Chili, Cornbread, and Coworkers

In Speaking into the Silence on October 25, 2008 at 10:54 pm

This last Friday, we held a Chili Cook-Off at work.  It was incredible hearing each judge’s different take on what chili must be and must not be.  For instance, one culinary expert on our judging panel did not want any overpowering flavors in her chili.  For her, the chili must have a variety of flavors, no one overpowering another.  This meant that the chili’s that included corn or olives would not constitute chili; because, these tastes overpowered more subtle flavors (e.g. cumin, chili powder).

I was reading an article in the OC Register about Cornbread.  Depending on your geographic location, people may have very different ideas about cornbread.  Some say it must have sugar.  Others say there must be no sugar.  Some say fried.  Others say baked.  The landscape for cornbread concoction is so diverse that people have written books (i.e. the Cornbread gospel) about the variety of existing cornbreads.

For my part, I enjoyed the diverse perspectives that each judge brought to the panel.  There is a beauty in diversity.  I was challenged to invite others into helping with the project.  A good friend caught my attention during the whole chili cook-off and suggested that I might be taking on too much.  Namely, I was not asking for help with different tasks.  As I paused in the midst of the rush, I realized that I was seeking credit for accomplishing my goal.  Rather than giving others the opportunity to support in the vision, I was constricting the event to my own capacity – which, in fact, can be quite limited when working alone.  So, her feedback provided a shift on-the-fly.  I was able to rally together some coworkers to help with teardown and cleanup.  Everyone was willing to help.  I was not met with any resistance for support, other than my own resistance to asking for help.


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