More than just scraping along

“Rational habits permit of discarding nothing left over, and the use to which leftovers (and their economic allies, the wild things of nature) are put is often at the heart of a cooking's character.”—Richard Olney, Simple French Food (1974)

spatulaThe spatula is one of my fave kitchen tools. They are flexible. They are heat-resistant (to a point). They have fun colors and they do something really well: They scrape up remains from a bowl, pot, pan, or plate, and suddenly what seemed like nothing, becomes something more substantial.

This is important. I do not want to waste food. As a decent cook (not a chef, but a cook) I adhere to the tradition that one makes the most of what one has. If you’re nodding your head, you’re remembering really good Sunday meals made of nothing but leftovers and unused ingredients.

“From time immemorial, soups and broths have been the worldwide medium for utilizing what we call the kitchen byproducts or as the French call them, the ‘dessertes de la table’ (leftovers), or ‘les parties interieures de la bête,’ such as head, tail, lights, liver, knuckles and feet.”—Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book (1949)

What seems like nothing, turns out to be something

It’s always surprising. Run the spatula around the side of the saucepan, and voila, there’s more! Discovering how a little adds up to a lot goes to the heart of keeping to a diet. A calorie here, a calorie there, ( often attributed to the late Illinois politician Everett Dirksen*) “and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

It goes to the heart of perception, and to our favorite quote by George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place.”

The metaphor of the spatula phenomena--the illusion of what's really there --extends beyond the kitchen and into your daily work.

Are You:

paying attention? Are there pieces of information that, “scraped” together, would help you to be more informed, and make better decisions?
in search of lost time? Or “scraps”** of time? Yes, it adds up. ’nough said?
seeking quality assurance? It can be a deal-breaker when your clients or colleagues don’t use the spatula to aggregate (test, review, or research) the project before you washed the bowl.

Whether it is in lean manufacturing, cooking, or your next staff meeting, act on eliminating waste. When we use a spatula --mental or physical --to scrape up the scraps, good things can happen.

*According to the Dirksen Congressional Center website, there is still some speculation as to whether or not Everett Dirksen said, as a guest on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”**scrap ORIGIN late Middle English (as a plural noun denoting fragments of uneaten food): from Old Norse skrap ‘scraps’; related to skrapa ‘to scrape.’ The verb dates from the late 19th cent.
Posted by Frank J. Mendelson | Best Practices, Business, Business Communications, About Us, Communications | Comments 0 |
Connect with us on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter Add us on Facebook Subscribe to our RSS feed

Subscribe to email updates