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Okay, so I know that I got past the bakery and the desserts in the last story…
But I have to go back to something I remembered that was significant in going forward in business and life in general. At the peak of our output in the bakery, we were producing a range of cakes, pastries, cookies, and even ice cream! We had started making ice cream, because I met these guys at a tradeshow, who were making fantastic ice cream products using a high-butterfat, honey-based ice cream mix.
We got to talking and decided we would try to build an ice cream shop that we could use as a prototype to franchise. We constructed a storefront complete with ice cream cases, gooseneck soda fountain faucets and wrought iron tables and chairs. It was way cool! We bought a 1948 Emery-Thompson ice cream maker; old but still quite effective! After a full day run, the batch freezer blades were so coated with butterfat, we had to slice it off with a knife. Oooo, did that taste good!
I had gotten quite proficient at making flavored ice creams by using all-natural, concentrated flavors and ingredients. However, while experimenting along the way, I had this idea to make carrot ice cream. We made carrot milkshakes and they tasted great so why not ice cream? I knew I would have to concentrate the carrot flavor as much as possible and knew that using a “carrot juice purée” would be risky. My fears were realized when, although in the final product the taste was fantastic, there were too many small water crystals from the carrot juice.
So now I have this 5-gallon bucket of carrot ice cream and even though it was imperfect, I did not want to discard it. I figured I would put it all the way in the back corner of our display cases that held 16 flavors of ice cream. Who could see it there, especially if I did not label it?
The very next day, a friend of mine, came into our shop with a very distinguished and revered monk from a local spiritual order and an entourage of three others. They all wanted to see this new ice cream shop (and I’m sure taste the wares!)
After a very joyful greeting, I did not have to speak, for my vociferous friend was lauding all of my great accomplishments, especially that our ice cream was heaven sent! He then turned to our honored guest and asked if he would like some ice cream. Without hesitation, the Brother quickly glanced at the 16 buckets of various colors and textures, focused on the far back corner and pointed to the unnamed bucket and said, “I’ll have this one”.
Now I had been meditating and interested in spiritual growth for some time. I had even come to realize through experience that every moment holds a spiritual lesson if you choose to see it that way. But… THIS was a bit much! How can that happen? There were plenty of other enticing flavors and names like cappuccino chocolate chunk, pistachio, mocha almond fudge… AND the Brother picks the bucket in the far back corner that does not even have a name on it? Well, I did get the message. In anything that you do, if it is not right, don’t put it out! And it’s interesting that the message came from within, very calmly, and with an understanding.
I figured that it would be discourteous to try and explain the carrot ice cream and steer our guest to another flavor. I had gotten my lesson, so I nervously scooped the carrot “crystal” ice cream onto a cone and presented it to the Monk. I knew that it would taste good, but I also knew the man before me was of high spiritual stature because of his discerning nature. I knew he would know. Plus the “coincidence” was far too uncanny, so I knew that he already DID know, and that I needed to be exposed!
The Brother was very focused, and took a few bites. My friend asked him, “Isn’t the ice cream great?!” The gracious man politely said that it was good. My friend who saw himself hosting this event was not satisfied so like a fly buzzing around the Monk’s head asked again, “Brother, don’t you just love it? Do you like it? Do you like it?” Well, I was not the only one to get a lesson that day. The Brother turned to my friend with a laser-beam look and said, I-SAID-IT’S-GOOD. My friend took a few steps back and was a bit… just a little bit, more subdued for the rest of the visit!
A great man once said, “In shallow men the fish of little thoughts cause much commotion. In oceanic minds the whales of inspiration make hardly a ruffle.”