Monday, November 14, 2011

How to Live: Lesson 1

Brown Butter Sauce in Bowl by Shanna Hatfield, Savvy Entertaining
The other night I was making what turned out to be an amazing dinner of pumpkin ravioli with sage and brown butter*, and as I stirred the butter, my mind wandered to the women who've taught me some pretty significant life lessons.

It's funny that it all began with the brown butter because it seems like an almost insignificant lesson in the whole scheme of life lessons, but it leads to all the other things I learned from the woman who taught me how to make it. I learned that you can make nearly anything better with the addition of brown butter from Patsy, the first woman boss I ever had who was the owner of a successful catering business in my hometown. I worked for her as she started her catering business and stayed with her as she grew it into a full-time job that kept the golf club (where her business came to be headquartered) in business far longer than than it deserved.

Not only was she incredibly knowledgeable about cooking, but she understood the business of cooking as well. Because of her quiet example, I saw how to handle stress and frustration and sexism without letting it destroy you or your business relationships with difficult people. I learned how to let go. Sometimes people let you down. Sometimes it's just not a good idea to put the extra hour into making all the potatoes in a dish look like mushrooms because only one person in the whole crowd will notice it. Sometimes the business you worked so hard to make successful is taking too much from you, and it's time to start over with something else. And you just need to let it go. Quietly.** Gracefully.** And without bitterness.**

*I could practically drink that stuff through a straw it's so good.
**Well, I said she set an example. I can't say I actually follow it.

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