It’s interesting how life works out this way sometimes.
Time and time again in my life, it seems that I’ve had past experiences that come in very handy these days. One particular “recurring experience” comes from being in the foodservice industry. While I would have never thought about it back then, it is amazingly helpful in my life now. Here are the two main aspects that have been a blessing lately.
COOKING IN BULK
If you've seen some of my food posts, then you may have noticed that I like to cook in bulk. Basically, if I'm going through the effort to make a meal, I'd actually like to end up with two or three meals and save myself a lot of the effort later. Whether it is thirty or forty breakfast burritos or a giant post of stew, we like having enough leftovers to cover another meal. While we may need to invest slightly more time when we are coking the first day, the following day becomes a breeze to prepare the meal, since we usually just have to add heat. This tendency didn't just start for me when the @little-peppers
came along and our family started to grow.
At many of my jobs in life, food preparation was part of what I did. Often I was a cook, dishwasher, delivery man, or waiter, so I understand a lot about making and serving food. Part of what I frequently had to do at many jobs was "prep work." Many hours were spent making giant batches of coleslaw or tossing hundreds of pizza doughs. In the fast paced restaurant world the more that you can reasonably work ahead, the easier it becomes to produce the finished meal in a timely manner. Also, at some restaurants, there is such a high probability that certain foods or dishes will be ordered soon that the kitchen crew may even work ahead.
Even when this is not the case, a streamlined repetition can set in. I experienced this at a pizza place down in New Orleans. When you've got to make an incredibly number of pizzas as fast as you can you learn how to best do it. It becomes a one man assembly line sometimes if you don't have any help and pizza after pizza is created back to back in the best possible way. If you don't learn to streamline the process and take care of multiple things that make sense all at the same time, eventually you are buried and everything grinds to a halt. A lot of the same skills that I learned in situations like that can now be applied to doing things like making forty burritos at a time, when meat and eggs must be cooked, tortillas heated, and cheese melted; all in a way that doesn't overcook or undercook anything and ends up having the whole pile hot and ready at the same time, without any being burned or cold.
RUNNING A CREW
Both in the food-service industry and not, I've managed to work my way up to the point that I often had to supervise people. This would include scheduling, training, disciplining, and a lot of other tasks. To try to organize almost eighty people in a factory to get the job done safely and correctly or to take twenty people at a pizza restaurant and make sure that every order and delivery was completed accurately and in a time fashion can be daunting tasks. Then sometimes you wind up with crews of supposed "adults" who are basically whiny overgrown children throwing fits and hoping to spend their whole shift outside on a "cigarette break" texting their girlfriend and chain-smoking.
Needless to say to be growing my own "crew" of helpers is a lot better than dealing with some of the issues that arise when dealing with some of the "workers" that I've met over the years. The @little-peppers
get to have a lot of fun and enjoy playing too, but they actually like to help, learn, and work, so we toss them into the mix which age-appropriate jobs suitable to their capabilities and skill levels. In many ways, preparing a meal around here can be somewhat similar to running a restaurant, and I'm glad that it worked out that way. Also, I used to lament having to learn "useless information." What I mean "useless information" is job specific info that doesn't really have any specific application anywhere else in life other than when working that specific job.
Years ago, I never even wanted to get married, much less to have a family. Now, the marriage is incredible and the family is certainly growing. It is a huge blessing to be able to take all of my experience and apply it in a practical way on a frequent basis. I think that if we think hard enough we can usually extract the benefits and blessings from past experiences and be able to somehow apply them to whatever we are dealing with now. At the moment, I am already blown away by what these children are capable of, and also what they are willing and even excited to do. If they are so skilled and knowledgeable already, I cannot wait for the days ahead.
A few times I've been asked, "Why do you have so many children?" Personally, I don't think that five is a lot, especially when we have friends with eleven, thirteen, and fourteen children. Once we even enjoyed a dinner with the Duggars who have even more. Anyway, my current response about why we have so many is, "Because we need a lot of help." I like this answer, because it really makes people think these days. Often, children are seen as a hindrance and not a help. Often, people think that children are a curse, and not a blessing. To be honest, we haven't received one yet that we would "send back" if we could, or that we wish had never been born. I think that a lot of it has to do with how people view children, and what they are raised up to be. If I treated my children like burdensome, incapable inconveniences in my life, I'm pretty sure that is just what they'd become.
For us, it just makes more sense raise them up to be the opposite of that. Everyone of our children is perfectly capable of sitting on the couch and watching cartoons while we the parents cook breakfast, but they are also capable of pitching in a hand and getting the job done more quickly!
Until next time…
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