  Maybe it’s a sign that it’s the end of the year and the creativity tank is almost empty.  Fortunately, the holidays always fill it back up.

Thanks Saveur!

In any event, this is the last new post before Christmas (I’ll post Monday but I’ll probably begin the “Best Of The Year” series) and I wanted to touch upon the Christmas Eve tradition of the Seven Fishes.  The earlier post is below – after reading it again I thought I got it right the first time (funny how that saves you work later on!).  To those of you celebrating, Merry Christmas.  Whether we observe the day or not, we should enjoy its culinary gift!  To wit:

Our Foodie Friday theme today is La Vigilia, the Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes.  Now what, you might ask, does a nice Jewish boy know about such things?  Well, having spent a great deal of my youth around my best friend’s Italian mother and grandmother while they cooked, I know quite a bit.  I know that they started to prepare this feast several days in advance, as they put salt cod into water to hydrate it (there was a running battle about using milk to do that).  I know that they spent many hours over the subsequent days preparing all manner of seafood – fried, broiled, and baked.  And I know that it all was mind-blowingly good.

There’s one thing I didn’t know, and still don’t, about the Feast:  what does it represent?  Everyone knows it came as a southern Italian tradition and there are lots of theories about the number 7.  But apparently no one knows for sure and that’s the business point to end the week.

All too often in business, we do things because that’s the way they’ve always been done.  When we ask why or what does it mean, there is much head-scratching and often there’s uncertainty but both are generally followed with a shrug of the shoulders and a supposition that someone higher up wanted it that way.  I used to tell new employees that they possessed a rare commodity: fresh eyes with which to examine all of our business traditions.  They were not supposed to take “because that’s how we’ve always done it” as a satisfactory answer if something didn’t make sense to them.  Sometimes as we dug down into the “why” we figured out a better “how.”

I’m not sure it’s important that we understand the “why” of La Vigilia, but that’s an exception.  In business, everything changes pretty rapidly and the traditional ways may no longer work.  Questioning the reasons why we do certain things is a critical item on the path to success and we should encourage it.

And now, it’s off to go find some fresh fish.  Buon Natale!

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Seven Fishes

Our Foodie Friday theme today is La Vigilia, the Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes.  Now what, you might ask, does a nice Jewish boy know about such things?  Well, having spent a great deal of my youth around my best friend’s Italian mother and grandmother while they cooked, I know quite a bit.  I know that they started to prepare this feast several days in advance, as they put salt cod into water to hydrate it (there was a running battle about using milk to do that).  I know that they spent many hours over the subsequent days preparing all manner of seafood – fried, broiled, and baked.  And I know that it all was mind-blowingly good.

There’s one thing I didn’t know, and still don’t, about the Feast:  what does it represent?  Everyone knows it came as a southern Italian tradition and there are lots of theories about the number 7.  But apparently no one knows for sure and that’s the business point to end the week. Continue reading

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Digesting Super Sunday

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of glad that the Super Bowl now gets played in February. I mean, every month should have an outstanding food day. President’s Day? I don’t think so. Valentine’s Day? Maybe for some. But seriously – almost every other month has a holiday associated with a big food blow-out and now February does too. Yippee!
So what does this have to do with business? Continue reading

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Faith

A christmas tree.

It’s Christmas Eve tonight, one of the big events on the Christian calendar. This, of course, got me thinking about faith. No, we’re not going to get into religion in this space – we avoid it as we do politics (didn’t anyone ever teach you those aren’t topics for polite conversation?). Instead, I want to tackle faith from a business perspective (and just maybe you’ll extend it elsewhere). Continue reading

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