Throughout the last few weeks finding a mentor meeting time that has worked has become increasingly hard. To find time within my mentor’s schedule we had to simplify our latest meal. We decided to go with a pizza night where I made the dough in the morning and my mentor and his family came later in the evening. We used different flavors to create different pizzas. In total, we made 7 different pizzas. We made a pear and blue cheese, Hawaiian, Italian sausage, 4 cheese, vegetarian, Italian balsamic, and a pesto mushroom pizza. Although making pizza isn’t a traditional cooking dish it utilizes a variety of flavor and spicing techniques in parallel with cooking. Creating different flavors from scratch by combining different sweet and savory ingredients taught me many important lessons. To teach me the art of flavor my mentor suggested a technique called “subtlety of flavor”. This technique according to my mentor “helps create a pleasing taste by ensuring not too many flavors are in contrast to one and other”. As shown below the pizza’s turned out great, and it was really interesting to slow down and have more time to talk with my mentor while the pizzas were cooking. While cooking more complex meals finding time to ask questions was sometimes hard. Whereas during our last meeting I was able to communicate more effectively and have in-depth conversations with my mentor. Moreover, I also learned about the importance of temperature when using different ingredients. Although cooking is often very forgiving in order to perfect a recipe keeping ingredients fresh and cool until the cooking time (especially when working with pizza dough) is incredibly important. I was amused at the fact that our first few pizzas did worse than the last few since we put everything into the fridge between batches. I also learned about serving food right after its cooking time. The pizza tasted the bets when it was directly out of the oven, and everyone was more than happy to crowd around as pizzas finished cooking.
Sarah: “…is there a reason the pizzas are falling apart as they go into the oven?”
Mentor: “The dough might be getting warm, and adding the sauce too early is probably making it too soggy.”
Sarah: “Should I put the rest of the dough in the fridge? I can probably fit most of the dough and the fresh ingredients.”
Mentor: “Sure, make sure the dough isn’t stacked, we want them to continue rising while we wait. Do you want to tell everyone the first pizza is almost done? It will taste best when it comes out of the oven.”
Sarah: “Sounds good, I will let them know and then put everything in the fridge. We can do one pizza at a time on the pizza stone that way the dough stays cold and nothing gets soggy.”
In Edward de Bono’s novel How To Have A Beautiful Mind parallel thinking is discussed as an alternative to traditional arguments. He describes parallel thinking as an alternative to arguments and that it “allows joint exploration of a subject [… it] require[s] each individual to fully explore a subject rather than just making and defending a case” (104). When people think in a similar way or wear the same thinking hat they are thinking in parallel with each other avoiding a direct argument. In this way, mentor meetings can be more effective and less controversial. In the transcription above I have taken a conversation with my mentor and will now explain the different hats in use. At the top, a white hat is being used as I am asking a question about the technical cooking techniques and my mentor is answering my question. When my mentor tells me to “tell everyone the pizza is almost done” and to tell everyone because it will taste better when it comes out of the oven we switch to Blue hats. This is because taste may not be a factual term, but it has to do with the emotional attachment with sharing our meal. In this way, my mentor and I still address things from a technical standpoint but add emotions about our families and them enjoying the meal as well. There are many other hats referenced in the book but those two are the most prominent within the transcription.