My mother’s late husband was a baker at Costco — the bakery manager, in fact. Even though he worked in a fast-paced environment, he lived by the title of this piece: Move slow and bake things.
He had a quiet demeanor, so when he did raise his voice, you paid attention. He moved deliberately, primarily because he’d been in a major car wreck that pretty much folded him in half. His legs were held together with metal, and yet he went about his life with a sense of reserved joy.
There’s a lot I don’t know about him, but I did get the chance to work with him at Costco for a few years. He was the one that helped me land my job there. There was even a point where we were both on the management team in the warehouse — he in the bakery and me in the food court. If he didn’t get the pizza dough to the food court in a timely manner each day, I jokingly warned him that I’d, “tell Mom.”
When I think about him, I can’t help but remember how eerily close he came to death in that head-on collision that occurred before I met him. He seemed to live every day as a gift. He worked his way through his days with purpose, and appreciated that good things take time. They need to … bake.
You can’t be too flexible when baking. Ingredient measurements matter. Even large-batch baking has plenty of thought behind it. If you rush baked goods, the quality suffers. The same goes for plenty of other things. If you want to ensure quality, you need to let things bake as long as they need to bake. And you need to pay attention to them so they turn out in the best way possible.
Forget “move fast and break things.” That concept is stale and well past its expiry date.
Try this concept instead: “Move slow and bake things.” This perhaps won’t apply to everything, but give it a try in more things, and see how they turn out for you.
Leon was an inspiration, and had I not already been in my twenties by the time he came into my mother’s life, I’d likely have known him as a stepfather.
So I suppose role model will have to do.
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