We all have our favorite foods. We fondly recall where we were when we last enjoyed it, and who we were with. The aroma still lives in our memory, the taste is tangible and lingering. For me, there is always Lou Malnati’s pizza. A traditional Chicago deep dish pizza featuring a rich, buttery crust with an overabundance of tomato sauce and cheese which, for some reason, always tastes better in the restaurant than at home.
A visit to the (sadly, now closed) famous Hot Doug’s restaurant when Doug recommended I try the Italian Sausage, with grilled onions, giardiniera and spicy brown mustard. Upon my third bite, a tear came to my eye upon the realization that this was indeed one of the finest meals I would ever enjoy.
A long anticipated trip to (the also now closed) Charlie Trotter’s restaurant in Chicago for my wife Lynn’s 40th birthday. Course after course of amazing food was ceremoniously placed before us to enjoy. The evening ended with a plate full of delicate, sumptuous desserts, the most special of which was a simple piece of chocolate filled with an explosion of passion fruit. A truly amazing dining experience we will never forget.
But, perhaps my very favorite meal ever is a simple stew, homemade by Lynn. It is from a recipe she found called Hearty Tuscan Vegetable Stew. As with most excellent cooks, Lynn adds her own unique spin on the printed recipe, resulting in a delicious, rich tomato based stew featuring fresh vegetables and thick pasta. A perfect meal for anyone on a cold winter’s day.
I was enjoying some leftover stew (sometimes, the leftovers are even better!) for lunch one day, and decided to post a picture of this, my very favorite meal, on Facebook. I got a few “likes,” as anticipated, but then things took an unexpected turn. People began to ask for the recipe. Lynn happily shared the recipe, and then…
My friend Aileen shared a picture of the version of the stew she made. She was concerned she added too much pasta and oil, but it looks really good to me.
Karen was hosting a big family reunion at the time, and decided to give the stew a try. She “added a splash of vino” and used ground turkey instead of the soy crumbles Lynn uses. She said everyone loved it, and she is looking forward to enjoying the three large containers she has in the freezer. Karen also changed the name of the dish to Glickman Tuscan Stew. I like that. As Moriah reports, she gave the stew a try too, and “it came out delicious!” From the looks of things, I would have to agree.
This was never the plan. I just wanted to share a photo of a delicious lunch my wife made for me. But, much to my surprise and delight, community was created, information was shared and positive results were enjoyed. In a sense, we were Working Out Loud.
As John Stepper, author of Working Out Loud writes, “…you invest in relationships. You lead with generosity. You make your work visible and frame it as a contribution. Combined, these elements form a powerful approach to work and life.”
Whether it is at home or at work, we are too often hesitant to share. We find it difficult to “work out loud.” We want to maintain ownership or credit for our work, and we don’t want anything to be changed. We worked hard to get to where we are at, and we protect our work product.
But, my Hearty Tuscan Vegetable Stew will always be my Hearty Tuscan Vegetable Stew. It is made in our house for our family. No one take that away from me, and Lynn and I will enjoy this amazing meal together for many years to come. As will Karen’s family, as will Aileen’s family, and as will Moriah’s family. They will create memories and traditions of their own, and whenever they make the stew, maybe they will remember where it came from.
Our work product has not been devalued because we shared it with someone else. If anything, more value was created. A network now exists around a shared interest, people made our product their own without taking anything away from us, and everyone now loves Glickman Family Stew.
So, work out loud. Realize the gifts that it can bring you and others, and the value it can create. Oh, and try the stew. It’s delicious.