I’m going to tell another story today. It’s an old one, but even if we’re pals, you likely haven’t heard it yet.
I was invited to be on the Rachael Ray show. This was all the way back in 2011. When I got the call, they had asked if MilkMade could make a flavor special for Rachael. How about EVOO, I suggested. (We all know it’s her favorite, right? She even has her own brand of the stuff.) Perfect.
So we went about crafting the perfect EVOO recipe - finding the best olive oil from as local as possible of a source, the Filling Station in Chelsea Market. It was a California Arbequina EVOO, for what it’s worth to you. We added a swirl of our Mast Brothers chocolate sauce, and it was, indeed, perfect.
Until it wasn’t anymore.
At the time we were renting a kitchen out in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. It was about 6pm the night before my scheduled on-air appearance and I was just finishing the last batch of ‘scream. I was working alone, save for my mom who had planned a visit from California to cheer me on. (She’s the best.)
So here’s how it went. One minute I’m looking at allllmost ready, allllmost perfect ice cream being churned in the machine. And the next, I’m looking at butter. My ice cream overchurned. Into butter. Albeit delicious sweet EVOO butter. But butter, still.
This happens to ice cream at times, see. If you overchurn it, the butterfat of the cream and milk separates and produces a buttery consistency. And higher fat ice creams (like, say, an olive oil flavor) are especially prone to this. (There’s a tremendous amount of chemistry behind ice cream making, just so you know).
Okay so here’s where it gets really fun. Again, ya know, don’t cry over spilled milk, or churned butter or whatever; there’s not enough time for that! With 20 hours to go before said scheduled on-air, live-audience appearance on the RaRay Show, I somehow managed to dash out to Mast Brothers in Williamsburg to get more chocolate before they closed, to Chelsea Market for more EVOO, to Whole Foods to snag more milk from Ronnybrook (our dairy supplier), and then back to the kitchen to start over again. Oh, and all of this was in the pouring rain (of course), in which my mother (who was accompanying me every step of the way because, remember, she’s the best) slipped while carrying one of the milks.
Hi mom, yep, this is my life.
Back at the kitchen, this time I watched every single rotation of that mixing blade and yanked the ice cream exactly on time. EVOO ice cream was made, chocolate was swirled, and the pints were packed and set to freeze. We made it to the studio just in time for those three glorious minutes of airtime and that emphatic “Mmmmm” from Rachael on air.
So why tell this now? Well I was reminded of it today because I had agreed to share the recipe and tell the story for my friend Bryce’s new project, Kitchen Letters, a subscription of recipes and the stories behind them from great chefs. Kitchen Letters launched today on food52, and so did this story.
And why not tell it before? I guess because for quite a while, these sorts of misdaventures were embarrassing. I was afraid that you’d figure out that I may not know what I’m doing. That sometimes I overchurn my ice cream. That I run around the city foraging for ingredients (and then sometimes re-foraging for those same ingredients). That we set up a makeshift (I mean makeshift) photo studio in our production facility to shoot the ice cream glamour shots that are shown to our 1.5 million followers on tumblr. That I spill orange custard all over the place and thank goodness my boyfriend knows how to mop an ice cream shop. (Sidenote: appropriate timing giving his post, eh?)
There was that risk of being vulnerable, of exposing a behind the scenes account, of putting it all out there. Been thinking a bit about this after I stumbled upon this great TED Talk about vulnerability, which I recommend watching (after you watch the Rachael Ray clip, of course!). I’ll likely write more on it later, but for now…
Hi everyone, yep, this is my life.
Well this seems an appropriate place to start.
That’s me in the kitchen, last week.
It was 9 o’clock in the evening, I had been there since 4am. Everyone else had left for the day. With a few minutes to spare, as I awaited my chariot (my beau was biking over to pick me up and walk me home), I decided to make the kitchen spotless, cleaning even the mop bucket. (Sidenote - yep, that’s the glorious life as a founder of a craft food biz, scrubbing filthy mop buckets.) As I saw my ride arrive outside, I opened the fridge to check on one last thing, and BLAMMO - the hinges failed, and the top shelf of the fridge came crashing down. Along with everything stored atop it. All over me.
I was soaked in the ice cream custard base that we had just spent hours crafting. It was an orange-julius inspired flavor, called Orange County Fair, that was setting in the fridge over night to be churned into pints in the morning. After a 17 hour day, and with a bloodied hand, and orange julius soaked vans (RIP old friends), what could I do but start to cry.
So okay that happened for about a minute. Until, what could I do next, but start to clean it up.
1.5 hours later, the kitchen was as spotless as I had earlier decided to make it. Moreso, even.
I guess what I learned here was “don’t cry over spilled milk..made” as, of course, was the first joke of the night. And, ya know, messes get made. And the longer you cry over it and wallow over the current state of affairs (be it in your kitchen, or, hey, in your life!), the more the custard spreads on the floor. It’ll start to soak through the cracks and creep under the fridge, or spread to places you didn’t even know it could go - and then it’s just harder to clean up. And sometimes you find that your kitchen is even cleaner after a mess has been made than it would have been otherwise.
Cheers and aloha. Remember me?
A couple years back I’d write these long posts about the things I was learning — stuff like what the financial crisis meant for you and me, or about keffiyah fashion, or things like Starbucks’ brand revitalization.
I took a little hiatus, but I think that I’m going to write again.
I remember when I decided to start writing — it was 2007, I had just moved to New York, I had just started business school, and the world had just started to collapse. My pals were all asking me about what this “subprime crisis” meant — so, I decided to write it down. Tumblr was relatively new and made it really easy - both with ux and the welcoming community - for me to just write. So I created a blog, called it What I Learned Today, and wrote about what I was learning in school, what struck my interest in the news, what made me curious.
I liked it. I learned a lot. I briefly had a couple freelance gigs spring from it. I even considered pursuing writing further. But then — I got real busy. Life kinda took me in a direction I did not expect, and I now find myself as the founder/CEO of a craft ice cream company here in NYC. Yes, ice cream. We’re called MilkMade, and we make damn good ice cream. In small batches. With the the best local ingredients. In unique flavors. And we deliver pints to your door once a month. Here’s our tumblr.
I’ve learned a lot, and experienced many an adventure (and more a misadventure) in the last few years of building a business and living life, and I think that I’d like to pick up writing about what I’m learning again. Doubtful it will be about the markets and economy, likely it will be more about personal learnings in work/life/adventures (this post contains the most I’s I’ve ever written, ever. oye.). Ok so that’s it, we’ll see how it goes.
47 percent of us trust the IRS compared with 36 percent ten years ago. The U.S. Postal Service—a whopping 83 percent of us like them. 61 percent like NASA. 67 percent like the Centers for Disease Control. And when you ask Americans what they want to cut, they want to protect their Medicare, they want to protect the military, they want to protect Social Security, they don’t want to cut spending on education and highways. A marketing consultant might reasonably conclude it’s the federal brand we hate, not the product. — Donovan Hohn, senior editor at Harper’s, in A Superbowl Spot for Uncle Sam. Harper’s tasked a group of ad creatives (Perry Fair of Grey Group, Mark Fitzloff of Wieden+Kennedy, Thomas Frank of Harper’s, Marc Sobier at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, and Con Williamson at Saatchi & Saatchi) to develop a superbowl ad for the federal government. This is the forum of discussion and it is super interesting if you can get your hands on it.
Idea: A Gym Membership that Charges You for Not Exercising -
According to recent financial data from the 3rd quarter of 2010, six banks represent 64% of GDP. These are JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley. In 2006, before the financial crisis, that number was 55%. And fifteen years ago, it was 17%.
The point, though, is that anyone who claims that transferring some income from the most fortunate members of society to the least is a vile injustice is closing his eyes to the obvious reality of how the world works.
— Paul Krugman, Economics and Morality.
I always enjoy reading the comments on Krugman’s blog.
Why Is The US Taxpayer Subsidizing Facebook – And The Next Bubble? -
Goldman Sachs is investing $450 million of its own money in Facebook, at a valuation that implies the social networking company is now worth $50 billion. Goldman is also apparently launching a fund that will bring its own high net worth clients in as investors for Facebook.
On the face of it, this might just seem like the financial sector doing what it is supposed to – channeling funds into productive enterprise. The SEC is apparently looking at the way private investors will be involved, but there are some more deeply unsettling factors at work here.
Remember that Goldman Sachs is now a bank holding company – a status it received in September 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, in order to avoid collapse (for the details, see Andrew Ross Sorkin’s blow-by-blow account in Too Big To Fail.) This means that it has essentially unfettered access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window, i.e., it can borrow against all kinds of assets in its portfolio, effective ensuring it has government-provided liquidity at any time.
Any financial institution with such access to such government support is likely to take on excessive risk – this is the heart of what is commonly referred to as the problem of “moral hazard.” If you are fully insured against adverse events, you will be less careful.
A friend of mine is hosting a New Years party themed around New Years traditions. She’s from Atlanta, so her tradition is to eat black eyed peas and collared greens, symbolizing good luck and good fortune in the new year. As usual, I was curious and researched up on other New Years traditions. Also as usual, I am inspired (crazy?) and am going to try to enact all of them tonight. Here’s the plan!
I shall make and eat lasagna: In Italy, this would bring me good luck.
I shall break the China on which I ate said lasagna: In Denmark, this would bring me more friends.
I shall wear white: In Brazil, this would bring me good luck.
I shall wear yellow underwear: In some South American countries, this would also bring me good luck and, ooo, perhaps love.
I shall eat 12 grapes at midnight: In Spain, this would ensure 12 months of good luck.
I shall write down every bad thing that happened this year on a piece of paper, fold it up, and then burn it at some point in the evening: In Mexico, this would remove negative energy from the new year.
I shall write down all the things I hope will occur this year on a piece of paper, fold it up, and then burn it at some point in the evening: In Venezuela, this would make all of my wishes come true.
I shall eat plenty of collared greens on New Years day: Per Southern tradition, the more collared greens I eat, the more money I will make in the new year.
I shall write the name of 12 men on 12 pieces of paper, put them under my pillow, and choose one in the morning: In Lithuania, whatever name I pick is the name of the man I will marry. (I’m not actually going to do this one, but it’s pretty entertaining.. it’s MASH, NYE style.)
I shall jump seven waves: In Brazil, this would make my wishes come true. (Do piles of snow count?)
2011 y’all. Let’s do this.
is Merriam Webster’s word of the year for 2010. People are making a big deal out of it for some reason.
These are the past words of the year since 2003 when the site started tracking them.
And perhaps more interesting are the top words that were created this year. Business Insider lists them out..
Wall Street... what is it good for? absolutely nothing -
at least per this New Yorker article.
Tree, Cordoba, Argentina
Photo and caption by Marcos Furer
A lonely tree. Landscape of Northern Cordoba, Argentina. Very few trees are left in an extended area where soybean crops and farming are destroying the natural habitat of the algarrobo tree.
NatGeo’s Best Photos of 2010 are out. This wasn’t one of the winners, but is my favorite. Scroll through to check out the finalists in each category. If you want your mind blown.
From Bob Cringley's Motivating Miss Daisy
"It’s ass-backward, I know, but it would work. Give rich people a short term incentive to spend like poor people, then phase it out over time.”
A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais: Why I'm An Atheist - WSJ -
“I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.”
UPDATE: He follows up with a Q&A.