Posts Tagged 'collaboration'

Collaboration Pie

img_0022There are many good things about posting about food and cooking. Even if people disagree about my recipes, my tastes, my process, the comments and reactions tend not to get personal or nasty. 🙂 If I’m thinking about food, I’m NOT thinking about other aspects of reality. On many days that is the REAL reason I write about food. I like creating things and cooking and baking are creative. My friend Honour talks about the difference between cooks and bakers, that one has more leeway and room for error than the other. I’m still not sure I’m convinced about that, but again, it doesn’t (usually) get personal when we discuss it. *grin*

Today I want to write about leftovers and collaborating and when cooks and bakers work together. img_0023My husband does not bake – he cooks. Oh wow, he is SUCH a great creative cook. I love to bake and while I enjoy cooking now in my new kitchen, I’m nowhere near as innovative as he is. I’m getting better, but I’m not at his level by any means. I mentioned he brought home a store-cooked chicken the other night. That meant we had leftovers. We also had rainy cold weather all day Sunday, as well as other annoying reality. 🙂 I started thinking about cooking. I decided that a chicken pot pie would be perfect for dinner. I mentioned that to my husband and he agreed.

Now *I* was thinking more of the kind of pot pie I had growing up – basically a white creamy inside. I found a picture of one online to show you what I mean but we grew up on frozen pot pies, not home-made. It was something my father would make for us for dinner when my mother was at rehearsal. img_0024As we don’t mix meat and dairy, we use coconut milk to get our “creaminess”. I also thought I’d take my leftover steamed vegetables and throw them in too – sort of a vegetable chicken pot pie. I’d already decided to use the coconut oil for that hint of flavor while making the pastry crust. I was browsing recipes online and thinking about concocting when my husband came down with a piece of paper and said “This is what I plan to make for the pie.”. *grin* Of course his recipe looked nothing like mine (his had curry and more asian flavors) and he had no intention of putting in the leftover vegetables, only the leftover chicken. I told him his concoction sounded great to me and I’d make him a crust.

That’s what we did. I made up my pie crust using margarine and coconut oil (remember, no dairy). It was a beautiful flaky crust. It’s interesting – I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem making pie crusts (except for 2 crusts for our New Year’s Day party, but that’s a different story) since I first began. I use the recipe in The Settlement Cookbook. img_0025It says that the key to a good crust is very cold ingredients and as little water and handling as possible. That very morning as I listened to the radio talk show host, she was talking about making pies and bemoaning how difficult it is to make a good crust and how it took her so long to learn. I’ve just never had that particular problem and I know people love the pie crusts I make. Thank you Lizzie Black Kander and your fantastic cookbook (which is, as I’ve mentioned before, my #1 go-to cookbook).

The new kitchen gets another rave review here because while my husband was working on the stove, there was room for me to be rolling out the top crust. That NEVER would have been possible before the renovation. 🙂 I probably should have ‘over-ruled’ him about temperature and time (I’d have picked the higher temperature and the shorter time, which is more typical for pies) but dinner was delicious. Yay us!!
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Collaboration

It’s odd, I suppose, but for me the first association with the word “collaboration” brings up thoughts of WWII and “collaborators”. No, I’m NOT that old, so I don’t know why that is what comes to mind first. The first associations SHOULD be with business, work, buzzword. Ah well, the human mind is a very strange place.

Another strange place is my office. Last Monday I was at the office and all was fine. Last Tuesday, I was at the office and became ill. By the time I got home at the end of the day, I was very ill: headache, sinus pressure, scratchy throat, upset stomach, aching eyeballs. Sounds like allergies or sick, no? So I worked from home on Wednesday and all cleared up. Back to the office on Thursday and wham! I could smell the chemical smell the moment I walked in. Discussed it with some coworkers and some could smell it, most couldn’t, two others were suffering almost as badly as I. Apparently I am their canary in the coal mine. It seems to hit me first and hardest. I tried to go back to the office yesterday but I could smell whatever it is as soon as I walked in the door. I tried sitting in other places in the building but it was there too. So I’m home until they fix it. (Supreme irony: my next-door-neighbor’s lawn service came this morning. The ride-on mower was spewing gasoline fumes and gray clouds for 30 minutes, not to mention the NOISE.)

You know that I am a strong advocate of collaborating in virtual worlds. I helped create a collaboration tool for use in opensim. I suggest that we hold meetings in SecondLife. I helped furnish and customize virtual spaces for business conferences. I believe that the workplace is international and virtual. But….. I miss my coworkers. 😦 Despite all my support and belief that work can be done productively and effectively from non-co-located collaborators (ouch, that word) I miss my office mates. I believe that being in the same space, face to face, improves the working relationship. Improved work relationships lead to greater productivity. Synergy. Most of my work depends on consulting with my team mates. While I CAN do that at a distance (email, phone, IM, virtual world), sometimes there is no substitute for strolling over to someone else’s desk and saying “heya, I have a question”. For my “real” job, I am more effective if I can corner my coworkers when need-be. *grin*

I’m torn on this issue. Whereas I love the ability to work from home (avoid that awful commute, sleep a bit later, roll out of bed and workout instead of racing to get out of the house), I love going into the office and laughing and talking and solving problems with my coworkers. I need that socialization. I need to know their faces, the inflection of their voices. On the other hand, Oura and I helped out a friend of mine this past spring. He makes many presentations on software architecture. He likes to use SecondLife for these presentations as otherwise he’d be traveling all about the world non-stop (literally). We built an image of a computer for him to use in his presentations, to help provide greater immersion and detail for his talks. The 3 of us live in different locations, different time periods yet this made no difference to our ability to work together. We met in SL and had no problem meeting (exceeding) the goal. So not all work needs co-location.

My work is creative in a sense – I’m in a software development group. We are always adding new features, developing new ideas. But not all creation need co-location. (I wonder if I could copyright that as a slogan?) I needed to sketch out some ideas for work, draft a picture of how *I* would like a user interface to appear. I sent out a call to friends asking for recommendations on drawing tools. Several people suggested artpad at art.com. This wasn’t exactly what I needed, but by the time I went to look at it, I was on Skype with Oura and Shenlei. We collaborated on our drawing. *grin* We each took turns, adding to the same picture. Different locations. Working together. Producing masterpieces. *grin* What’s really cool about artpad is the ability to see what the other people have added. If you click the link, you can watch (at any speed) as each stroke is added. Here – go try it yourself and let me know what you add.

Co-location – the best way to share donuts, but not always necessary for creation.


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