There are things that stick around in my head for a very long time. Which is pretty darn amazing, since I often can't remember what I was up to five minutes ago.
When I first joined French Fridays with Dorie and saw this particular recipe in Around My French Table, I knew - just knew - what this post would be. I was hoping that my anticipation of the recipe in light of the post wouldn't fall flat when I tasted the results. Such pressure.
Now, I am left hoping that the post concept lives up to the recipe. Or that it doesn't scare everyone.
On a ledge in my office sits a three-ringed binder.
I've had this binder for about 15 years.
Inside this binder are sheets of business card holders - filled near to bursting with these tokens of human interaction over the years. Last time I checked, I estimated there were over a 1,000 business cards in there.
The amount accumulated on annual basis would vary, depending on my position at the time. The years that I spent in operations support and during my time in the factory, didn't get a lot of business card action. My time in purchasing kept that book mighty busy.
As contacts floated in and out of my peripheral, I found that I needed a way of keeping track of them. The names and faces would blur together and it's kind of embarrassing when you go to meet with someone you've met previously and you have no idea who the heck they are.
So I started keeping notes on the back of these business cards. I would include the date I met them, any pertinent personal information or distinguishing characteristics. And my impression of that person. Yes, I wrote my impressions on the back of their business cards. If that book were ever to get in the wrong hands, I probably would have some explaining to do.
Sometimes, when I am digging through the book, trying to come up with an association for a name that comes my way (usually because they are now working for a different company and I have to remember who they used to work for...), I will flip those business cards over and take a look at what my first impressions were.
Normally, they are pretty banal observations (hair color, height, age, etc) - sometimes, not so much.
For example, there is one gentleman who used to regularly call at our offices. I would say that he was definitely a bit outside of the corporate "norm". He would pull up to our offices in his extended cab, American built (obvs) pick up truck wearing lots of heavy gold chains and very tight T-shirts (so that the world would know that he spent a lot of time at the gym). He also had some pretty definite ideas of a woman's role in the workplace and would share them with me every visit - note to sales people: this is not a great approach if you want someone to buy your company's services. My note on the back of his card: "lifts weights", "Run". Those three words told me all I needed to know and I've never had any trouble keeping his face straight in my head. (No disrespect meant to anyone who works out.) True story.
Another of my contacts was a man who was in his late-30's at the time and still lived with his parents. He liked to tell me about his dating life. (I won't even expand on what my mental replies were to THAT.) His card? "Lives with parents"; "Seems to need to socialize more"; "Bring back up to meeting".
An older gentleman, who was exactly that - a gentleman - received the notation of "refined".
Another gentleman who was very aggressive in his approach was marked as "You will use us or else mentality". A couple of month's later, I noted that he had been "canned" and had drawn a smiley face next to that marking. He must have really rubbed me the wrong way.
Apparently another vendor also didn't have a good handle on what makes me tick at work because their notation was "drops in with out appointments". There is a gate guard at our site and I am not afraid to use them to keep out unexpected visitors...
I must have a thing about teeth, because the state of people's teeth would often be listed as an identifying feature. The words "family guy" was frequently noted next to those I had a favorable impression of. "Good natured" and "pleasant" were not uncommon notations.
I could tell that one individual had rankled me at some point - the words "hard to get a hold of" were written in all caps on the back of her card, with multiple underlines.
Some of my favorite notations are a bit self-incriminating and not as "high-road" as they ought to be.
There are cards in my file that serve to remind me of colleagues who are no longer with us. It just seems wrong to throw out the business card of someone who has passed - it feels like that would be throwing away traces of their place on this earth. I am being fanciful with this notion; but if it were me, I would take comfort in the idea that someone somewhere down the road would have a glimpse of me and who I was when they came across my business card.
The back of business cards may provide stimulation for my mind, but Back of the Card Cheese and Olive Bread provides stimulation for my stomach. (How do you like THAT transition, huh?)
Tapenade, olives and a blend of cheeses (aged cheddar and some other cheese that I can't think of the name of) joined forces to create this moist (at least mine was) and savory quick bread.
I enjoyed it best slightly warm - fresh from the oven, but it was also pretty darn good toasted a couple of days later. It paired perfectly with a greens salad. It was also made for good nibbling by itself.
It had just the right amount of "presence" - unlike Mr. "Drop by Unannounced" who seems to have a little bit too much presence for my liking.
Maybe if he had shown up with a loaf of this bread, I might have been less aggravated...
This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. The recipe for "back of the card" cheese and olive bread can be found here where Dorie published it in a newsletter.