Ari's Top 5

Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.


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Inverting the 20th Century View on "Vocational Training"

Ten things we can do to make vocation
a more widely-embraced reality

Tartang Tulku Rinpoche is a Buddhist monk who was born in the mountains in the region of Golok on the northeastern edge of Tibet in 1935. The Golok people are known as free thinkers, and Tulku certainly seems to fit the mold. He is one of the last living lamas to have gotten his full training in Tibet before the Chinese invasion and annexation in 1959. In 1958, he and his wife, the poet Nazli Nour, immigrated to India, and then, a few years later, came to California where Tulku founded the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center. Now nearly 90, Tulku lives in Berkeley, where he recently published his 47th book, entitled Gesture of Great Love: Light of Liberation. Back in 1978, when I was getting my degree in Russian history from U of M, Tulku wrote, 

These are hard times in which to live, in which to try to make sense of things, and many are looking for a way to make their work and their life more satisfying and significant. 

While technology has changed tremendously since Tulku said this nearly half a century ago, work, sadly, seems still very much the same. Today, in 2022, we still live in hard times, and many people continue to look for ways to make their work and lives more satisfying and more meaningfully significant. This piece is about one way we might help those we hire—or ourselves—to make that happen. It’s about developing a purposeful program for the active cultivation of what is known to many as vocation. 

Describing the challenges of the circumstances back in 1978, Tulku wrote:

Most people do not expect to like their work, much less do it well, for work is commonly considered as nothing more than a means to an end. Whatever our occupation, we have come to think of work as a time-consuming part of our lives, a duty that cannot be avoided.

In other words, negative work experiences have led to negative beliefs about work. A situation, as Tulku is pointing out, where work becomes little more than a necessary evil, a world in which work is something people are trying to avoid. Vocation inverts all that. Work—what I have come to think of as “good work”—becomes a spiritual, creative act, a life-altering inspiration. I believe, as I said in the Introduction to Part 2, that “At its upper reaches, good work can be one of the most rewarding things one ever engages in.”

Vocation, or good work, is, of course, less commonly found than we might like. For far too many people, work is a difficult, demeaning, and draining experience. Instead of energizing, it’s exhausting. The disengagement and apathy I wrote about in “Fixing the Energy Crisis in the American Workplace” follow. The impact of this on organizations and society at large is not insignificant. As Tulku says, “Life extracts a price for less than full participation. We lose touch with the human values and qualities that spring naturally from full engagement with work and life: integrity, honesty, loyalty, responsibility and cooperation.” Usually, the blame for this problem is put on the people who don’t exhibit the positive characteristics on Tulku’s list. But it’s my belief that the root cause, the real problem, is not the workers, it’s the quality of the work. People who are treated poorly and aren’t shown a better way, settle for jobs that, while perfectly fine, fail to help them to live out their full potential.

Perhaps, a better way to go would be to do as Wendell Berry suggests—to shift our mindset back to understanding “one’s life’s work as a vocation and a privilege, as opposed to a ‘job’ and a vacation.” Berry, who was born about a year before Tulku, grew up in a part of rural Kentucky whose independently-minded people are probably just as free-thinking as those of Golok. Like Tulku, Berry is a practical philosopher and prolific writer. Earlier this year he put out his 57th book, The Need to Be Whole: Patriotism and the History of Prejudice. In 2009, he echoed what Tulku had written 30 years earlier—most jobs do the opposite of what is possible for people who develop a vocation. Writing in Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food, Berry states:

We can say without exaggeration that the present national ambition of the United States is unemployment. People live for quitting time, for weekends, for vacations, and for retirement; moreover, this ambition seems to be classless, as true in the executive suites as on the assembly lines. One works not because the work is necessary, valuable, useful to a desirable end, or because one loves to do it, but only to be able to quit—a condition that a saner time would regard as infernal, a condemnation.

With all this in mind, I started to wonder, what if we were to actively teach the people we work with (and of course ourselves as well) that vocation was a very real possibility for everyone? And then demonstrating in very practical, very learnable ways, what it would take to make that sort of vocation a reality and supporting them en route? The benefits, I believe, would be big for all involved, since, as Wendell Berry writes, “It is by way of the principle and practice of vocation that sanctity and reverence enter into the human economy.”

Reflecting on vocation the other day, I got to wondering why one of the most common ways the word is now used in the U.S. has so little to do with the uplifting, spiritual possibility of “good work” in the way that both Wendell Berry and Tartang Tulku have imagined it. Rather than effective training on how to have a vocation, the Industrial Revolution has brought us what is commonly called “vocational training.” Wikipedia says:

Vocational education is education that prepares people to work as a technician or to take up employment in a skilled craft or trade as a tradesperson or artisan. Vocational Education can also be seen as that type of education given to an individual to prepare that individual to be gainfully employed or self-employed with requisite skill.

Vocational training of this sort dates back to the time of WWI when the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 authorized federal funding for vocational education in American schools. It was designed as a way to help those who were believed to be “not college material” to still find jobs. While having a job is likely far better than being unemployed, I share Wendell Berry’s belief that the national focus on “‘job creation,’ entirely dissociates the idea of work from any idea of calling or vocational choice.” 

The technical linguistic root of the word vocation in Latin translates to “a summons.” It was seen, many centuries ago, as the kind of calling from on high that Wendell Berry is writing about. Nuyorican poet Bob Holman says, “The job of the poet is to make words into worlds.” If that is the case, then perhaps we might now imagine training for vocation as a way to restore the word to its rightful role, and in the process lay out a clear path to teach people how they each can make that call for themselves. To demonstrate that vocation is not something for a select privileged few, but rather a way of working that anyone who’s interested, and is willing to do the work that comes with it, can access.

Were we to do this well, we might create a way to be in the world in which, as Tartang Tulku says, work would be:

… the skillful expression of our total being, our means to create harmony and balance within ourselves and in the world. … By exercising our creativity we fulfill our natural role in life, and inspire all beings with the joy of vital participation. … If we genuinely devote our energy to improving our attitude towards work, developing what is truly valuable within us, we can make all of life a joyful experience. The skills we learn while working will set the tone for our growth and give us the means to bring satisfaction and meaning into each moment of our lives, and into the lives of others.

Tulku says that this would be “working with skillful means.” I call it vocation, and Wendell Berry describes it as, “the authentic calling to the work that is properly one’s own.” Effective training—of the sort ZingTrain has designed for so many other subjects over the years—could help many people turn what seems an unreachable fantasy into an effective, uplifting everyday reality. Vocation in this sense would not be an accident of birth or an act of god, but rather something that can be learned by most anyone who’s ready and willing to do the work. If Tartang Tulku and Wendell Berry can do it, so can you and I! 

Anarchist, philosopher, playwright, and poet Paul Goodman wrote that “Having a vocation is somewhat of a miracle, like falling in love and it works out.” I love this sentiment. When I read his statement ten years or so ago, it felt like it had been written for me. The thing is though, that like positive long-term personal relationships, vocation doesn’t just “work out” without a lot of work. The question is, then, what is it that people like Tulku, Berry, Goodman (and maybe you) do to make that vocation become a meaningful, practical reality? 

To use the training terminology I learned from ZingTrain’s Maggie Bayless—a woman who made training her vocation thirty years ago—how do we become “consciously competent” enough to teach others who don’t yet “get it” how to have a vocation of their own? 20th-century “vocational training” teaches people the skills they need to get a job. The training I’m imagining here could, by contrast, help them to create a spiritually uplifting, purposeful life’s work. Channeling Maggie’s guidance on effective training, here are 10 themes to share that everyone I know who has found vocation is doing in one form or another. 

1. A vision of greatness

A vision of greatness seems, best I can tell, a prerequisite for vocation. While we each get to decide what greatness is, and while many of us (me definitely included) began what became our vocation with no idea at all what was to come from it, in the long run, vision is essential. We need to commit to greatness to gain the benefits that vocation can bring. In whatever field we choose to work, this seems to be about the pursuit of mastery. Mastery, Dr. Sarah Lewis says, “is not merely a commitment to a goal, but to a curved line, constant pursuit.” This internal drive towards greatness seems to be present in everyone I know who is living out their vocation. Vision helps us stay the course, to remember we’re part of something bigger than ourselves, connected to purpose, committed to everything else I’ve listed below. 

[Writing a vision using the “hot pen” technique that we learned from Stas’ Kazmierski 30 years ago (see “The Story of Visioning” for much more on all this) is the best way I’ve experienced to get in touch with what’s in our heart and soul quickly, at no cost and more often than not, relatively painlessly.]

2. A philosophy of our own

Without a clear philosophy of our own—instead of just conforming to what others would have us work with—it seems impossible to create the sort of special presence that goes with anyone who is “working vocationally.” Tartang Tulku, Wendell Berry and Maggie Bayless have all developed distinctive philosophies that have helped them to stand out so significantly in their fields. Although I think it’s safe to say we’ve had one here for years, it’s only recently come clear to me how important it is. My own/our food philosophy is shared in detail in the forthcoming pamphlet, “A Taste of Zingerman’s Food Philosophy; Forty Years of Mindful Cooking and Eating.” Friend and maker of amazing hand-sewn garments, Natalie Chanin shares the philosophy of her business:

We are a leader in elevated craft due to a strong belief in tradition and dedication to locally sewn garments and goods—both hand and machine-sewn. We maintain responsible, ethical, and sustainable practices holding ourselves to the highest standards for quality. We are makers and educators, working to elevate and merge design, craft, and fashion. At Alabama Chanin, we preserve traditions of community, design, producing, and living arts by examining work and life through the acts of storytelling, photography, education, and making.

3. Authenticity

Easy to say, not that easy to make real. And yet, authenticity seems essential to doing meaningful work in this sort of way. James Autry, who was born in 1933, a short bit before Tartang Tulku and Wendell Berry, and has authored 13 books, suggests, “In every situation, you must lead with your real self.” I’ve written a good bit about authenticity in all of the pieces about the revolution of dignity. Here I’ll share the list of Dr. David Hanscom, an orthopedic surgeon who now also specializes in holistic medicine, who writes:

An authentic person is someone who is comfortable in their skin and doesn’t feel the need to put on a front to fit in and be accepted by others. They know who they are, and they don’t hide it.

They understand their purpose and follow their life’s passion. They don’t chase after money, status, and possessions and are not immorally competitive, for they are not fearful of anyone.

However, this doesn’t mean they don’t live a wealthy life and enjoy nice things, but they define and strive for success to their own standard.


4. Curiosity

Nearly everyone I asked about vocation brings up curiosity. The drive to learn more, to see how things could be improved, to understand the kind of connections that can increase our creative skills, to ask better questions, and seek meaningful answers, is a skill I believe we can teach and practice. 

5. Purpose

It’s Natural Law #22: “Working with purpose builds energy in every direction.” I’ve written much more on this elsewhere. Purpose is a hugely important part of vocation, more important now, perhaps, than ever. As Australian-born, London-living philosopher Roman Krznaric writes: “We have entered a new age of fulfillment, in which the great dream is to trade up from money to meaning.”

6. Practice and deep attention to detail

Haruki Murakami says, “In the same way that you have to read a lot of books in order to write novels, to write about people you need to know a lot of them.” In the food world, you need to taste a lot. Amy Emberling, longtime managing partner who has found twin vocations with baking and business at the Bakehouse, says excellence comes in part from “constant tasting and assessing.” Rolando Beramendi, someone for whom traditional Italian food and cooking has become a vocation, laughed when I asked him what it takes to be the kind of great cook he has become, and then responded: “Practice, practice, practice.” As friend and Boston-based chef Ana Sortun says, “You can’t just play baseball for an hour and then get into the major leagues.”

7. A commitment to study and teach

I’ve never met anyone who’s living a vocation who’s not a lifelong learner. Practice alone isn’t enough. As writer Richard Sennett reminds us: “You can’t understand how wine is made simply by drinking lots of it.” The learning could come from books, it could be in the classroom, it could be hands-on hanging out with those who’ve already attained mastery, but in one way or another, it needs to happen.

Over the years at Zingerman’s we have come to see teaching as the highest level of learning. And everyone I know who has attained some meaningful level of vocation is teaching in some way or another. As chef Marcus Samuelsson says, 

One of the things I have learned during the time I have spent in the United States is an old African American saying: Each one, teach one. I want to believe that I am here to teach one and, more, that there is one here who is meant to teach me. And if we each one teach one, we will make a difference.

8. Love the work

James Autry taught me many years ago to “beware the person who likes the job more than they like the work.” If one is going to create a vocation for themselves, it should not go unsaid that it will not work if you don’t really like the actual work. Title and trappings are never the point in vocation—it’s a love of the craft and work that are the core of the whole thing. British essayist Logan Pearsall Smith puts it well: “The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves.” Natalie Chanin gets right to the point with those who want to sew with her company, “You have to love the thread.” 

9. Patient persistence over a long period of time

A lovely long vacation might last a month, maybe two. A vocation, on the other hand, lasts a lifetime. As Natural Law #11 says, “It generally takes a lot longer to make something great happen than people think.” Everyone—literally, everyone—I’ve asked about this subject says something about how long it takes for vocation to come to fruition. Natalie Chanin says, “Learning to do something well takes time. To become a master takes even more time.” Ana Sortun says, “It takes years. You have to be able to stay focused over a long period of time. I love seeing slow and steady improvement. I get scared if people go too fast, too quick.”  Tulku, Berry, and Autry, all continue to craft, think, and write creatively as they approach their 90s. 

10. Courage to push past one’s comfort zone and adapt en route

Having a vocation does not mean we are fearless; it just means that we embrace our fears in the interest of going forward with what we believe in so deeply. Natalie Chanin says it well: “Creative process is filled with fear and vulnerability, and yet, we rise up every day and keep making stories.” Not only do we have to stay engaged through anxiety, we need to be able to adapt under pressure. Every one of the people I know who I believe have vocations has pushed past the pandemic. They made changes to their day-to-day or the way they do some of their work, but the purpose and long-term vision remain intact. Within that frame, they seem to have a lot of flexibility. Amy Emberling emphasizes “the ability to effectively improvise or adjust to the changing nature of real ingredients and the changing physical environment.”

When all this plays out as I imagine, and I myself have experienced, the vocationist and the vocation come together to create something greater than either were before they connected. Ana Sortun says, “There’s a string between the head, the heart and the hands that allows someone to become a great cook.” Like all good relationships, what we do with our life’s work will, when it goes well, be shaped both by us and the work. If it goes well, both the world we work in and we ourselves come out better for it. 

Vocation, it seems to me, could be the key to turning what might look mundane to many, into something magical, life-changing, and world-altering. When we do the work this way, we make something that is clearly recognizable for what it is, and yet is unlike any other. Wallace Kuralt said of his better-known brother Charles (whose work I wrote a bunch about last week):

Anybody could have done those stories and probably done them pretty well. But to copy what he was doing, that was just style. To understand an artist you have to look into his heart, and that’s where those stories came from. And that’s why people simply could not get a grip on them quite the way Charles did. They didn’t have in their hearts quite what he did, the depth of feeling for that story, for that subject. 

Speaking of Kuralt, I took a side road on my way to writing this piece by pausing to talk to Yoko. Yoko is in high school here in town and has been working at the Roadhouse for the last few years. I asked her, looking forward to whatever future she imagines, “What would really fulfilling work include?” Her answers, given off the cuff, during a quiet moment on shift, while not identical, were remarkably parallel to what’s listed above:

- good environment

- good coworkers

- good managers

- having a good work and fun balance in the job

- fulfillment

- making a difference

- learning something new

- taking something away

- growing as you learn through experience

Training or no training, not every person who works here, I know full well, will want to have a vocation. Some will be happy just coming in and doing their job while they pursue other things in their lives. There is certainly nothing bad about that. But for those who might potentially be interested in more expansive possibilities, this sort of training in how to have a vocation might just change their lives. As James Autry reminds us, “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

This training, at least as I’m imagining it, just might be that spark. Our organizations and our communities and the individuals themselves could all benefit in the process. Learning more about how to create a vocation could, for some, be the start of something truly special, a life where passion, learning, contribution to others, and active meaningful engagement with the world would extend for decades. As Tartang Tulku reminds us:

We have a responsibility to work, to exercise our talents and abilities, to contribute our energy to life. Our nature is creative, and by expressing it we constantly generate more enthusiasm and creativity, stimulating an ongoing process of enjoyment in the world around us. Working willingly, with our full energy and enthusiasm, is our way of contributing to life. Working in this way is working with skillful means. 

As I write, the holiday season is well underway. Many gifts will be given in the next few weeks. If vocation is a way to access and accentuate our natural gifts, then it could be that a training program in how to make it happen could well be one of the best gifts we could give.

Transformational training

Want to learn more about vision, purpose, creating good work, and more? ZingTrain’s annual Seminar Sale is underway. All in-person seminars are 20% off through January 6. And people get a free seat in an online workshop with each seminar seat purchase.

If you’d like signed books or pamphlets for gifts, we’d be glad to get them to you! Just make a note when you order.

Someone you know might find their vocation to be baking. A gift card to BAKE! could open the door to that calling!

overhead view of Zingerman's Bakehouse stollen on a marble board, partially cut into slices, with a decorative muslin bag next to it, a gold knife, and a partial view of some greenery

Zingerman's Bakehouse Stollen

Classic German Christmas cake, loaded with butter, dried fruit, spices, and more!

The Bakehouse’s old-school German Stollen may not be as big as a vocation, but it is a classic Zingerman’s Christmas gift that will bring comfort and wonderful complex flavors to anyone who tries it. The Stollen is made with an incredible array of ingredients including sweet butter, Bacardi rum, lemon, orange, Michigan dried cherries, citron, currants, almonds, golden and Red Flame raisins, Indonesian cinnamon, lots of real vanilla, and more. When you nibble a bit, at first you get a touch of creaminess on the tongue from the powdered sugar that coats the surface. Then you taste the butter and a bit of the dried fruit as you break through the thin crust, then the tartness of the dried cherries, and sweetness of the raisins. The citrus stays brightly in the background; the vanilla and cinnamon come through subtly, but meaningfully, in the finish. And it all lingers with a really nice, mouth-watering finish. I snacked on some the other day, smiling, while sipping a cup of super smooth 2022 Holiday Blend brewed in a press pot at the Coffee Company. 

For a bit of historical context, stollen was originally a much simpler, staid, and stern product, made only from flour, oats, and water. Back in medieval times, Advent—the lead-up to Christmas—was a time of fasting, during which Catholic bakers were banned from using butter. In Rome, where butter was only rarely used and olive oil was easy to access, the butter ban was, from a practical standpoint, not a big deal. But to the north, in Germany, where oil was costly and butter was a staple, the ban led to serious hardship. Saxon German nobles wrote to the Pope and requested permission to stop using oil and switch back to butter. Their request was denied by Pope Nicholas. It took six more popes before Innocent VIII, in 1490, gave permission in what became known as “The Butter Letter” for bakers to use butter without having to pay a fine. 

Fortunately, times have changed and we all have access to the Bakehouse’s butter-laden loaves of Stollen. The main thing to know in 2022 is that the Stollen tastes terrific. It warms up beautifully on Xmas morning (or any other morning for that matter). Co-managing partner Grace Singleton at the Deli suggests “grilling” slices of it in butter in a sauté pan til the cut face of the Stollen turns golden brown. The Bakehouse’s Stollen comes in a lovely cloth sack! At the Bakehouse, Deli, or Mail Order.

Ship some Stollen to your sister in Santa Fe?

A Trio of Delicious
Special Coffee Drinks around the ‘CoB!

Butterscotch Latte at the Roadhouse,
Pomander Mocha at the Coffee Company, and
La Vida Mocha at the Next Door

If you’re looking for a way to start your day, finish your evening, or perk up a meal with a delicious coffee drink, the teams at the Roadshow, Coffee Company, and Next Door have got you set up for success. While some folks, like me, prefer their coffee straight up, there is actually a very long history of livening up one’s brew with spices and sweeteners. Coffee has been spiced with cardamom for centuries in the Middle East. In Yemen, coffee beans are sometimes mixed with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and dried ginger. There are a host of folks around the ZCoB who have been working for years to find ways to make the “mixology” that typically goes on behind a bar into a big part of working with the great coffees we roast at the Coffee Company. As a reminder, and as is true of all we do here, the quality of the spices and syrups used for the flavoring makes a big difference. 

Butterscotch Latte at the Roadshow

The crew at the Roadhouse have been famously serving the house-made butterscotch pudding for years now. Now the folks out front in the Roadshow have figured out how to make a Butterscotch Latte—it’s like getting a cup of coffee and butterscotch pudding all at the same time. As the Roadshow folks said: 

We've always said we have the best brown sugar in the world, so we in the Roadshow thought, why not make a syrup out of it? Loads of organic Muscovado brown sugar and a bit of vanilla bean balances that oh-so-tasty burnt sugar flavor that's hard not to salivate over. 

The Roadshow’s butterscotch syrup—many hours in the simmering—is added to steamed whole milk from Calder Dairy along with a couple shots of Espresso Blend #1 from the Coffee Company. Order one inside the restaurant for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert, or grab a Butterscotch Latte to-go from the Roadshow, generally acknowledged as the coolest coffee drive-through in the region. 

Pomander Mocha at the Coffee Company

Last month, I wrote about those amazing orange slices dipped into bean-to-bar dark chocolate by Kathy Johnston and the men and women at Mirzam in Dubai. This special drink offers another way to enjoy that classic chocolate-orange combo. The Pomander Mocha has been one of the most popular holiday specials at the Coffee Company for years now. The drink is made by starting with classic Mocha—whole milk from Calder down in Carleton, Michigan, a double shot of Espresso Blend #1 (from Daterra in Brazil), Belgian chocolate chips—and then adding a splash of pure orange oil to give it a bit of a citrus twist and a pinch of ground cloves to bring the whole thing together.

Livin' La Vida Mocha at the Next Door

Joan Coukos started her very successful career working in business and banking. Over time though she began to realize that her real vocation was more in making chocolate than in making money. Twenty years ago she founded Chocolate Moderne. This magical mocha is made with Joan’s sensually spicy, subtly smoky, Mayan Eyes Drinking Chocolate, enlivened with a double shot of the Coffee Company’s excellent Espresso Blend #1.

Have a Pomander Mocha ready and waiting for you
overhead view of Zingerman's Jelly Bean Jump Up 2023 Calendar

2023 Jelly Bean Jump Up Calendars Raise Money for SafeHouse Center

Local canines and cats star on this annual calendar!

This week marks the start of the 8th annual Jelly Bean Jump Up, our yearly fundraiser for SafeHouse Center. The bulk of the event will actually take place in the winter—February and a couple really cool events in March—but we’re getting things moving now by putting out the Jelly Bean Jump Up Calendars for 2023. They feature a whole host of dogs and cats from around ZCoB, including four from our house (Pepper is the cover boy; Blu, Eva, and Chance Edward Chance are inside) as well other wonderful pets from around the ‘CoB, like Stacy Walsh’s super cute little pup Mocha in December and Melaina Bukowski’s Frankie in October. 

The earliest paper calendars date back to Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. Three years before American independence, publisher Robert Aitkin invented what’s said to be the first commercially available planner. Paper calendars became popular during the Industrial Revolution, after the end of the American Civil War. In ancient times, calendars had mostly been painted on walls, carved into stones, etc.; the early paper offerings were really only for those with enough money to afford them. Industrial scale printing on paper—both calendars, and their personal corollary, “the planner”—was a way to democratize what had previously been pretty much an upper-class resource. 

The Jump Up started in the winter of 2016, after the death of my much-loved Corgi, Jelly Bean, the previous spring. If you’ve lost a beloved companion (person or pet), you will likely have some sense of what I was going through. She and I had been together for a remarkable 17 years. (If you want to see the obituary I wrote for her, drop me an email.) Although grief can feel overwhelming, there are ways to slowly, gently, shift it—painfully, at times—into something constructive. I wanted to take the pain and put it into a positive program that would benefit the greater good. Marsha Ricevuto, who knew Jelly Bean well and cared for her so many times when I went out of town over the years, suggested the idea of a “Jump Up.” Nine months later it happened. Tammie and I wanted to do it for SafeHouse, in part because we live nearby and all the staff would see Jelly Bean and me jogging every day, but more importantly, because providing a safe space for the victims of domestic abuse as SafeHouse does is so important. And now the Jelly Bean Jump Up is an annual tradition to help support those whose lives and safety are under threat in our community. 

Looking ahead, this year’s Jump Up will wrap up on March 14—the day before our 41st anniversary— when we will do a special dinner at the Roadhouse, featuring Marie Rose and the wild Alaska salmon from Shoreline that I wrote up last week. Marie, who found her vocation in fishing, is also a big supporter of this cause: 

Just as we aim to be mindful of how we harvest and handle wild salmon in Alaska, we also strive to foster partnerships that help to support the safety and well being of the communities in which we operate. Organizations like the SafeHouse Center that provide resources for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner domestic violence are essential for fostering a healthy community. We are grateful to work alongside Zingerman’s to help fundraise for this important cause.

You can find the calendars at the Coffee Company, Deli, Bakehouse, and Roadhouse. If you’d like to have some shipped, send an email to Melaina who coordinates all our community giving and she’ll get you set up. In fact, right when they came back from the printer, Jenny Santi at the Deli said:

A guest from New York called the Deli about Jelly Bean Jump Up calendars. We didn't have them yet, so I've been emailing with him and finally was able to sell him one and get his mail address so we could put it in the mail for him. He thanked me and said the calendar was a gift for his daughter, who is "obsessed with this calendar and its cause!”

The calendars sell for $20. If you want to give more, that’s great. If you can’t afford the $20, we’ll figure out a way to make it work together. ALL the proceeds go to SafeHouse. Every dollar makes a difference!

A totally pawsome calendar
packages of chocolate chanukah gelt from Zingerman's Candy Manufactory

Ten Great ZCoB Tips for Gifts, Parties, and

Tours and treats, goodies and gelt,
catering and clubs!

There’s so much good stuff going on around the ZCoB, it’s impossible to fit it all in here! With that in mind here are ten short references, each linked to lead you to more in-depth info!

1. The most life-altering Zingerman’s gift I can imagine is a seat on a Zingerman’s Food Tour! Denmark 2023 just sold out, but there are a whole range of others ready to go.

2. Mail Order’s Clubs are one of the best ways I know to send Zingerman’s gifts. You order now, and then the gift keeps coming to the recipient for many months (you choose how long) to come in the new year. There’s the best-selling Bread Club, the Bacon Club, the Coffee Cake Club, and many more. 

3. If you’re looking for something big to send, check out The Ultimate Zingerman’s Gift Basket or Pecan-Smoked Ham from Indiana! 

4. The Candy Store has high-level handmade Chocolate Chanukah Gelt. Made with Valrhona chocolate, available in milk and dark chocolate.

5. Mail Order has handmade marzipan stars for Chanukah.

6. The Roadhouse has a whole series of Chanukah specials based around 2022 new harvest olive oil (the star of the Chanukah story—email me if you want to hear more). And the Deli’s cold cases are loaded with potato latkes!

7. Miss Kim caters! You can turn your next gathering into something super special by serving the really good, repeatedly recognized on the national food scene, regional Korean cooking from Miss Kim! Reach out to

8. The Creamery has some wonderful hand-crafted gelato cakes hand-crafted by Lexi Stand and the crew there. One is made with Zzang Bars, another with dark chocolate. Beautiful, tasty, terrific!

9. The Cornman Farms Holiday Shop is up and features Kieron’s classic Hales Ham and handmade traditional British Figgy Pudding. Don’t miss the Bakehouse’s Walnut Beigli or Chocolate Babka either.

10. The Roadhouse’s online Christmas ordering is up and ready to go. I'm a HUGE fan of the whole Smoked Amish Chickens—they’re one of the most versatile items around. We use ‘em at our house to eat as-is for dinner, for chicken salad, to add to pasta or soup, etc. And we make world-class broth from the bones (we just add some celery, carrots, and parsley and simmer for a few hours).

Other Things on My Mind


Sasha Boole (or if you can read Cyrillic, Саша Буль) is a folk musician from Ukraine. Good tunes and good playing—I’ve been listening a lot to his album Too Old To Sell My Soul. Buying Boole’s blues, country, and ragtime-tinged music helps support one creative caring musical soul who’s joined the Ukrainian army. Sasha says,

Thanks to all my friends, colleagues and fans who are texting me with messages of support and keep on asking "how can we help?" I truly appreciate that. And yes—you can. By spreading the word of truth. It's not a Ukrainian crisis or Ukrainian problem … We're in the same boat, fighting for a better future.


Here’s a short piece I wrote for the creative folks at Corporate Rebels in the Netherlands. 

Black, White, and The Grey by Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano.

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