Last week I decided, after not having baked in months, to make a Hummingbird Cake, the iconic Southern delicacy with bananas, pecans, and pineapple. Sounds healthy, right?
I made a trip to the store to have all the ingredients on hand, but I failed to put in any sugar. Sugar is apparently now such an exotic ingredient to me that I clean forgot it would be needed in a cake.
I had just finished reading Sugar, Salt, Fat, in which I had found the claim that food manufacturers can’t cut back on sugar. Not only do people expect it, they’ve developed recipes that flat won’t work without it.
I was skeptical of that claim. I put a third of a cup of sugar in muffins (back when I ate muffins) and leave it out of most other foods entirely.
Well let me tell you, a hummingbird cake with no sugar doesn’t work at all. It was sweet, actually, because it has all that fruit, but it was lumpy and heavy in texture, not a cake you could serve a person, by any means.
This week, I’m making macarons, the next thing I was supposed to bake for the pastry course. You may have seen macarons in an upscale bakery or a cookbook: the crisp, light domes sandwiched with a ribbon of creamy filling. Mine look like tiny hamburgers — and that’s the kindest description.
They tasted good with my healthy dinner, though.
I did get some knitting done, a good start on a tam in City Tweed in a nice spring green.
And I read a thought-provoking book.
It reminded me that my purpose is to gather and disseminate information in ways that help people meet their goals. I see how I do that, at what cost, how it generates revenue, the activities and channels involved. What I don’t see is who I should do that for.
We’ve been thinking for a while about who our best customers would be. We’ve thought in terms of business characteristics: the size of the business, the characteristics of the people (they need to bring intelligence, integrity, and excellent to the table, I think, so that we can be effective strategic partners with them), the resources they need to have. We have thought that perhaps they need to be in the medical field. This is a field that is underserved online, but ripe for service. It seems like a good decision.
But this book brought up the question of what you want to help your customers accomplish. What bigger idea is important to you? Or, in this case, to me.
I know that education, especially liberal education in the sciences and the arts, is hugely important to me. If I had a fortune to give away, I would use it to end child labor and provide those children with educations.
But I can’t see working with educators or with artists. They don’t have the funds to support us, they work in circumstances that are filled with frustrating and irritating elements, often they are themselves quite maddening. Schools are almost the enemies of science and art.
So who, outside of schools and and performance venues, is working toward education? Who is outside the problem, working to solve it? How could serve those people… or even find them?
WP is not allowing me to post pictures today. I’ll add them tomorrow.