Friday, July 10, 2009

What We Learn from Our Mistakes...and What's That Photo of a Chicken Doing on my Blog?

Remember Proust and his famous madeleines? Well, here is Carrie and her famous chicken story. When I was about 13, I was visiting my aunt and cousins for a weekend at their summer house. In order to show my appreciation, I offered to make a special chicken dinner. I really worked hard on that dinner, planning all the ingredients, organizing the side dishes, and making sure I seasoned the chicken just right with - what I thought was - paprika. I really wanted the chicken to have flavor, so I kept sprinkling and sprinkling, and for some reason, not tasting as I went along, which I usually did when I cooked. So when it came time to eat, imagine my supreme horror when no one, including me, could eat one bite of that chicken because it was too spicy. Why was it too spicy? Yep, you guessed it. I was using cayenne pepper instead of paprika.

There were vague attempts to save the endeavor, including transforming it to chicken salad and drowning it in mayonnaise, but to no avail. I could have died of embarrassment, but I learned my lesson, and to this day, do you think I check what seasonings I put on my food in a serious way? You betcha. Have I ever made that mistake again? Never.

Drumstick...I mean, drumroll, please. Working with new clients is a lot like cooking a new recipe. You need to plan, and organize your ingredients, and make sure they are the right ones for the right people, or else no one will be able to enjoy the meal, and you might as well not have bothered. You also need to know how to adjust the dish along the way, as well as how long to spend preparing the dish, how to serve it, and make sure it meets with, and even surpasses, what the diner (client) may have expected.

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