Feeling stuck in your work? Get the inspiration flowing again with this quick read, which is about my personal sandwich hero, Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Not only is he an absolute god with a muffuletta sandwich, but he jumped into building a business with only his good sense and solid values about him. (Too many people check those two things at the door when they enter business.) He decided he didn’t want to be the biggest business, or the most profitable business—he just wanted to be the greatest.
At a certain point, anyone in a creative endeavor, including business, has to decide what kind of company/writer/artist/boss/blogger they’re going to be. Creatives can be especially prone to endless comparison, to always wondering what the other guy is doing. Which leads to doing things like the other guy does them. And we all know that conformity is anathema to creativity (and to happiness, which we can’t pretend doesn’t matter at the end of the day).
But it’s okay to decide to change the way you measure yourself as a creative or business owner. You don’t have to be the world’s most famous writer, or the most highly trafficked blogger, or the best paid speaker, or the most profitable business. But you should be the greatest—however you define your “great.”
Ask yourself: are you happy with your work? Are you proud of what you’ve built and created? Are you growing in ways that align with your values? That’s what really matters.
If you answered yes to those questions, go reward yourself with a giant deli sandwich. And send me one, too? Please?
To read more about Zingerman’s particular style of open-book management, check out Ari’s series of 3 business books!
Have you seen the new cooking website from the New York Times? It’s still in beta stage, but it’s an exciting project to finally unearth all their archives of recipes and make them searchable. Making recipes accessible and searchable sounds pretty basic, but as we saw from the Innovation Report (which I wrote about here), the Times has long struggled to get those digital basics right.
The most worthwhile part to watch is Sam Sifton’s new newsletter that highlights recipes from the site. It’s fascinating to see such respected journalists test out their voices in new forums—I think he’s done a great job of maintaining that Times-y tone, while also infusing a little bit more personality and casualness. It’s like Sam Sifton at the end of the day, tie-loosened and drink in hand, telling you what you should cook that week. Here’s one from the archive that both Sam and I want to try this week:
Tacos with Turkey Picadillo
Cherries are in season! Go to the store and buy out their display—they’re most likely on sale. You can pit them and freeze them and save them for the sad cherry-less months. Or you can be hedonistic and throw them all into a pot to make the cherry syrup for this drink, which is another fabulous creation by Jarrett:
Round up these things:
– Pint of sweet cherries
– Maraschino cherries (optional)
– Seltzer water (optional)
Place cherries in a saucepan over medium heat. Add a sprinkle of water and a tablespoon of sugar. Mash the cherries with the sugar as they warm up, then pour through a strainer, making sure to squeeze out any extra juice.
Take 2 ounces of the cherry juice, squeeze in the juice of 1 lime, and add 3-4 ounces of vodka. Add ice and shake in a cocktail shaker (or mason jar with a lid!). Then strain the mixture into a martini glass over a large ice cube or ice ball.
You can throw in a maraschino cherry or two to garnish, or even a little drop of the maraschino juice for extra flavor and sweetness. If you want to make it fizzy, add a dash of seltzer.
Perfect with Michigan sweet cherries and Turkey Tacos!