Everyone has stopped and paused as we all consider the tragedy and waste of the Tucson shootings. Such sad events should make us all evaluate the role of violence and hate language within our culture.
One place to look for guidance in such troubling times is among the great works of literature. Yet even these treasured texts can be threatened by those who want to restrict a free flow of ideas.
Craft artist Carolyn Forsman has created a wonderful bracelet that features the covers of books that some sad individuals have sought to ban. One bracelet link proudly even declares "I read banned books".
Free speech manners greatly. These great writers have dedicated their lives to saying clearly what is of value to be said. But they say it with words that share meaning, not phrases of random hate or casual labels that can make us all fellow casualties of fear.
Those of us who have had the privilege to know and work with great chefs understand as they do that anger and rage have no place in any professional setting. These top chefs are direct and clear (and fair) in what they say.
There are two reasons that these masters of cuisine conduct themselves in such a manner. First, creativity (in or out of the kitchen) doesn't happen in a negative environment. And second, the supportive staff that surrounds these leading chefs won't work in an atmosphere that is not positive and creative. In short, they will leave because abuse (verbal or physical) is not a management style appropriate for sucessful kitchens (or aspiring politicians).
Perhaps we too need to consider leaving - leaving behind words of hate and fear and remember what all great writers (and chefs) seek to share: that, yes, there are problems, but they are best solved through our mutual effort and understanding, not by an anger that isolates and divides.
Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2010