A Humorous Look at the Thanksgiving Day Potluck (With a Quiz)
Allow Me to Introduce Myself
To my family, friends, and acquaintances, I am Linda.
To most of you, I am the Carb Diva.
"Why that name?" you might ask. Well, truth be told, there is not a carbohydrate in existence that I do not admire and cherish.
People have asked if this article focuses on low-carb recipes. Heavens no! Not only do we LOVE carbs, we embrace them. We greet them with open arms. We run in slow motion across a field of daisies toward them!
Potatoes, pasta, rice, baked goods, desserts—I love them all, and I prepare them with care and passion.
I Run a Tight Ship
My husband might be king of the castle (or co-sovereign), but without a doubt, I reign supreme in my kitchen. And I rule with a strict set of standards.
All knives must be precisely sharpened, and work surfaces are kept clear of any clutter. Cutting boards are meticulously clean—so clean you could eat off of them (and, actually, since they are used to prepare food, in a way you are doing just that). Cooking utensils, pots, and pans are not stacked up to be dealt with when the meal is over. Instead, they are washed as they are used.
There is a place for everything, and everything in its place.
Discipline, sanitation, organization.
That's how it works in my kitchen—at least, that's how it works 364 days of the year.
But on one day, all of that order devolves into what can only be coined "organized chaos." One day a year, I host a Thanksgiving Day potluck.
I have a large and loving family. My brother and sister are both married, and they have children with spouses, and their children have also married or have a significant other. I don't know how many people showed up last year—I stopped counting after 30.
We had three tables and all were crowded. We borrowed chairs from the neighbors and ran out of places to sit. (My husband, my sister, and I sat on the stairs leading up to the second floor.)
It Works for Us
Despite the pandemonium, we all get along fabulously. Somehow, the turkey is always moist and tender, nothing catches on fire, the cat stays out of the gravy . . . and (miraculously) the meal always comes together.
But . . .
However, it has occurred to me that this is not unlike the "expertness" exercises I endured in the 1990s. One fateful day a new, "fresh-out-of-management school" Division Chief entered our office, and the calm and quiet we had known were no more.
Now there were planning sessions, and committees to plan the planning sessions. There was a Japanese 5-, 10-, and 20-year plan. There were paradigm shifts. And (oh joy, or bliss!) there were team-building exercises.
What Is Team Building?
If any of you have worked in a corporate setting, you know exactly what I am referring to. Who can forget their first Great Egg Drop contest, or One-Question Ice Breaker, or (my personal favorite) Coin Logo?
(Seriously? I thought we had all matured beyond the middle school Truth or Dare).
Your teams members are a lot like crayons. Everyone brings something smart, unique, special, and quirky to your business. The trick is….getting them all to understand and appreciate that their differences are what cause their success.— playwithapurpose.com
According to Wikipedia . . .
The formal definition of team-building includes the following pillars:
- Goal setting: Aligning around goals
- Role clarification: Reducing team members’ role ambiguity
- Problem solving: Finding solutions to team problems
So, how do we apply those principles to the Thanksgiving dinner? It's really quite simple.
- Goal setting: We all want to eat.
- Role clarification: Find the person who knows how to carve a turkey.
- Problem solving: Can we get rid of the lumps in the gravy, or just disguise them by stirring in diced mushrooms?
So, I've created a test for you so that you can learn what your team "style" is in the Thanksgiving kitchen.
Are you ready?
1. When Following a Recipe, You . . .
- (a) measure the ingredients exactly,
- (b) use rough estimates,
- (c) tell someone else to do the measuring, or
- (d) make sure that the best person for the job does the measuring.
2. It's Time to Make the Gravy. You . . .
- (a) analyze the flavors to be certain they are perfectly balanced,
- (b) find out what each person thinks of the gravy,
- (c) taste it, but don't offer a taste to anyone else (who cares what they think?), or
- (d) make sure that the gravy passes muster with everyone.
3. It's Time to Flip the Turkey. What Do You Do?
- (a) you turn it over carefully with tongs and meat forks
- (b) you cheer on others as they take on the challenge
- (c) you fearlessly throw the turkey up in the air and catch it in the pan, or you
- (d) assign the chore to the most adept turkey flipper on the team.
If You Answered the Questions With . . .
- two or more a's—You're Compliant. You're very detail-oriented and almost never deviate from the process when completing a task. (Cooking without a recipe is really not that scary. Try it).
- two or more b's—You're an Influencer. You want everyone to be involved and get needed praise and recognition. (This is especially valuable when it comes time to do the dishes).
- two or more c's—You're Dominant. You're a take-charge type who tends to tell rather than ask people to do things. (Ever consider becoming a chef?).
- two or more d's—You're Steady. You are a good problem-solver who can cut through the issues to resolve crises and personality clashes. (Dinner for 12, peace in the Middle East—it's call a piece of cake for you).
So what kind of team player are you?
. . . and how many of you are still pondering the concept of flipping a turkey?
© 2015 Linda Lum