Crisis Management 101

Live life like a Scout.

Way, way back in my formative years I was a Boy Scout.  I didn’t stay with the program very long.  In fact, I was only in Scouts for less than two years.  But, in that time I learned more about being a good citizen and l learned more valuable knowledge than I ever learned in school.

I learned and practiced teamwork.  I learned about nature, and how to survive in the wild.  But most importantly, I learned how to prepare myself for anything.

The Scout motto is simple and wise: Be prepared.

Being prepared doesn’t mean you have to prepare for a doomsday event and it doesn’t mean that you have to lay your clothes out on the floor each night, like a fireman, waiting for a four-alarm fire.  It means you should prepare your mind to accept and deal with anything that comes your way.

Now that I think of it, being prepared, is really a state of mind akin to Zen Buddhism…don’t fixate on thoughts or emotions.  Allow yourself to rely on your skills and instincts.  Let the world come to you and embrace it. 

This particular crisis, the one surrounding the covid-19 virus, is serious, to be sure.  But, the decisions we make and the actions we take shouldn’t be any different than any other moments in our lives.  We make decisions every day and we choose actions every day.  Every decision and action we have made in our lives has brought us to the place we are now.  All we have to do is see a clear path, in our mind, to guide us.

If you are wondering what that clear path might look like, take a look at the Scout Law:

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

If every decision we make aligns with the tenets of the Scout law, then we should make good decisions.

Social Distancing

Two things. 

First, I predict that when the Oxford Dictionaries and Merriam-Webster reveal their word of the year, they will choose “social distancing” as their ‘word of the year’.  I know that might come as a surprise to some people because “social distancing” is actually two words, but that sort of rule-breaking has not swayed scholars in recent years. 

Secondly, “social distancing” has become a popular phrase that I am already tired of. The phrase, ‘social distancing’ reeks of Orwellian creepiness.  To me, it is misleading and confusing. 

“Quarantined” is a very elegant and succinct word, and it more accurately describes what we are experiencing now and it ties us to our past.  Not so long ago, if you contracted malaria, you were quarantined.  If you succumbed to bubonic plague, you were quarantined.  If members of society wanted to inhibit the spread of disease, you were quarantined, or you could choose to quarantine of your own accord, if you were concerned of spreading a disease.

Let’s investigate the origin of the word quarantine, shall we?

Quarantine: From Latin quadrāgintā

From Italian quarantina (“forty days”), the period Venetians customarily kept ships from plague-ridden countries waiting off port,[1] from Latin quadrāgintā (“forty”)

A period of 40 days. A sanitary measure to prevent the spread of a contagious plague by isolating those believed or feared to be infected.

Is that too much to ask?

Be safe, be prepared and stay in touch with those you hold dear.  This time will pass and we will have new challenges to occupy our time. 

10 Essential Spices

I was reading a post from Ella at thewackyspoon.com recently and she mentioned a “Well Stocked Spice Cabinet” and that made me think about my ten essential spices.  It didn’t take me very long for to come up with my ten.  These are the things I use nearly every day.  I’m taking a certain liberty by adding some dried herbs because I treat them like spices.

salt

black pepper corns

garlic powder

chili powder

cumin

cayenne pepper

oregano

basil

cinnamon

rosemary

I believe many of these would find their way on many cook’s essential 10.  What I find interesting (and sad) is what didn’t make the cut.

onion powder, bay leaves (laurel), paprika, turmeric, parsley, mint, sage, chocolate (yes, chocolate!)…  The list goes on and on. 

Spices and herbs are the things we, as cooks, use to make mundane food exceptional.  All manner of vegetables, fruit and meats are heightened by the spices we add.  What would our world be without our favorite spices?

Thank you, Ella for giving me something to ponder!

I am adopting a new kitchen motto: 

Keep it simple, but add lots of spice!

I’m interested to see what others might offer for their top ten…