Friday, July 23, 2010

The cart and the horse.

A few years ago, I began trying very hard to make something that people might buy, and in turn, make us rich beyond our wildest dreams. I make these really great croutons. Every time I make them, I take them out of the oven to cool, and they never make it to the salad because everyone eats them out of the bowl. David loves them, the girls adore them, and I too, just think they are the tastiest, saltiest, crunchiest, little bits of love ever. I thought that the crouton market might be our path to fame and fortune. I began buying loaves of bread, and fresh, and dried herbs, and different oils, and feverishly began making croutons. I made loads of them. I even tried a "cinnamon toast" blend. I wanted to have all of my bases covered. I also designed the packaging, and came up with THE greatest name. The packaging alone would have made you want to buy them. I ate so many croutons that season, as did my family. I passed them out to friends and family, and was given rave reviews by everyone. Friends even requested more. I knew that they would sell. I envisioned myself seated in large conference rooms, with people from Frito Lay, and Keebler, and maybe even some foreign competitors, wanting to buy this wonderful idea from me. I would be given creative control, and still have my name attached to the product, and the purchase price for this wonderful golden nugget of a crouton would keep myself and my family, and generations to come, working for the man, no more!
Alas, to make a food product, let alone sell it...costs, shockingly, a ton of money. There are so many considerations. You must have the ingredients just so, and listed, and disected by a lab, for nutritional information. You have to produce your product in a kitchen that is for commercial use. So my little kitchen that I think is clean, but probably would not pass a health inspection, was just not up to snuff. 95% of all new food products fail within the first year, so that alone would really narrow down my success. I have not seen any figures as to how much money Americans spend on croutons a year. I am sure it is a lot. And I did have plans to transform the entire crouton genre, from that of a salad topper, to more of a snack, to be enjoyed with a nice aoli, or a fresh pesto for dipping, yet the cost of production took down my crouton empire before I even left the starting line. Cursed!
I did this with orange marmalade last summer. I made a vat of it. I saw a recipe, and realized, I had all of the ingredients for it. I made a big, bubbling pot of it. I purchased jars, and made labels. I even came up with the best name, EVER! (What's the story, morning glory? cute is that!!!!) I read about canning, and almost purchased a canning machine. (Thank god I did not.) I filled my refrigerator with jars of the stuff. I gave some to friends. I then realized that I cannot stand jams, or jellies, or marmalades. I never liked them. My kids had no interest even tasting it, and when I helped my girlfriend empty her refrigerator this past winter, as she was packing her home up to move out of the country, there, in the back of the fridge, was the marmalade. Unopened. Untouched. Unloved. Again, I am not sure of the amount of money that American's spend on marmalade, and marmalade products, and I quickly remembered my crouton problem, ie; cash flow, so just as soon as I had printed my lovely labels, they too were shelved. The marmalade still sits in my refrigerator. Unopened. Unloved.
There have been countless other attempts to strike it rich for my family. I have invented an amazing improvement for the shopping cart. This small change to the cart would revolutionize it, and change the way we shop, yet how do I approach these big fancy shopping cart companies? Why would they listen to me? I made pickles a few weeks ago. Once again, I put the proverbial cart before the horse, and made labels, and became CEO of my very own pickle company, headquatered right here in my kitchen. I watched those pickles change color. They seemed to soften, and the dill I packed in them looked like it was doing it's job. The garlic, however, started to turn a strange blue color, from the vinegar. When myself and the girls did our first quality control test, we all coughed, and Olivia actually teared up and choked. They were a bit too...powerful. Back to the drawing board. The pickle company will sadly have to be shelved. For now.
I write. I am not so good. I  enjoy it. I batter the English language. I do not spell correctly. I read other writers, and fall in love with their use of words, and wish I too, could do the same. I attempt, yet it is an outlet for me, and a way to vent. I also write creatively sometimes. I wrote a children's book. I think it is good, but I thought my marmalade was good too, so take that for what it is. I have sent my story out to publishing companies, hoping and praying, that not only might someone out there think it would be a great book, but that it would help my family, and get us out of this mess of being broke that we cannot get out from under.
I got a response from one the other day. I opened the letter, and it read like this.
Dear Author,
Thank you for sending us your work. Though we must decline the oppurtunity to publish it, we wish you every success with the project.   Sincerely, The Editors.
Maybe I put the cart before the horse more often than I should. Maybe I am fooling myself. Maybe, I keep thinking that my ship will come in one day, and it will be a glorious vessel, carrying my family away to a far better shore. Maybe, that day will never come. Maybe. That would make me sad if that is how it will all pan out. I will still be in the same situation if I don't try, though. Hope gives me hope.
The funny thing is that after reading my rejection letter from the publishing company, I was not sad. I was not disappointed. I was thrilled. They called me an author. They wrote the letter to Dear Author.
Maybe, I will be.

No comments:

Post a Comment