Mac and Grease, aka Mac ‘n’ Bacon

April 2nd, 2019 by jtubbs

 

 

Cooking bacon

From page 188, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon: Stories of Pork Bellies, Hush Puppies, Rock ‘n’ Roll Music and Bacon Fat Mayonnaise:

Ingredients:

1/2 pound really good macaroni (I swear by the Martelli family’s)
8 ounces sliced bacon (about 4 to 6 slices)(I like Benton’s because the simplicity of the dish gets its full smokiness out front)
Coarse sea salt to taste
Freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper to taste

Procedure:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add lots of salt, then pasta. Stir well.

While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until done. Remove the bacon from the pan, reserving the hot fat in the skillet. Chop the bacon and stand by. As soon as the pasta is almost al dente, drain it well and add it to the skillet along with the bacon. Toss well and cook for another minute or two, so that the grease really cooks into the macaroni. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper to taste. Serve immediately in hot bowls.

Optional additions:

“Enh,” Meg wrote me a day or so after she’d sent the original recipe (the word means “yes”  in Ojibway). “Try the mac and grease with a few big garden tomatoes cut into 1-inch cubes.” It’s incredibly simple—just chunks of really good tomato tossed into the hot bacon fat for a minute or two with some salt before the pasta goes into the skillet. “The tomatoes,” she said, should “get hot but not saucy, if you know what I mean. I did, and I made the dish and it was, again, in its simplicity, really, really good. Of course it’s only worth doing when the tomatoes are in season. The rest of the year you could gussy up your Mac and Grease by tossing in chopped vegetables or greens of most any sort, and cooking until they’re somewhere between soft and golden brown. Thinking more exotically, I want to throw chopped hickory nuts on top, too. You, of course, can do whatever you like. Like most pasta dishes, this one lends itself to hundreds of variations.

Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a side dish


It’s Time for Bacon!

April 1st, 2019 by jtubbs

From the book that started it all, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon, we bring you the 10th Annual Camp Bacon!

To celebrate, we’ll be sharing recipes from the book with you. Come see us at Camp and learn more. We hope to see you there!

Wilted Salad

A great all-American dish dating back to the Colonial era, wilted salad uses bacon fat as the basis for a dressing in much the same way that olive oil is used to dress greens in the Mediterranean. The heat of the bacon dressing wilts the greens—hence the name. April McGreger, who grew up with bacon fat as the basis for a lot of her family’s food, told me that they called this “killt lettuce”—because the lettuce is “slain” by the hot fat, not because of any connection to Scottish menswear. The bacon’s flavor is a big part of the dish, so use whatever variety strikes your fancy. Because the fat will solidify once it cools, the dressing must be served warm.

Ingredients:

6 ounces mixed greens, washed and dried

6 ounces sliced bacon (about 3 to 4 slices)

2 scallions (greens and whites), thinly sliced

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

½ teaspoon sugar

Coarse sea salt to taste

2 ounces cheddar cheese, diced (optional)

¼ cup walnuts or hickory nuts, lightly toasted and chopped (optional)

Freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper to taste

 

Procedure:

Place the greens in a large, heat-proof serving bowl.

Fry the bacon in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove from the skillet, drain and chop it. Reserve about 4 tablespoons of fat in the skillet (augment with a glug from your backup supply if necessary).

Add the sliced scallions to the pan and cook for a minute. Pour in the cider vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir well and boil lightly for a minute.

If you’re using cheese or toasted nuts, distribute them over the greens. Pour the hot dressing over the top, toss well and sprinkle with the bits of cooked bacon and plenty of fresh pepper. Serve warm.

Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a side dish

 

 


The Positive Business Conference is Coming Up!

March 7th, 2019 by jtubbs

Ari will be speaking at the Positive Business Conference this year. We’re excited to be a part of it! Check out more about it here. Want a head start in fixing the energy flow in your office space? Check out Secret 19. Here’s an excerpt for you:

By living the Natural Laws of Business, we were tapping the full energy of the people who work here and getting way better results in the process.

What I’m talking about here is not just some “soft stuff ” to slough off onto your HR department to deal with. Energy is . . . nearly everything. It’s how we feel, how we act, how we approach the world. It is, in essence, the emotional atmosphere in which we operate. Low, negative energy brings trouble. But positive energy brings everything we’re after: innovation, creativity, caring, generosity of spirit, belief, big ideas, and all that extra effort that so often makes the difference between good and great. And that is, very truly, what I believe we’re getting from most everyone who works here.

By contrast, most of the rest of the world is squandering massive amounts of available human energy every day. Pick your analogy—the way they’re working is akin to filling a bucket that has a big hole in the bottom; like running the AC with the windows wide open; or like driving on the highway while you’re still stuck in low gear. (No offense to anyone’s political allegiance, but I can’t figure out how raising or lowering tax rates would have any impact on this problem—it strikes me as being akin to arguing about whether or not to switch the fan from “Auto” to “On” while operating that dang AC with all the windows still wide open.)


“The Art of Business: Why I Want to be an Artist” Has Arrived!

November 29th, 2018 by jtubbs

The new pamphlet is here and book release events are coming soon!

In the metaphorical organizational ecosystem I made up while I was working on The Power of Beliefs in Business, I started to think of beliefs as the “root system” of our lives; culture quickly became “the soil;” hope, “the sun;” the spirit of generosity, I imagined as “water;” purpose I pictured as “air.” In that context, I started to think about new ideas as “seeds.” (If you’d like to see an illustrated draft of the “organizational ecosystem,” email me at ari(at)zingermans(dot)com.) As with agriculture, if you sow a hundred “seeds”/ideas in your “field,” only a limited number will sprout. Since we can’t know in advance which will sprout, we need to plant far more than we’ll actually get to grow. And then, as patiently as we can, watch carefully for those that start to poke their little green leaves out from the soil. Those are the seeds/ideas that we start to nurture, care for, and let grow into something far greater than the tiny seed from which they started. As in nature, no one has control over the outcomes. We can influence, but we can’t impose.

The subject matter of this new pamphlet is one of the ideas that took root. Over the last few years it’s grown into something significant, a concept that I reference regularly when I teach, write, and work. And, really, in every aspect of my life. As you’ll read in the pamphlet, the original idea came to me while I was working on another part of The Power of Beliefs. Eventually, it ended up in the epilogue. But the more I played with it, the more the idea grew. What started as a small seed has evolved into the base of a business and life philosophy.

The Art of Business includes, first, the epilogue from Part 4 of the book. It’s followed by further thoughts; an interview in which I explain what was on my mind on the subject. In the spirit of what I’m writing about, what artist and author Robert Henri called “the Art Spirit,” we’ve worked to make the physical form of the piece particularly special—as unique, creative, art-focused and fun as what I’ve been imagining this approach to business and life would look like in real life.

The cover is letterpress-printed by Michael Coughlin of Letterpress Book Publishing in Minneapolis with care. Mike’s calm, grounded energy, his anarchist beliefs, his passion for old-time printing methods and the beauty of the books he puts out resonate strongly with me.

The beautiful scratchboard illustration on the inside page of the pamphlet is done by our own Ian Nagy. The t-shirt you’ll see in the drawing displays the painting of Patrick-Earl Barnes. I met Patrick-Earl on the street in Soho, in NYC, about 14 years ago and fell in love with his art. I have about 15 of his pieces hanging in my house.

Thanks to everyone who works in the ZCoB, and all of you—our customers and suppliers— for giving me the chance to live and work and learn in such an inspiring, supportive, collaborative, and artistically oriented ecosystem! As Enrique Martínez Celaya says, “A great work of art cannot come from hatred or cynicism…At the heart of great art you will find love and compassion.” I feel very fortunate to be part of ours!

The pamphlet is out NOW at the Deli, Roadhouse, Coffee Company, Zingtrain.com, and here at Zingerman’s Press. And, to add to the mix, we’ve got a few artful kickoff events coming up:

  • Thursday, November 22 (that’s right, Thanksgiving Day), at Fumbally Café in Dublin! (yes, Dublin, Ireland, not Dublin, Ohio!). Info.
  • Friday November 30, early in the morning, at the Roadhouse (we’ll serve Zingerman’s Coffee Company’s Holiday Blend). Info.
  • Wednesday evening December 5 at ZingTrain. Info.

Devote Meaningful Time to Time

January 24th, 2018 by jtubbs

An excerpt from Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 3: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Managing Ourselves, Secret #37.

If the main focus … is to develop a more positive relationship with time, then the first place to start, as with any relationship, is by devoting some quality time to it. Seriously, how many really rewarding relationships of any sort have you had that you didn’t devote meaningful time to? Getting to know time, quite simply, takes time; if your connection with your kids, your significant other, your work, or anything else you care about were merely something you squeezed into the spare moments that may crop up here and there, the quality of that relationship wouldn’t likely be very good. The same is true with time. Treat it like an unwanted stepchild, and the odds are that tension, frustration, and trouble are pretty sure to follow suit.

Building a good relationship with time feels, to me, a lot like what it takes to work out effectively. We all know that we won’t get in shape by worrying about our health; nor will we improve our relationship to time by lamenting how little of it we have. Making time for either is rarely urgent, but it’s almost always helpful. Even if it’s awkward in the moment, you’re pretty sure to feel far better in the long run. We get away with not doing either when we’re young, but the older we get, the more we have going, the harder it is to move forward in a healthy way without making some commitment to do better. There are always about eight hundred good reasons not to work out on any given day, but everyone knows that we’ll feel better for it if we do. The work we invest in exercise usually results in increased energy going forward, better grounding, better health, and lower stress. The same is true for time; put some time and effort in up front, and pretty soon you’ll bring better energy and efficiency to almost everything else you do. And whether it’s working out or spending time on time, once you get used to it, it’s unlikely you’ll go back to the haphazard ways of old.

One of the most effective ways I’ve learned to spend time on time is by engaging in reflection. Taking a few minutes to look back on what’s happened, to assess what your actions have attained, how they correlated with your intentions, and how you felt about the whole thing, can be a great help. If we don’t know what’s worked well and what’s been less than ideal in the way we’ve managed our time to date, it’s tough to make major improvements going forward.

In essence, I suppose, it’s a self-review on how you spend your time. Since you’re ultimately your own boss, it’s up to you to manage the messages you send yourself. We also need to take time to consider the time to come. How much time is left in the day? In the month? In the year? In our lives? What do you need to erase from the to-do list in order to give yourself a good shot at completing what you want to get done? Is there anything really meaningful we want to add to our list before time, for the period we’re considering, comes close to running out?

The journaling I do every morning helps me get my mind around what I need to do for the day, how I’m feeling, what I’ve done, what I appreciate, what’s happened around me, and what I see coming up on the horizon. As I put down random thoughts and feelings, I’malways reminded of something I want to do, someone I want to appreciate, or something I can positively contribute that wasn’t in my mind when I began writing. When I start to worry about running out of time, I try to quiet my mind—I know that worrying is energy expended unproductively. Attempting to appreciate each moment and everything in it has helped me significantly—it’s turned my relationship with time into a positive, rewarding experience I like being part of, rather than an effort to escape from someone else’s idea of a rat race.

 

Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 3: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Managing Ourselves

Secret #37


Show People How Much They Matter

September 7th, 2017 by jtubbs

An excerpt from Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 4: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to The Power of Beliefs in Business, Secret #45.

One of the first responsibilities we have as hope-building leaders is to demonstrate daily to everyone in the organization how much we value them for who they are. Taking time to learn their story—where they’re from, what their family life is like, what they want for their future, what sort of music they listen to, what they do when they’re not at work—helps us honor them as the unique creative individuals they are. Asking how their significant other is, inquiring how their kids are doing in school, or discovering their favorite food (assuming we listen attentively to their answers) may seem minor, but it can have a major impact.

Hope levels go up every time that we as leaders actively envision each person we hire as a potentially great contributor. As Pulitzer Prize–winning Native American author N. Scott Momaday says, “We are what we imagine. Our very existence consists in our imagination of ourselves. Our best destiny is to imagine, at least, completely, who and what, and that we are. The greatest tragedy that can befall us is to go unimagined.” Many people are viewed by their boss as a pain in the organizational ass, an interchangeable part hired to fill a long-term hole, or maybe as a moderately competent role player. I try to do the opposite—I imagine them as amazing. I want to help find the artist in everyone we hire: to inspire them to greatness and help them find their passion and their power. Everyone wants to matter. And I believe they do.

How we do it here: appreciations, Service Star awards, orientation classes, Bottom Line Change, open-book finance, open meetings, stewardship, Servant Leadership, 3 Steps to Giving Great Service, 5 Steps to Effectively Handling a Complaint, and authorizing everyone to do whatever they need to make things right for a guest.

Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading: The Power of Beliefs in Business

Secret 45: A Six-Pointed Hope Star