Ari's Top 5

To be human, when being human is a habit we have broken, that is a wonder.

—John Moriarty


Having Humbleness
in All We Do

Healthy cultural soil, counter-rhythms, and
the power of Silver Branch Perception

I’ve written about humility many times since the pamphlet “Humility: A Humble, Anarchistic Inquiry” first came out in the fall of 2020. As I’ve been preparing to go speak about humility again later this week out west in Portland, I’m reminded how much this seemingly simple and eminently human way to be in the world is badly needed right now. When humility levels drop, despair, conflict, and crises are almost certain to follow. Check the news and you’ll find more than enough evidence of humility’s unfortunate absence. Without humility, it’s impossible to build caring workplaces, communities, and countries in which we can create well-being for all involved. Conversely, an increase in humility would lead us all to more love, more care, more kindness and, I’m pretty sure, peace and dignity. 

As I studied the subject over the years, I began to see humility as the metaphorical equivalent of topsoil. In nature, without humus, nothing much is likely to grow. As scientist Suzanne Simard says, “The humus is the foundation of the forest. … It’s an absolutely fundamental part of the being of the forest.” What follows then is a call to all of us—starting with myself—to rebound in the quiet regenerative powers that humility offers to anyone who wants to welcome it into their life. Humility doesn’t get much attention, but it is grounding and good for the planet as well as the people we work with. I wrote in the pamphlet:

The linguistic origin of the word “humble” comes from the Latin humilis, meaning “grounded” or “from the earth.” It’s connected to the word “humus,” which refers to the organic component of soil. In Hebrew, the name of the first man in the Old Testament, Adam, comes from adama, or “earth.” Which leads me to wonder if living humbly is a prerequisite for bringing our full humanness to the fore? Perhaps humbleness happens when we’re at our most human? And when we’re at our most human, we’re effectively in a grounded state of humbleness? 

Unfortunately, neither humility nor humus seem to be on the rise right now. Smithsonian reported earlier this spring that “More than 50 billion tons of topsoil have eroded in the Midwest; the estimate of annual loss is nearly double the rate of erosion the USDA considers sustainable.” A few years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists announced, “If soil continues to erode at current rates, U.S. farmers could lose a half-inch of topsoil by 2035—more than eight times the amount of topsoil lost during the Dust Bowl.” If I follow the metaphor through, a lack of humbleness leads us away from our humanity, and into trouble. The “topsoil” that’s needed for us to grow as we were designed by nature erodes. The result is the emotional equivalent of climate change; moods become more and more extreme, and swing more and more quickly. Arbitrary applications of authority appear with greater regularity. Temperatures rise as arguments ensue ever more frequently. It makes me think of the state of the nation’s politics as the metaphorical equivalent of the Dust Bowl. What should naturally hold together begins to blow around so badly it’s hard to see clearly—I look at the news today and think back on what it was like to walk through a dust storm in central Kansas during the Great Depression. When the topsoil is gone—both real and metaphorical—we’re in trouble. A few years after the Dust Bowl ended, Dr. Ted Albrecht, an agronomist and professor of soils at the University of Missouri, wrote:

Without humus the earth becomes a corpse, as the Gobi Desert or the Sahara is, and the enormous increase of desert condition … a phenomenon even more terrifying than the savagery of the present war, which is the logical outcome of living for wealth rather than for health.

At times, I will admit, I worry that I’m overfocusing on humility. In light of all the problems we face, humility can seem so small and insignificant. Humble, perceptive leaders like Kathleen Lonsdale inspire me to keep going with it. Lonsdale, who was born in 1903 in County Kildare, just south of Dublin, spoke from experience. An outspoken pacifist in an era when war was the norm, and a woman in a scientific world wholly dominated by men, she repeatedly spoke out—and modeled for the world—what she believed was right. Lonsdale was willing to stand up (and go to jail) for what she believed, and she humbly but powerfully spoke her mind. In her 1957 book, Is Peace Possible?, Lonsdale proposes, “Those people who see clearly the necessity of changed thinking must themselves undertake the discipline of thinking in new ways and must persuade others to do so.” Which leads me to, humbly, keep suggesting that an increase in humility would help us all. We are all, whether we like it or not, imperfect, interconnected, and interdependent. Lonsdale writes:

The pure scientist … must be willing to share his knowledge with others, and since truth is not the monopoly of any one person or nation, he must have an international outlook. He owes a debt to the past, because his own knowledge is based on free publication of the results of other people, and therefore he should dislike secrecy. He ought to be humble, because he knows he does not have the whole of truth, partly because truth is not the monopoly of the scientist and partly because the scientific method includes a realization of the mistakes and misinterpretations of past scientists, the elimination of successive error in his own results and those of other people.

What Lonsdale is describing is not likely to win anyone a political office, but it does, quietly and effectively, make a big difference. While the world fixates on quick fame and fast fortunes, it’s actually by focusing on building the humble topsoil that we can create the kind of healthy lives and organizations to which we aspire. Humility allows us to admit that none of us have all the answers, and embrace the wisdom of Edgar Schein, the country’s leading expert on company culture, who wisely writes: “I'm the consultant, and I don’t know what to do!”

Humility is easy to miss, but it matters. A lot. As I wrote in the pamphlet,
Humility, by definition, won’t win big headlines. It waits quietly in the wings.

If we listen closely, humility has a lot to teach us.

Mozart once said, “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” Humility fits that frame. It’s the space between the sounds. The whisper between the words. The energy between the egos. Humility is both ethereal and essential. Like great music, it’s hard to measure—and often goes past unnoticed by casual listeners. But if we pay close attention, we can begin to benefit from the beauty and grace that humility brings to the world.

Thinking musically like this leads me to share a recent learning I’ve had that has given me a new and helpful lens through which to look at the power of humility. It’s about what the art and music world calls “counter-rhythms.” The dictionary says that a counter-rhythm is “a rhythm that complements another rhythm.” It stands in contrast to what gets more attention; each makes the other more immediately apparent. In this context, I’ve started to see our ego as the rhythm; we need to draw on it to lead, and to push, as Kathleen Lonsdale and so many others have, for what we believe. Ego helps us to stand up for what's right, to speak our minds, to put our art out into the world. On its own, though, the ego creates all kinds of problems. Humility is the counter-rhythm. It balances out the ego, brings us back to ourselves. Finding that balance is easier said than done; I struggle with it regularly, as does everyone I know who has started to see the quiet importance of humility. When we use the two well in tandem, our work has a powerful authenticity. You can feel the difference. Counter-rhythms quietly make the music and art we admire possible. While the eye or the ear goes naturally toward the rhythm, the counter-rhythm is the contrast that makes it great. The artist—or leader—who masters counter-rhythm can, quietly, create magical work. 

Painter Robert Hunt (who designed the DreamWorks logo) shares that counter-rhythms “became a mantra to me.” The shift in the quality of his work was significant. “My drawing immediately improved,” he says. Same goes for leadership, I’ve come to see. Strong-willed, innovative leaders without humility go off the rails. Rather, it’s when the rhythm of our main message is effectively balanced with the counter-rhythm of humility that our work is most evocative and effective. 

Speaking of which, one quiet source towards which I’ve started to look for a deeper understanding of humility is the late Irish philosopher John Moriarty. Born in 1928 in County Kerry, Moriarty, himself, was something of a counter-rhythm. His philosophy is intriguing but it’s his humility, I believe, that makes it so special. Writer Michael W. Higgins says, “For most of his life Moriarty remained a neglected treasure.” After Moriarty’s passing in 2017, Higgins called him an “epic visionary in the tradition of the Franco-American monk-poet Thomas Merton.” Moriarty, Higgins says, “... sought the consolations of contemplation, the sanctuary of isolation.” He was clearly quite humble, a mindful and thoughtful model for the rest of us to learn from. Réamonn Ó Ciaráin writes:

Moriarty seems to have thumbed a lift to his speaking engagements. He was a contemplative uninterested in prestige or wealth. He was more fascinated by the caterpillar metamorphosing from leaf-eater to butterfly feeding on nectar, than in academic prestige. For almost threescore and ten years John Moriarty emitted gentle waves of challenge almost like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon, he was so fond of and waiting for the echoes.

Moriarty wrote a lot about the ancient Irish concept of “Silver Branch Perception”—a practice of “opening our minds, eyes, and ears” to pay attention, and to tune into the quiet that those who are racing through life will very likely miss. Moriarty said that Silver Branch Perception gives us “a marvelous way of seeing and knowing things that, in effect, is paradise regained.” Slowing down to get centered around humility can help us to see the small things, and notice the nuances that actually make a big difference. 

Knowing that humility is a good idea is infinitely easier than making it an integral part of our organizational culture. How do we make humility happen? On an organizational level, writing humility into our vision can work wonders. Encouraging meaningful equity helps as well—we work to create a workplace where everyone matters and no one is better or worse than anyone else. Regular reflection almost always increases humility. This could be journaling, intentional mindfulness, therapy … Talking about our struggles with friends who are themselves grounded in humility helps us gain valuable perspective. Openly admitting our own shortfalls, asking for help regularly, and paying attention to the small successes of people who are typically ignored on the organizational periphery can all contribute to our humble cause. Edgar Schein, in his wonderful book Humble Consulting, recommends that we stay “committed to being helpful, bring a great deal of honest curiosity, and have the right caring attitude.” 

Here at Zingerman’s, humility is, ever imperfectly, embedded in the way we work with consensus decision-making at the partner level. It’s an implicit part of Open Book Management and also open meetings. Using Bottom Line Change is a very effective way to make humility come alive in the day-to-day—I might be the CEO, but I still need to use the process to make a change. Diversity drives us to understand we’re all flawed but finding our way by working together. Humility is also now clearly and directly written into our Statement of Beliefs:

We believe humility is an essential ingredient for effective leadership and contributes to personal growth and success.

Another way to increase humility is simply to recognize quiet caring acts of effective, humble leadership when and where they happen. In the spirit of which, I noticed the article that K.C. Johnson—who has been writing about basketball for nearly thirty years now—posted about the coach of the Chicago Bulls Summer League team, John Bryant. While coaching professional basketball is a line of work that usually recognizes drama and yelling, Johnson’s experienced and insightful eye effectively identifies the gentle counter-rhythms of Bryant’s coaching. His quiet humility makes his messages far more powerful. “Leadership is hard to fake but easy to spot,” Johnson writes. Bryant, he says, “displayed it calmly and consistently. From his pre-practice habit of having players share thoughts and opinions about each other to his vulnerability in talking about losing his father to COVID-19, Bryant represented the franchise with class.” 

In a society that admires awards, idolizes its heroes, and tears down those it doesn’t like, it’s hard to stay centered in a caring, dignity-based, humble middle ground. And yet, when we make humility a high priority, we will be better able to work together instead of going to war. We can focus on acceptance instead of anger. We can learn to do right instead of worrying about being right. Humility is what allows us to work caringly and collaboratively together, to find the answers, ideas, and insights that we would otherwise miss. Building humility up, instead of wearing it out, can quietly but effectively transform our organizations. And our lives. 

As I was working on this piece, I realized I ought to practice what I’m preaching. When I went to the Roadhouse chefs’ meeting the other day, I decided to ask for help understanding what impact humility has had in our kitchen. I proposed that we use the question “What does humility mean to you all?” as the meeting’s icebreaker (a humble and equitable way to get everyone’s voice into a room at the start of any session). They had more to say than I can squeeze in here, but their comments were inspiring. Head chef Bob Bennett said, “There are a lot of kitchens where ego dominates and there’s lots of yelling. Humility means we don’t do that.” Sous chef Jessica Forbes said, “It’s about staying ‘right–sized’ with your ego. You try not to take too much credit, but you try not to beat yourself up either. It looks like walking down the middle of the road, always trying to keep your side of the street clean.” Supervisor Chris Kucera said, “Humility is listening to everyone, no matter their position. It’s trying to take in everyone’s advice.” At the end, Bob added, “Humility reminds us to make time to help someone in need.” 

Bob’s comment reminded me of a small personal story that I’ve been watching unfold out behind our house. It’s about the kind of meaningful difference humility can make. As some of you know from her Instagram, Tammie has been rescuing dogs over the last few years. On New Year’s Eve, she saved a pit bull named Blu from an abusive setting where he was chained up outside in the mud 24 hours a day (not good in the Michigan winter). Blu is very strong, and hence, to many, also scary. Most everyone who worked with him at the shelter where Tammie took him liked Blu, but still politely wrote him off as reactive, hostile, and risky. In the spirit of Silver Branch Perception, Tammie, as she often does, saw something others didn’t. Humbly following her heart, knowing that she didn’t have the perfect answer but might still be able to make a difference, she did what Kathleen Lonsdale called for: she took action. She has stayed grounded within herself, but also treated Blu with dignity from day one. Tammie got Blu into a tiny house on our property where she’s helping him get used to being around people, eat better food, get exercise, love, and get ready to find someone who can pay him proper attention and offer him a forever home. Slowly but surely over the last month, Blu’s anxiety has been going down, his eyes have softened, and his energy is slowly shifting. A few nights ago, something wholly unexpected happened. Blu gently put his head on Tammie’s leg and held it there. It was, as she says, the canine equivalent of a hug. The next night, out on our porch, he laid on his back and let her rub his tummy—the most vulnerable position a dog can put himself in. It was a remarkable thing to see, something that would never have happened without the quiet power of humility. There’s still a long way to go, but thanks to Tammie’s care, Blu is slowly becoming the dog he was born to be. 

This sort of shift is what, I realize, we can do for people we bring into our organizations who have suffered in bad workplaces or challenged lives where they, like Blu, have understandably hardened their hearts and learned to keep their defenses high at all times. 

Why does all this even matter? Like topsoil in nature, we need humility to grow as healthy human beings. Without humility, it’s hard to collaborate. Both dignity and democracy depend on it. It’s only with humility that we can make our organizations and our communities more caring, more peaceful, and more positive places to be. The cost is very low, but the upside for those who are humble and patient is big. Robert Hunt wrote this about counter-rhythms, but it could just as easily be applied to humility: 

It’s all around us—the first step is to know it’s there, the second is to look for it, the third is to incorporate it. You may be surprised to find out that it could have a transformational effect on your work. Maybe it will help you make something no one else has seen before…but they will know it has something special in it.
Handheld humility

Want to learn more about how to lead from a grounded, humble place of self-awareness? Maggie Bayless and I will be co-teaching the ZingTrain Master Class next month—it’s almost full but there are still a few seats left! It’s on Zoom so you can sign up from New Zealand, Nova Scotia or anywhere else from which you want to learn more about effective self-management.

The “Humility” pamphlet is available at the Deli, Roadhouse, Coffee Company, and online at and We’ve also put together this Leading with Humility Pamphlet Bundle filled with philosophies and practical tools that together can help you create a humbler culture. If you’d like to help increase the topsoil in your organizational culture, we would be glad to arrange bulk pricing if you buy a bunch. Email Jenny at
a bottle of Marqués de Valdueza red wine vinegar

A Bright Vinegar from Western Spain

The Marqués de Valdueza quietly makes
even more culinary magic

In the context of salads, I’ve started to see vinegar as the counter-rhythm to its far more focused-on culinary partner, olive oil. More often than not, the oil gets the attention and the vinegar helps bring its flavors alive in the salad bowl. 

Thinking back to what I wrote about last month, one of the things I’ve learned about leadership and marketing is that the product or company that is “first” to market will likely hold a solid advantage over those who show up later on. Even if the quality of a later arrival is better, the first entry will have already been embedded in people’s brains in a significant way. Balsamic vinegar—almost unknown and unavailable in 1982 here in the U.S.—has become the well-accepted “sweet vinegar of choice.” Over the last thirty years, most everyone in the country has learned to automatically ask for balsamic. There are, however, many other marvelous options. If you appreciate amazing vinegar get to the Deli and grab a bottle of this limited edition acid excellence from western Spain. It is truly something special! 

I wrote a bunch about Marqués de Valdueza’s olive oil last month. Here’s what Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, the 13th generation to lead the family firm, has to say about the farm’s rare vinegar:

In 2007, I decided to take part of our wine production and reserve it to make the finest vinegar our vineyards are capable of producing. We hired the French enologist, Dr. Dominique Roujou de Boubee, to direct the project and, in that year, we reserved 3000 liters of the juice from our Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah grapes to make vinegar in the traditional, Orléans method, as suggested by Dr. Roujou de Boubee. After an initial fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the vinegar starter was transferred to four-year-old French oak barrels when the alcohol content reached 2%. Aged in the barrel for a minimum of 20 months, we released the first batch of Marqués de Valdueza red wine vinegar in 2012. 

Only a few hundred liters of Marqués de Valdueza red wine vinegar are released annually. For this reason, we are able to offer it to only a few of the most prestigious food purveyors in the markets where our products are available. Zingerman’s was one of the first retailers to offer our vinegar in the U.S. and it remains one of the few that always has it available, no matter how small our annual release.The vinegar is a sparkling clean, honey-orange color with an intense and complex aroma of vanilla, fennel, and licorice, rounded with a touch of almond and a citrus finish reminiscent of freshly peeled grapefruit. The 9% acidity makes this the perfect finishing vinegar for a variety of hot and cold dishes. Try a splash in your Boeuf Bourguignon or as an amazing surprise in your favorite gazpacho recipe.

The vinegar is truly exceptional. Something really special for folks who love vinegar. Yes, by all means, buy a nice aged balsamic. But in the spirit of culinary abundance, consider picking up a bottle of this vinegar, too. Try it on local greens, on fresh fruit, and with all the ripe local tomatoes that will soon be showing up. Drizzle a few drops onto a tomato soup (hot or cold). Or soak toasted bread with vinegar and serve it in a salad with good olive oil, almonds, and ripe tomatoes. Try it with anchovies or on a salad with blue cheese and walnuts. Michael Harlan Turkell’s book, Acid Trip, has a nice recipe for a Banyuls vinaigrette made with blackberries—sub in this vinegar from Western Spain for wonderful salad dressing, and add in some ripe plums. Sometimes I drink a sip to brighten my day when I’m feeling down. Even thinking about it here is making me smile. A small taste of culinary excellence that you will likely remember for a long time to come!

Try it for yourself
You won’t see the Valdueza vinegar on the Mail Order site but we’ll gladly ship you some!  Email us at soon!!
A Roadhouse 24/7 Burger on a plate with fries on a wood-slated table

The Beauty of Eating Burgers at the Roadhouse

You really can taste the difference!

Having written above about paying more attention pushed me to think again about something that I have often slipped into taking for granted. They snapped back into focus the other evening when a longtime customer—someone who speaks his mind, kindly and clearly, about what he does and doesn't love—stopped me as I was passing his table. Holding up the uneaten half of his burger, he looked serious. Unsure of what was coming next, I leaned in to listen. “This burger is the best around! Seriously, I eat a lot of burgers, and this is really something. You really can taste the difference! It’s terrific!”

He's not the only one to say something of the sort. His kind comments remind me to appreciate the hard work of the northern Ohio farmers who raise the steers. They keep them in the pasture and diligently give them a small amount of grain with the grass they graze on, rather than the typical mass-market finish with an enormous amount of grain at commercial feedlots. It makes me appreciate anew the careful work of the Roadhouse kitchen crew who diligently dry age the meat for a month. And for Rodrigo Lopez, who calmly and caringly butchers from whole sides of beef. Thanks to all of their good work, we can then grind the burgers pretty much daily—more coarsely than most places—to better taste the quality of the beef as you eat. We then hand patty them (to avoid breaking down the fats as happens with the more typical extrusion) and grill them over an open oak-log fire. 

If you’re looking for a good, down-to-earth dinner (or lunch) this week, let me put this beautiful burger in your mind. The Bakehouse bun is exceptional—kind of the perfect pillow upon which to rest all this other stuff. It’s soft enough to soak up the juice from the burger, flavorful enough to contribute a touch of creamy, wheaty depth to the equation. You can add other items to the mix by topping your burgers off in any number of creative and tasty ways. Here are a few that are on my list:

  • The Pimento Cheeseburger - A classic of Columbia, South Carolina, it’s not generally listed right on the menu, but in one of those “Secret Specials” we love, you can just order it up!
  • The Shallot Jam Burger - The burger on special this month is the work of sous chef Chris Chiapelli. It features some delicious caramelized shallot jam. 
  • The 24/7 Burger - Topped with Hook’s 7-year Wisconsin cheddar and Nueske’s applewood-smoked bacon. You’ll need to ask for it, but we’re happy to make it for you. It’s Katie from ZingTrain’s longtime favorite!

Like all of us, the burger can be imperfect—the meat is not from mass market steers, so there’s some natural variability. Cooking over an open wood flame to temp is very difficult, and the vagaries of weather, the energy of the grill cook, and you and I as eaters can all have an impact. The burger is a beautiful fit for the John Moriarty quote I shared above: “a marvelous way of seeing and knowing things that, in effect, is paradise regained.”

Make a reservation for the Roadhouse
A full loaf of Caraway Rye and a partial loaf with one slice cut

Caraway Rye from the Bakehouse

Jewish Rye the way it would have been 100 years ago

Last week I referenced the work of Anzia Yezierska, the late 19th-century Russian Jewish immigrant whose books became some of the best-known representations of the experience of new arrivals in New York’s Lower East Side. Her writing deals with poverty, language issues, cultural shifts, and more. In Yezierska’s 1925 novel The Bread Givers, the main character, who works in a sweatshop and lives in poverty, says, “Whenever I passed a restaurant or a delicatessen store, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the food in the window. Something wild in me wanted to break through the glass, snatch some of that sausage and corned beef, and gorge myself just once.” Rye bread was a big part of the culinary story; a staple of eating that would have made regular appearances on the tables of nearly every poor European Jewish immigrant family. It was all people could afford. White bread back then was mostly for the wealthy. Later, as immigrants began to gain some modicum of lower-middle-class existence, that started to shift. Yezierska described the days:

For the first time in my life, I knew the luxury of traveling in a Pullman. I even had my dinner in the dining car. How grand it felt to lean back in my chair, a person among people, and order anything I wanted from the menu. No more herring and a pickle over dry bread, I ordered chops and spinach and salad. As I spread out my white, ironed napkin on my lap, I thought of the time only four years before, when I pinched pieces out of the loaf, and wiped my mouth with a corner of a newspaper and threw it under the seat. ... The dark night of poverty was over. I had fought my way up into the sunshine of plenty.

As Jews grew more successful and assimilated in America, they continued to eat rye bread. But the more they moved up socially and economically, the "whiter" they got, the whiter their bread got. Most commercial rye today is a pale shadow of its dark, heavy ancestry, most certainly lighter and softer and less sour than it was at the turn of the century. The Bakehouse’s version is a beautiful, historically accurate alternative. Best I can tell from years of reading and research, it’s remarkably close to what Yezierska, Emma Goldman, and their peers would have been eating on the Lower East Side in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I’m not the only one who appreciates it. Jane and Michael Stern rated the Bakehouse's rye bread the best in the country in Saveur magazine. 

What makes the bread so good? A lot more rye flour than most bakeries use, a real rye starter (instead of something out of a can), baking on the stone hearth, steam in the oven to help develop the crust all enhanced by hard work by the bread bakers at the Bakehouse and you get some really great tasting loaves. All of which is taken one step further still at the Deli by double baking and then hand slicing every loaf to bring out that crust. You can replicate the process at home—when you do, your entire house will be filled with a fabulous aroma. 

All the various versions of Jewish rye we make at the Bakehouse have a small amount of ground caraway in the dough. You can’t see it, but it adds a nice depth to the flavor. I’m partial though to what we call “Caraway Rye,” which has whole caraway seeds both in the dough and generously coating the crust. A thick slice, hand-cut (I far prefer the roughness of hand-cut slices) spread with the Creamery’s handmade Cream Cheese is, to my taste, one of the best combos one can get at Zingerman’s. Toasted and spread with butter is almost as good; butter and cream cheese both on the same slice (butter first, then cream cheese) is even better still. I also like a wedge dunked in chicken soup or spread with chopped liver. 

However you eat it, let this exceptional bread brighten your day. It’s certainly brightened many of mine, much as it did for immigrants like Anzia Yezierska, Emma Goldman, and my grandparents. Every time I bring a loaf home, I cut off the heel, take in the delightful aroma, take a big bite, and reground myself in its humble history, positive present, and flavorful future.

You’ll find the Caraway Rye on the shelves at the Deli and Bakeshop on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons (and early the following mornings).

Ship some Caraway Rye to your cousin in California

Salad with New Season Cucumbers, Carrot Greens, and Caraway Rye

An uncommonly delicious salad
that celebrates the season

The other evening, Tammie brought home some gorgeous new season cucumbers. These just-picked cucumbers are worlds more wonderful than the standard supermarket options. Many folks have them for sale out at the farmer’s market right now, so you too can taste the difference for yourself. There are so many heirloom varieties. Tammie is growing “Silver Slicers.” I wanted to make something that would highlight their flavor and honor all of the hard work and attention to detail that she puts into growing them. I quickly came back to all the reading I’ve been doing about Ukrainian culture, and also to the yogurt I wrote about a few weeks ago from Bellwether Farms out in California. What I put together reminds me of a Central European adaptation of a Tuscan panzanella. I liked it so much, I’ve already made it twice in the last ten days!

To put the salad together, cut the cucumbers into medium-sized chunks. If you’re using new season cukes like Tammie’s, there’s no need to peel them—they’re tender and terrific. Cucumbers are the featured ingredient, so use a lot! Add a sprinkling of sea salt. Mince up a small spicy green chile—Tammie is growing some Shishito, Padron, and a couple of lovely Korean varieties that will be going to Ji Hye at Miss Kim soon! I used a Padron. If you like garlic, peel and mince a clove of that as well. Toast a slice of the Bakehouse’s Caraway Rye. When it’s cool enough to handle, cut the bread into half-inch cubes and mix it with the cucumber and chopped chile. Sprinkle on a small bit of apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and mix well. 

Add a handful of chopped carrot greens. Although hardly anyone in America eats them, carrot greens are good for you, and you can use them in all sorts of dishes. Because carrots are in the caraway family, and like cucumbers would grow well in Central Europe and the American Midwest, they seemed like a fun way to brighten up the flavor and the color of the salad—they work much like chopped fresh parsley does! Add some toasted walnuts (I love those Red Walnuts we have at the Deli). Last but not least, pour on some yogurt—the Bellwether yogurt from the milk of Jersey cows is delicious! You can make the texture as you like. It’s meant to be creamy like a potato salad. Add a lot of fresh ground black pepper. Check the salt level and adjust if needed. That’s it! It’s ready to go! The salad holds up surprisingly well—still tasty a day or two later! Serve for a main course salad, or as an appetizer.

Other Things on My Mind


There’s a French band named Moriarty. In this case, it’s not named for John Moriarty, but rather Jack Kerouac’s character Dean Moriarty. The band makes some fantastic music that brings together blues, country, and rock in a unique way. Check out all of Moriarty’s music. 

Local musician Hannah Baiardi has a new album out. As is fitting for what Hannah brings to the world, it’s called Magic.


Edgar Schein’s Humble Consulting. As always, inspiring words from one of the modern-day business thinkers, still active at the age of 94, whose work continues to inform and inspire me.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this enews and you know someone else who might like it, please pass it along. Have questions about Zingerman’s? Write us at
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