Frank Bruni

11 posts

The secret to Networking

A couple of years ago I was attending a Christmas party when a well known entrepreneur and business owner came up to me and started talking about business networking. Since it’s one of my favorite topics I was happy to oblige.

He asked me the most direct question “ what is the one secret to networking?” Interestingly no one had ever asked me that question before. Most of the literature about business networking concentrates on so-called ‘networking events’ and how you should or should not act and react at those functions. But rarely do they discuss the ‘how to’ of actually meeting people.

Back to my new friend, I said “you have to be first”. I explained that and in any situation if you want to network (read meet) with someone, you need to stick out your hand and introduce yourself first. This, of course, seems blindingly obvious yet for many people it is unnatural.

Being first guarantees an introduction. There is no better substitute.

Mastodon Part 2

Well it’s been a couple of months and I must admit that I like Mastodon better than Twitter. That said, for me, it’s not as good. I say that with a great deal of hesitancy because there are many ways in which it is superior. However, it is the sheer size of the user base which separates the two.

Mastodon has a dedicated and committed community and they genuinely believe in the platform. Twitter has more users and as a result there is more for the individual to choose from and that, in the end, makes Twitter the winner.

Mastodon has two major faults. The first is it relies on individuals to establish and run instances (individual servers that are part of the Mastodon whole). Those individuals pay out of pocket to run those instances and invariably ask for donations for support. If that is successful, instances flourish, if it isn’t, well you see the problem. 

When I joined Mastodon my goal was to turn it into a news feed. I was generally successful; however, what was really true was that a particular Mastodon user had created a number of “bots” ( accounts which rebroadcast content from other sources) to do that job. So the truth is that many news organizations have not committed to Mastodon and that some of what was available was subject to the largess of a particular person. Again, you see the problem.

I still believe that Mastodon has great promise but for me an open source RSS reader has replaced Mastodon as my news feed.

Update: July 2023, Just Deleted my Mastodon Account. Just not a Social Media person I guess.

Mastodon

Mastodon has been much in the news lately as an up and comer alternative to Twitter. Time will tell if Twitter can survive the erratic behavior of its new owner. That said, Mastodon is still a good idea. It is decentralized, meaning that you join a particular server (or instance as they call it). Think of it like joining a community group. You join the local chapter of a much larger organization.

In my case I joined a Canadian server mstdn.ca which seems very well run and is supported by CIRA the Canadian Internet Registration Authority. As of this writing most of the major news organizations have Mastodon accounts. Since I use Mastodon as mostly a news feed that suits me fine. If you are curious there are many good videos on YouTube to get you started.

It’s hard to tell if Mastodon will take off. I’m going to give it a try and we’ll see.

Baby Porchetta

From YouTube’s Chef John

Ingredients for 2 large or 4 smaller portions:


1 boneless pork tenderloin roast, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
about 8 strips bacon or enough to wrap
For the spice rub:
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
3 cloves sliced garlic
1 tablespoon finely sliced sage leaves
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
zest from one lemon
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil

– Roast at 450 F. about 25 minutes, or until 134 F. internal temp, which should get you a finished, rested temp of 140-145 F.

Lighthouse Inn Potatoes

Original recipe from Ashley Moore and Cook’s Country magazine, December/January 2017


Serves 8-10
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 6 tablespoons cut into 6 pieces
Salt and pepper
2½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 cups light cream, divided (may substitute heavy cream but not half-and-half, which tends to
break)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda (for stability and silkiness)
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small
bowl, combine Parmesan, panko, 4 tablespoons melted butter and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine the potato chunks, 2½ cups light cream, 1/8 teaspoon baking
soda, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
(You’ll think that this is too much salt. You’ll be tempted to use less. Don’t do it. Follow the
recipe. The sauce will be salty, but in the end the potatoes will be perfection.)
Bring this mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. The potatoes will want to stick, so stir them
frequently. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer, still stirring often, until a paring
knife slides easily into several potato chunks without the potatoes crumbling apart, 20 to 25
minutes.
You don’t want the potatoes mushy. As soon as the biggest chunks yield easily to the knife, get
them off the heat and stir in the remaining ½ cup of cream and the remaining 6 tablespoons of
unsalted butter. Keep stirring until the butter has melted, about 1 minute.
Pour the creamy potato mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. (You’ll want to butter the dish,
but you don’t have to.)
If you’re making the potatoes ahead, proceed below. If you are cooking them immediately,
sprinkle the Parmesan-panko mixture evenly over the top. Bake, uncovered, until the potatoes
are bubbling and the crumb topping is nicely browned, around 15-20 minutes. Let the potatoes
cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
To make ahead and bake later: After the potato mixture has been transferred to the baking dish,
let it cool completely, then cover the dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
When you’re ready, before applying the Parmesan-panko topping, bake the potatoes at 375
degrees, covered, until they’re heated through, about 35 minutes. Remove the dish from the
oven and apply the topping evenly. Bake again, now uncovered, for another 15-20 minutes until
the top is nicely browned.

Cheaters (Clam)Chowder

1 567 gram can Clams with juice (This is a food service size. If you can’t get it substitute with same approx. amount of retail size cans )

1 can Cream of Bacon soup 284ml

1 can Cream of Celery 284ml

2 cans Cream of Potato Soup 284 ml

1 packet Knorr Cream of Leek Dry Soup (diluted with 1/2- 3/4 cup boiling water.

1 liter of Dairy ( I prefer half and half)

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and warm until hot. For best results let cool to room temp and refrigerate as this soup is better the next day.

This makes a large batch, enough for multiple meals. Great to share with others!

Update April 2023: For an alternative recipe that is easy to make and equally as good see this YouTube video How to Make Award-Winning New England Clam Chowder – YouTube

Brown Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups flour

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix the lard/shortening, brown sugar, eggs, milk, baking soda, and salt together . Add flour and stir until combined add dates and walnuts. Chill 1/2 hour. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough on greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until light browned.

Broccoli Casserole

2 packs of frozen chopped broccoli or 2 bunches of fresh broccoli chopped, cooked and drained.

1 cup mayonaise

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup melted butter

1 can golden mushroom soup

2 eggs, well beaten

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 cup breadcrumbs mixed with 1 tbsp of poultry seasoning

Combine soup, mayonnaise, eggs, onion, and add to cooked broccoli. Pour into 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with the cheese. Combine melted butter with seasoned bread crumbs and put on top of the cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

The Quality of the Man

On September 2, 2020 we lost a very special man. Harold Chapman or “the Chairman” as I used to call him had been in declining health for some time but because of Covid many of us did not find out about his passing until recently.

When I joined the “Y” Harold made me feel welcome in a new place where he had been a member for a very long time. He had no reason to befriend me, we were separated by almost 30 years in age yet it was the quality of the man that he could speak as easily to someone years his junior as he could to his peers. That fact, and his ability to speak fluently on a multitude of subjects, continued to amaze me as the years passed. 

Harold Chapman was my friend. I didn’t know him as well as some, and perhaps better than others, but it was the quality of the man that made you feel that your relationship with him was special and unique. Harold was a true gentleman and will be missed by all, especially his “Y” family.