With a little help from our friends…

You need to be living under a rock if you haven’t figured out that times are tough. Perhaps you personally or your business may not have had financial challenges, but I bet there is someone in your life or a business around you may know that has. (Congratulations by the way!)

So the time is NOW to get creative in how you are thinking.

Some people are particularly good at networking.  Most of these people don’t actually consider it as the LABEL “NETWORKING” because they live, breathe and do it every day, all day.  AND they like to hang out with people that feel the same way. (Don’t we all?)  A few years ago, I met a lady named Sheri,  a mortgage loan officer from Maine Savings Bank,  recently, she started a Sushi Lunch Group that “meets” on Fridays at a local Japanese Restaurant – Ichibans, here in Bangor.  The purpose of the group is simple. Connect and help each other.  No bylaws, no dues, everybody pays their own bill.

Photo credit: pingmag.com
Photo credit: pingmag.com

AND it has not only accomplished people getting together regularly and sharing, for me, I have met new people I would never have otherwise gotten to know.  The usual Chamber Business After Hours events, just don’t seem to do that for me anymore.  AND being new to Japanese food, these folks are always more than happy to share with me some of what they have on their plate, so I can try new things easily – also great fun for everybody!

One day as Sheri and I were leaving the restaurant, “Ruai,” one of the owners came up to her and said, “Thank you Sheri for your business and always bringing people in that are new to Sushi.”  (She was looking at me.)

Sheri said, “You are always so nice to us and always bend over backwards – the food is great.  See? We help each other.”  (Big Smiles all around!)

It is also no secret that the restaurant industry has taken it very hard during these times. Seeing Ichiban full of customers and NEW sushi fans is great.  But when people are making choices in where to go to eat, they may not try something different, because they don’t want to feel disappointed,  going out that one time per week (or month).

Thinking “out of the box,” during “out of the box” times is necessary these days.  Regrouping and doing things simply, can be very effective.  You never know, while you are helping yourself,  you maybe helping your friends and neighbors too!! (YAY!)

Bad weather or weekends, must be time to cook!

I feel badly for the “printed word” business. At least when it comes to me. Newspapers, books and general cookbooks are not things I see myself buying anytime in the future. Most of my news I get as a feed to my Google Reader account, nearly all of my books I download from my audible account and cookbooks I use the internet to find some very neat recipes often many I see on the Food Network.

When you are using the internet for your recipes, there are no storage issues on bookshelves with old cookbooks that may only have a few recipes you like as well as the time it takes to find those gems. Searching through cookbooks takes forever and searching Google takes seconds. On foodnetwork.com or allrecipes.com you can have your own online recipe collection to look when you have time, access and print them when you are ready to use them. You also can go back to your account to these recipes the next time you want to use them. Here is a Tyler Florence Brownie recipe that I just tried. Yum, yum!

I guess my favorite site and where I feel most welcome as well as for efficiency sake and interaction is allrecipes.com. This is not a collection from chefs or contest winners. These recipes are generate by it’s users. There are nutrition facts and you can also customize the recipe, there is a calculator that allows for how many servings and you can make shopping lists. Keep in mind these people are just like you and me and things are not tested in the famous Food Network kitchen like those on their sites. But I have never been steered wrong by anything I have tried on this site and it has become my site of choice.

I just set up my own account on allrecipes.com and am quickly gathering recipes. I can really see the benefit in doing that. Before I didn’t bother to register on this site, I just poked around and found what I liked and printed it. So you can do what is right for you.

I also have my own blog that I have been gathering some of my own favorites, this is a benefit cookbook my friends and I are doing for an Atlantic Salmon River (the Margaree) in Nova Scotia. These recipes are our own and are simple and intended for the cook that is also a fisherman and wants a delightful meal that is easy at the end of the day of a long day in the stream.

I love internet sites for planning meals. I can do it anytime, now with my allrecipes.com account I can go in and see what I chose during a break at work and know what I am cooking on the weekend. I like to make things that I can simmer in a crockpot or freeze for eating during the week.