A Recipe for Success

by Bruce Teeple on

vintage_cooks_in_the_kitchen_postcard-rddc71ff5dc4e492f8be9459839c7a58f_vgbaq_8byvr_512Full disclosure: Outgoing SMC chair, Stacy Klingler, asked me to create this recipe for next week’s Small Museums Luncheon in Salt Lake City.

“Oh, Stacy,” my wife cried, “You know not what you ask! Bruce? In the kitchen??”

After all, a good rule of thumb for anyone is to write from experience. My annual foray into the land of pots and pans usually involves making 40-50 gallons of a high-octane rotgut my neighbors graciously –  yet oddly enough, gratefully – call “wine.”

I hope the following masks the lack and depth of my culinary experience:

  • Dump gobs of sweat and elbow grease into a large vat.
  • Add several buckets full of vision and goals.
  • Let all fear of change or of making mistakes bubble to the top, skim them off, then throw it away. (Those bubbles are mostly hot air anyway.)
  • Throw in liberal doses of patience, tolerance and compassion.
  • Leaven it with conservative and sensible estimates of time and money.
  • For good measure, let your hair down occasionally….but don’t let it get caught in the mixture.
  • Maintain some balance by drizzling anticipated frustration and aggravation over it.
  • Stir in a sense of humor to keep everything from simmering…or worse, boiling over.
  • Mince your words carefully before slowly blending them into your concoction.
  • Sprinkling too much salt on your language raises anyone’s blood pressure (including your own).
  • Toss in enough tact that, when you tell someone where to go, they’ll at least look forward to the trip, if not the destination.
  • Pour in copious quantities of caffeine, alcohol….or some appropriate and legal alternative. (After all, we are in Utah!!!!)
  • To top it all off, remember to serve everything with a smile, for the greatest pleasure is in knowing others appreciate your final presentation.

Bruce Teeple is a freelance writer, editor, local historian, speaker, gardener, wine maker, chicken farmer, and columnist for the Centre Daily Times in State College. Pennsylvania. A graduate of Penn State in history and political science, he served for nineteen years as curator of the Aaronsburg Historical Museum before joining AASLH’s Small Museums Committee. He is currently researching and writing As Good as a Handshake: the Farringtons and the Political Culture of Moonshine in Central Pennsylvania. His latest work is “Slavery In Post-Abolition Pennsylvania….And How They Got Away With It.”

2 Responses to “A Recipe for Success”

  1. September 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm, Stacy Klingler said:

    To continue Bruce’s efforts at full disclosure:
    I did ask him to write a recipe without any thought about his culinary experience. I only know that he excels at both writing and making me laugh. (I have tasted his homemade wine and promise that it is NOT rotgut!)

    At the Small Museum Luncheon at the AASLH Conference in Utah in a few weeks, we will be asking attendees to share their own “recipes for success.” Our hope is that these recipes will encourage conversation and remind us about how to make it through the tough days and celebrate the great ones.

    We’ll share some (or possibly) all of the recipes we collect at the luncheon on the Online Community.

    If you won’t be able to share in Salt Lake – please share your recipes here, right now! Everyone can use a little laughter and encouragement to make a day of small museum work just a little bit better, right?


  2. October 04, 2012 at 11:36 am, Mary Warner said:

    A soupcon of suspicion is a critical ingredient in the history world.


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