The First Law of Leftovers

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When I was a boy we didn’t have a lot of money. We ate well, but there was a lot of tuna-noodle casserole and a lot of leftovers.

Actually, other people ate “leftovers” and it was a bit of a downer for them. At our house it was “eating Creole” and we looked forward to it.

My grandfather had been a cook and restaurant owner. On a trip in his youth he discovered the Creole cuisine of Louisiana and brought it home with him to Pennsylvania.

He offered his customers what he called “Creole Plates.”. My grandfather’s “Creole Plates” always combined a different and surprising mix of foods and spices. Customers loved them.

When I was a boy, my mother would announce that the next night we were “eating Creole.” She meant that she would put together our dinner from the things we had left from earlier dinners.

She always sounded excited. She probably was, because she didn’t have to cook, but it made us feel like it was a treat. And it always was a treat because she accented the interesting combination on the plate, not the meal that the food came from.

Boss’s Bottom Line

The First Law of Leftovers is that you the way you present a situation has a big impact on how people will evaluate it and deal with it. Frown and call it “leftovers” and it’s a downer. Smile and accentuate what’s interesting and things are different.

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