Keep Shaking ’til it’s Butter

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Most everyone has a thing they will buy, regardless of “need.” Maybe it’s journals, Legos, or perfume. For me, it’s cookbooks. As long as I can remember, I have loved everything about them; spying an interesting cover, cracking the spine, perusing the contents and considering all the possibilities within. I am equal opportunity when it comes to where I will purchase them; yard sales, thrift shops, online retailers and the types that pique my interest; everything from food no one cooks any longer – looking at you, tomato aspic to lesser known international cuisine.

Although I love cookbooks, the truth is, I don’t often actually use the recipes. Now, don’t get me wrong, we eat daily, so I cook daily. I just have a lot of sources for inspiration. But there’s nothing that replaces an actual book. I enjoy having them spark my imagination, I just don’t need to convert every idea to action to think they were a good purchase. But every once in a while, I get a cookbook and want to immediately prepare every single thing inside. Such was the case with a recent cookbook from a famed Southern restaurant. Although I had never even heard of the place, the “Look Inside” feature revealed numerous delights, so I immediately ordered the book.

When it arrived, it was even better than expected. Honestly, I love food; pretty much all kinds, but southern food is my heart and my home. (Seriously, just typing these words makes me a little misty-eyed). I immediately contacted Kerri and told her there were several things we needed to try, as soon as possible.

The book arrived on Thursday, so we spent the next afternoon making Blueberry Basil jam. From there, we decided to try one of the more unusual (and anachronistic) items in the book: butter.

This decision came down to two major reasons; 1. It seemed shockingly simple and 2. Kerri and I like to feel like pioneers. (It’s an odd little quirk about us, to be sure, but it makes us feel clever and empowered).

The recipe relies on four very simple components: the ingredients (small amounts of both whipping and sour cream) a Mason jar to put them in, vigorous amounts of physical movement and time.

Kerri carefully measured our ingredients while I found the jar. From there, it was a game of passing said jar back and forth in two minute increments until nature took its course.

At each notification of time, she carefully opened the jar to see our progress. Our recipe indicated it would take less than time than it did (which could be due to environmental factors or even the cookbook author’s access to ingredients that were less than a few hours old) so there were a few points where we wondered if it would actually work. Luckily, these pioneers can check Google for additional instructions, so we decided to stay the course.

After about 10 minutes, we could feel the viscosity in the materials had changed – they felt thicker and heavier. Around 14 minutes in, a definite change had occurred (our liquid and solids had separated). And at 20 minutes, we were rewarded with a lovely yellow ball of dairy sunshine!

Now you may be wondering what in the world this has to do with business or management or well, anything at all? First, thank you for asking and second, it has a lot to do with all of the above, so let me break it down…

Often in business we get excited about an idea, we get all the resources needed and then we start. As we move toward key checkpoints, it gets hard; our bodies and minds become tired and we wonder if it’s going to work out. We look at each other and consider whether or not we should have undertaken this, we search to see if others have done the thing we are trying to do and we consider giving up. After all, maybe it won’t work, maybe it was a poor choice from the start, maybe we don’t have what it takes, maybe we don’t really know what we are doing…

But if we hold the course and keep working, we just might be rewarded with something special. Something WE did, something WE made, something WE accomplished.

It’s a beautiful feeling that reminds you all the effort wasn’t wasted. It spurs you on and gives you fuel to tackle the next obstacle. It confirms why you decided to undertake this work; that it matters, that you are good at it, that you have what it takes. In the simplest terms; the product makes the process worth it.

After we rinsed and molded our little creation, we thoroughly enjoyed trying it and discussing our triumph.

That leads to the other big takeaway here: whatever form your success takes, it means something and you should treasure it.

And if you can actually put that success on a biscuit?

Well, that’s even better.