These past few months have been interesting, to say the least. While EMJ Construction was deemed an essential business, and our field teams continued to work on projects, in mid-March the office-based teams started working from home.
While the work transition was seamless, thanks to Microsoft Teams meetings, it took some time to adjust to not seeing teammates in the office. To help feel better connected, the Dallas Preconstruction team had daily touch point meetings with a special theme every Wednesday.
The first Wednesday each member of the team wore a hat and explained its meaning. That’s when Drew Halsey, Vice President of Preconstruction, had an idea – a cookbook. “I was looking for something different to talk about. We wanted something to get people involved and interacting in a personal way,” said Halsey. “We’re all spending time at home and I thought it’d be great to see what everyone is cooking during the quarantine.”
That led to a call for entries sent to Martin Briggs, Assistant Preconstruction Manager, who assembled “Cooking in the Time of Crisis,” EMJ’s own version of a “Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book.” Some of the recipes are serious and others tongue-in-cheek with little golden nuggets of humor sprinkled throughout. Here are some highlights:
321 Rib Method, submitted by Drew Halsey
I firmly believe that you should cook food the way you like it, and ribs are no different! You like your ribs saucy? Put some extra sauce on them (I like using my Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce)! You like your ribs falling off the bone? Follow this 3 2 1 Rib Method. These are your ribs after all. Don’t you let the man get you down. Just don’t.
A Starkes Family Lunch, submitted by Keith Starkes
1. Middle child yells at you during conference call because “they are starving.”
2. Commence with making lunch.
3. Assemble ingredients. Oldest child: make ham sandwich with ham, cheese, ranch, pickles.
4. Yell at kids to get out of pantry: “Can’t you see that I am making you lunch?”
5. Resume step 3.
Quick 1 Minute Oats, submitted by Suzanna Trent
1. Boil water or milk and salt.
2. Stir in oats.
3. Cook about 1 minute over medium heat; stir occasionally.
World Famous Homemade Buttermilk Ranch, submitted by Chris Ross
What You Need:
½ cup whole fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing BUTTERMILK mix
Can always add more if needed
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Paprika (to taste)
1/8 cup of celery salt
1. Mix All together. Eat with anything because ranch goes with everything.
While the cookbook will not be featured on any of your favorite cooking shows, and we can’t vouch for any of the recipes, it did accomplish its mission – to bring levity and camaraderie to a heavy and potentially isolating situation.
“I have been so proud of my team and how they’ve responded to this unbelievably challenging time,” said Keith Starkes, Vice President of Preconstruction, Dallas. “They didn’t miss a beat. This is just one of many examples of resiliency and determination to remain human, and in contact, while we transition to a digital work environment.”
The cookbook is not available on Amazon or at your favorite bookstore, but you can download here.