It's cooking day. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and if I want anytime with my family, then I have to start the cooking today. On the stove, as I write this, is a Dutch oven with bubbling, the meat has been simmering since last evening and the gravy is thicker than the mud outside my home. On another burner I have lasagna sauce simmering and on the third burner cocktail meatballs absorb the flavors of the sauce.
The beef stew is for today and smells wonderful. I have been having lasagna for Christmas Eve in between church services since I was weaned off baby food; my mom started the tradition and I carry it on for my family. The meatballs are one of many appetizers that will be served on Christmas day – a table filled with warm and cold finger foods that will satisfy the guests throughout the day.
Traditions. Things we do, almost without thinking. They've worked in the past and will continue to do so going forward.
Have you heard the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it?"
As steeped in tradition as my life is, I have to confess that I am not in agreement with that statement. That is why this year I have added an ingredient to my meatballs – the sauce usually made with a bottle of grape jelly and a bottle of chili sauce, this year I've added 2 tablespoons of Grey Poupon mustard.
The lasagna is different this year because I'm trying no-boil noodles. A way to make the same dish yet hopefully better because it removes one of my least favorite steps (dealing with super hot, boiled noodles).
I am taking something that isn't broken and yet striving to fix it. My belief is, if something isn't broken – is there a way to make it better? Fast? More economical? I'm using a new combination spice in my beef stew this year and the smell is outstanding – I don't know how I'll wait until the dinner hour to sample.
What in your business, your life, is the same that perhaps could be improved? Your marketing message? Your employee commission structure? Your process for giving and receiving internal communication?
What ain't broke that could be made better?
Deborah Chaddock Brown
Writer, Cook, Bottle washer, Fixing the unbroken