Quiche Casualties & Better Business

This weekend something so catastrophic happened in my kitchen that my roommate, Kelli, looked at me, smiled and said, “I can’t wait to read about this on Monday.”

I love the idea of bringing people together to brunch or lunch — to talk and play.

But I’m not the most graceful hostess.

My friends RAVE about my cooking skills. At the same time, they warn me never to murder someone, because based on my weekly watermelon massacre, I would surely get caught.

I’ve been banned from baking, because that requires following precise instruction and I’ve embraced the fact that following rules is NOT my God-given talent.

I have been lovingly nicknamed the wrecking ball.

I put utensils in all the wrong places. Rolling pins in the pantry, dry foods in the refrigerator and we often fear that the salt and pepper will never be found again.

To add a layer of complexity to my relationship with the kitchen, I almost always have a sobering moment where I look at the path of destruction I’ve left in my wake and wonder who made this mess?

This past Saturday there was no question as to who made the mess.

My delight for hosting brunch on Sunday morning was cute, until it wasn’t. While I prefer to to wait on the fire of inspiration to flood my soul, I am wise enough to know that brunch — party of 12 — is not the kind of thing you wing.

For reasons I could not possibly justify, I decided to make quiche.

I’ve never made a quiche, because I’ve been banned from baking. But you can prepare it in advance and that’s exactly what I needed to do, so I went with it.

In my enthusiasm, I started making the filling before Kelli got home to bake the crust.

Rookie mistake, Diaz.

In my inability to follow precise instruction, I subbed frozen spinach with fresh spinach and Parmesan with pepper jack. When all was added and mixed, the consistency seemed off to me.

So I did what any rational being following a recipe would do, I disregarded it.

I added two more eggs, two splashes of milk and some garlic.

This looks better, I said.

It will never work, my girlfriends said.

Don’t worry, everything I touch turns to gold, I replied.

We put it in the oven and I started on quiche No. 2.

Rest in peace, quiche No. 2.

That second quiche was doomed from the start. I actually followed the precise instructions for that one, but I filled the crust prematurely. It sat for too long and started leaking.

In an attempt to control the leaking I put it in the oven, before quiche No. 1 was done.

If you’ve made quiche, you know that you’re supposed to cover the crust with aluminum foil so that it doesn’t burn while the egg is cooking.

I was in a hurry. I didn’t cover the crust.

I thought I could do it later.

And I tried to do it later.

I found myself with my hands in a 400 degree oven attempting to apply aluminum foil to the edges of a hot tart pan that was sitting on top of a baking sheet.

I should have resigned and taken the quiche out of the oven to do this. But if I had done that, I wouldn’t be writing this story.

To pull this off without removing the quiche from the oven, I had to turn the baking sheet 90 degrees to bring the back side of the quiche to me so that I could cover the crust with the aluminum foil.

Keep in mind, my dexterity was dramatically hindered due to the two oven mitts I was wearing.

It takes two hands to apply aluminum foil to the crust of a quiche, which left me with no hands to steady the baking sheet.

When you turn a baking sheet 90 degrees, roughly a third of it hangs off the edge of the oven rack. The third of the baking sheet hanging off the edge of my oven rack happened to have a quiche on it.

If you understand basic math, you know that 1/3 of a baking sheet with a quiche on it is heavier than the two thirds of the baking sheet without the quiche.

If you understand basic physics, you know that the heavy side of a teeter totter always goes down.

What I’m saying is I spilled an entire quiche in my oven.

There were six eggs, a cup of milk and a cup of cheese in a soupy glory spread out on my brand new oven door, topped with an unbaked crust.

The best part was none of my friends were surprised. They just smiled and knew they would be reading about it today.

Oh, and they went to Walmart with me at midnight to buy ingredients to make a third quiche so that my brunch wouldn’t be a bust.

Now the question is, what business lesson did I learn from this?

The next morning when 12 people gathered around my clean kitchen counters to cut and consume two perfect quiches, I could have let them think that I had it together. I could have let them think that it was completely effortless to prepare and serve them this meal.

But I was not about to pass up a chance to tell the tale of three quiches.

In telling the tale of three quiches, I would like to think I demonstrated something to them about our shared humanity.

I’d like to think that in my attempt to entertain with cuisine-inspired comedy, I showed them something about how much I wanted them to come and eat and fellowship in my home.

Are you showing your clients how much you want them?

We tend to concern ourselves with getting it together and keeping it together or at the very least taking the Oscar for best performance in the game of business.

But what if instead of hiding your crazy, you shared with your clients that your business is growing and you’re overbooked, but you really want to make it work.

What if you brought them into your business even when there are papers piled high and quiche spilled in the oven? The path of destruction left in your wake is totally worth it in exchange for your innovation and creativity.

What if you told them about your failures so that they could stop feeling alone in theirs?

I’m not suggesting that you call yourself a wrecking ball as a brand standard.

What I am suggesting is that you demonstrate your shared humanity.

I’m suggesting that you tell the tales of the lengths you go through to serve your clients so that they may feel wanted and welcome.

I’m suggesting that you entertain and sit back to see the effects of bringing more of yourself into your business.

Laura Diaz is the CEO and Senior Brand Consultant at Kiss Me Creative where they make client love all day long. Her super powers are efficiency, follow through and creativity based on sound logic. She enjoys long sips of coffee and short lines at Starbucks.

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