Tradition and Progress
A Parable of Undocumented Processes
As promised in my 2023 year in review, I’m experimenting with storytelling this year. Not every post will be in this style, but I aim to distill a principle in a parable today. I hope you like it, but I’d love your feedback either way.
In the quaint little town of Greenport, the Hearth & Home Bakery was renowned for its signature cherry pies. People would travel far and wide just for a taste. They were so popular that they’d long outgrown their small kitchen setup. The bakery's owner, Eliza Thompson, decided to modernize the bakery to increase production. The new bakery was sleek and efficient, with state-of-the-art equipment and a streamlined production process.
Shortly after reopening, customers began to notice a change. The cherry pies had lost their special touch. They were good, but not Hearth & Home good. Something was missing. Customers were abuzz with theories, but no one could pinpoint the cause. Eliza, distressed by her customers' disappointment, started investigating. She spent sleepless nights poring over old recipes and procedures, trying to figure out what had changed. Then, one day, as she walked across the old bakery floor, now used for storage. She felt the sun's warmth through the window and had an epiphany.
Realizing the missing element, Eliza quickly improvised a solution. She installed a special warmer in the new bakery. She set a timer and had the unbaked pies rest in the warmer before they went into the oven, simulating the time required for ovens to become ready in the old kitchen. To her delight, the cherry pies returned to their former glory. The bakery regained its reputation, and Eliza learned a valuable lesson about the delicate balance of tradition and progress. She often shared the story with her customers, reminding them that sometimes, the magic of a recipe lies in the rituals and not in the writing.
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