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Laying In, and Taking Stock

December 17, 2022

Xmas Eve 2010

I think our Salazar Family does not have an excess of traditions, but the ones we do have are, well, pretty traditional. Foremost on our short list is Christmas Eve, which we celebrate in the French style of Réveillon. The essence of this is simply: On this special night, the best of everything. And the best, as I’m sure everyone knows, takes work. Kim and and I are already into the researching, recording, shopping, and planning. The day-of, every half-hour from 8am up to serving time will be scheduled. Here’s the menu:

Entrée: “Daniel Boulud” Cold Smoked Atlantic Salmon, French Canadian Cretons pâté, Rye toast points, capers, cornichon, mustard. Muscadet.
Soup: Double-Beef Consommé with Wild Mushroom, a la Jacques Pepin.
Fish: Sole Paupiettes with Lobster Mousse, again a la Jacques Pepin. Chablis.
Plat principal: Whole Roast Sucking Pig, Creamed Leeks, Gojujang Glazed Carrot. Sablet, 2018.
Fine Cheeses
Galaxie des Biscuits Bonne Femme (our fancy way of saying Kim’s Cookies)
Sauternes
Digestif
Coffee

We have had such a pig on Christmas Eve one time before, in 2010, as the above more-youthful Alex and Morgan can attest. While (forgive me) you never forget your first pig, I’m hoping this year’s edition will excel its predecessor. The plan this year is a slower, longer roast, with a lot of garlic and ginger inside.

There’s a lot of ingredients there, thus the laying-in. As pigs are not had on-demand at Stop and Shop, I have bespoke one from Savenor’s, to be available on the 23rd. I expect to get my seafood that day, though past few years sole has been hard to find. I know I can get it at some of the Boston pier outlets, but I’m hoping the better fish mongers in Cambridge will suffice.

In the back of my mind during all this activity is the Taking Stock. No, I don’t mean an end of year Augustinian reflection on my shortcomings – rather, it’s a work thing. For some years now in my jobI have been a manager and I now have a total of 22 teammates in my responsibility. As is the case with so many tech companies, now is the time we do a performance review – an assessment and comparison of each employee’s achievements and potential. Managers have to write a fact-based, thoughtful, encouraging yet realistic chunk of text that distills into a few paragraphs an employee’s professional worth and prospects. So, no pressure.

It’s really not that bad. I find that most people want to do a good job, and to get better at what they do. For me this process is more about bringing each person’s activities into perspective compared to what the company needs, and about helping them find their particular path to improvement.

The unfortunate thing is, in my company I have to do this for 9 people by Dec 30 the latest. I’ll likely be laptop-bound a good bit of the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Will the good cheer of the season permeate what I write? No way to tell but frankly – I hope so.

Last comment: Been re-watching a lot of ST:TNG of late. Last night was Lower Decks (S7E15), in my view a great episode and one in which the performance-review process aboard the Enterprise-D plays a part.

Categories: Food, Work
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