Being a Generalist in a Specialized World

This is a review of the book Range by David Epstein.

This Author wrote The Sports Gene a while back, and he begins this book with showing how the famous 10,000 hours rule for sports and some other specialties can work, but how it mostly is not the way to ensure success in the real world. I’d agree with that overall assumption. I’ve got my 10,000 hours in bookkeeping, but it’s just one small part of the vast array of things I know how to do. And I’m a better office manager because of my wide range of skills.

The Author also goes into the separation of learning environments into “kind” and “wicked”, with kind being an environment where a specialist can thrive, such as golf or chess and wicked being an environment where just practicing what’s already been done will not work. As you can imagine, most of life is “wicked” – requiring the ability to think on your feet and pivot ideas when necessary. This wicked environment is where generalists thrive. I’d say that the entrepreneurial environment is one of the most (if not THE MOST) wicked of them all. This is where being jacks of all trades benefits us most.

I just finished the chapter on “grit” and why too much grit is a bad thing. I AGREE. This is the battle that Nick and I fight regularly. He has too much grit and I have too little. This is how $70k gets lost.

I think that learning to find your match is more important than sticking it out to the bitter end. Matching is a tedious process of trial and error that I’ve done my whole life. Which is why in my 50s, I’m more focused on what really engages me and what I really want to do, which is cook for people. The way for me to accomplish that AND do everything MY way is to open a restaurant.

The issue is that opening a restaurant is, itself, a winding and circuitous venture where grit is NOT your friend. Had we employed less grit and more pivoting, we’d have bailed on this lease in April rather than dumping $40k more into a partial buildout.

Live and learn, as they say. But managing the urge to stick to a bad plan because of what’s already invested is a VERY bad habit. And it’s one that I do NOT plan to entertain ever again. Nick and I will continue to fight about this, no doubt. His Taurus nature makes him stubborn AF and he never ever wants to give up, no matter the odds.

This book also touches on the problems that we, as a society, are having with specialists, especially in medicine. Anyone who’s had any medical care in the past decade has surely run into the horror show of being ping-ponged from one specialist to another, with NONE of them actually helping. Every Doctor is a hammer and if your illness isn’t THEIR nail, then too bad for you. Specialization has pretty much ruined the medical field in all areas from research to patient care.

I found this book to be an excellent read. The Author has extensive end notes with citations and he has done a really great job presenting this information. I highly recommend this book!

Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” BBQ

I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time! Finally, I found cut up jackfruit at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market, so I picked up a 2-3# chunk for this! Jackfruit are usually 10# and UP, so finding them in chunks is awesome if you don’t need to make a ton of this BBQ. It’s so good, tho, that you might want to make a ton and freeze it! The “pulled pork” part of this recipe is vegan, but the sauce is not due to the butter I finished it with. You could sub margarine or just leave it off. I made this a berbere type BBQ sauce, but I think Korean style sauce would be very good as well. Use whatever you like! Just echo the flavours of your sauce with your cooking water for the fruit.

Vegan Jackfruit “Pulled Pork”
2-3# chunk of jackfruit (scale up recipe if you’re doing a whole one)
water
2.5 Tbl berbere
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbl salt
one dry guajillo (optional)
3-4 bay leaves

Sauce
1 cup cooking liquid
3 Tbl ketchup
1 Tbl yellow mustard
1 tsp berbere
1/2 tsp black pepper
Finish with 2 Tbl butter if desired; leave off for vegan

First, you must prep the jackfruit. This is the most tedious part! The main thing to know about this weird fruit is that it is HELLA STICKY. The rind and parts around the seed pods have some sort of sticky stuff on them that is impervious to soap, alcohol and only mostly will come off with 100% acetone. WEAR GLOVES!! And lube up the gloves with food release or oil – as well as any knives you’ll be using. I think that oil will loosen the sticky a bit, but it’s serious stuff.

Jackfruit Chunk

What you’re doing is pulling out the seed pods and removing the seeds and their cases. The seed pods are the edible bits and they are not as sticky as the rest of the fruit. You want to have seedless pods like this:

Seed Pod w/out seeds

This 2-3# piece of jackfruit gave me about 3 cups of pods. So I guess you can figure about a cup per pound. Put the pods in a pot and cover with water. Add all the seasonings and bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for about 45 minutes.

Jackfruit pods cooking.

Preheat oven to 350F. Cover a sheet pan with foil and spray with food release. Use a slotted spoon to fish out the cooked pods and spread onto the sheet pan in a single layer. Bake for about an hour, or until the edges are getting brown. If you like burnt ends and/or a lot of bark, let the jackfruit get dark like I did. It is delicious!

Jackfruit “pulled pork”!

Scrape the jackfruit off the sheet pan and pull apart any large chunks with a fork. I got a little over a cup from the original 3 cups I started with, so LOTS of shrinkage. I think a 10# jackfruit would be the perfect size for a batch now that I have cooked with it. There is a LOT of waste and a lot of shrinkage.

For the sauce, put the liquid and next four ingredients in a small saucepan and cook down by 1/3 or until desired thickness. Finish with butter if you are not vegan and want that nice glossy, fatty buttery feel to add to the finished dish. I think the extra fat compensates for the lack of fat overall. I dressed the “pork” with a little sauce before storing in the fridge.

Finished Product

Welcome to the 20th Year of Misangela.com!!

That’s right, folks, my blog turns 20 this year – June 21 to be exact! Can you believe it? My first post is about gender bias and it is still, sadly, relevant today.

This blog being a Gemini makes sense since I’ve ranted and raved and blabbed my business on the ‘net for TWENTY YEARS! Geminis are chatty, you know. ;) I don’t blog nearly as much as I used to, thanks to fucking Facebook and all the other social media outlets that keep me busy. I used to blog about daily stuff, news, etc., all the things that social media does for the masses now. Despite FB ruining true blogging, I still feel that blogs are relevant and should not be tossed out as outmoded. Same for websites. Again, thanks to FB dumbing down the collective IQ of the internet, people don’t even have sites for their businesses half the time. THAT is a mistake, but they really think that FB is the internet.

This past year was about transition and we’re still in it. I wonder if I’ll be a pub owner or going through bankruptcy on June 21 this year? Interesting to see what happens. I truly hope it will be the former and not the latter, but odds are pretty even right now.

I’ve not said much about the pub process, mainly because I can whine on FB and secondly because I just don’t have the brain power to write coherently right now. I tell you, though, once the outcome has been determined, I’ll be writing a fucking book about this process. It is yet to be seen if it will be a cautionary tale or a tale of victory.

Hopefully VICTORY. QaPla’!

Adulting Is Hard

Sometimes I just don’t know how to process things. Being deeply insulted by a friend is hard. (“I can’t think of anyone less hospitable than you!” in reference to my being in the hospitality industry.) Trying to not let it get to me is harder. Some people *think* they know me, but really do not. And as much as I try to show them my true self, they reject it and hold onto what they think my true self is.

I still like the person that hurt me, but I dunno. It’s like we never get past a certain level. I’d like to move past this, but I just don’t know how to drag them past their own blocks. And this person is very deeply invested in proving that I’m wrong and the way I do pretty much everything in my life is wrong.

So, I just don’t say anything about how I feel, and I know that every single interaction will be contentious. And I’ll end up with hurt feelings. Every time.

And somehow I always end up with the notion that it’s my fault. I know intellectually it’s not, but others tell me it’s my fault because I won’t capitulate and be run over by this person. If I thought I was being treated fairly, I might be more compliant, but I do not think I’m being treated fairly. Not at all. Not being allowed to speak and being lectured at is not fair, IMO. It’s not a discussion if no discussion is allowed.

Ugh.

Perhaps I should just walk away rather than deal with this? I have these thoughts after every single interaction with this person. EVERY TIME. Why do I do this to myself? (Because Nick values this person’s opinion – and he thinks it’s good for me to be wrangled every now and then, that’s why. I should not comply. But I do, to keep the peace. Again: WHY?)

Adulting is hard. So is blogging about being hurt rather than screaming at the top of my lungs that I AM TIRED OF BEING TREATED AS IF I AM TOO DUMB TO DO WHAT IS APPROPRIATE FOR ME. I may have a big mouth and be opinionated AF, but I still have feelings. Despite the press otherwise. I wish that people I’ve known for a long time would at least TRY to see that I have changed and I’m not the same person I was 15 years ago. Hell, I’m not the same person I was ONE year ago. I don’t need to be steamrolled, I need SUPPORT. NOT the same thing.

I think this is karma beating the shit out of me, honestly. I am paying for doing this to others. I recognise this, which is why I am trying to walk away when I get the urge to lecture. This year has been about learning how to ask for help and learning when to STFU and not talk back. I’m trying to learn, but dammit, I simply WILL NOT allow men to condescend and lecture me just because they assume they know more. Perhaps they do, perhaps they don’t. But by the gods, if you start lecturing me and I correct you when you say that I don’t know something when I CLEARLY DO, I am going to talk back. I DGAF how much karma I’m reaping, I am DONE with being lectured and beaten into agreeing with the notion that I do not know what is best for myself or my business.

I’ve put YEARS of my life into educating myself about the restaurant biz. I’ve got 18 years of handling the business of restaurants. I have a clue. I’m SICK OF SAYING THIS TO MEN. I am also smart enough to know that there is PLENTY I don’t know, but I’m smart and I’ll learn. Dumb people open businesses every day and succeed. I think I have a better than average shot.

If you don’t agree, then fuck off. I’m tired of defending my LIFE. If you think I’m an idiot, then great, think that. But spare me the lectures and condescension.

Please.

I’ve got enough on my plate as it is. Either be on the team or not. Beating me down is not really helping anything.

My Spirit Chef

As some of you may know, having seen this in person, I do tend to get excited about my own cooking…

This kid (Merrill Howard Kalin, google him) is my Spirit Chef. Add a little butt wiggle in there, and this is ME when I taste my own food:

I do make some tasty food! Can’t wait to share it with the world at the Pub. :D

(link for this as well, for safekeeping: https://youtu.be/-FrpuPLYnvY)