Positive Reinforcement in the Kitchen

I’m a laughable cook, but a pretty proficient baker. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have sizable lapses in my knowledge. This morning, I engaged in a Twitter conversation with MJ, a representative at King Arthur Flour. Here was my takeaway:

Not only did MJ provide fabulous customer service, our conversation also mirrors what I hope a writing / math / literacy conference looks like in my class.

Walk with me through our exchange. I’ve bolded critical moments that we both took as student and as teacher.

First, I took a risk. I started with a vanilla scone mix and made the choice to cut up some fresh raspberries. I also ran out of regular milk, so I used almond milk instead. Struck with a lack of confidence, I Tweeted:

Often my Twitter appeals are made to the ether, but I received this:

It was a timely response from MJ, which offers a suggestion with “as long as the dough is not too wet,” as well as encouragement, “nice and tender and light.” Both comments are immediately practical and specific.

I recognized my error, but I persevered and shared my results:

And bam:

There’s the positive reinforcement. MJ recognized my effort with a specific compliment, “I love the pink color,” and she also nudged me further and gave me next steps with “just a little cream on the side.”

Then, she gave me this Lucy-Calkins-esque “off you go” statement:

Finally, as I was typing this post up, surprised that just three tweets could have such a huge impact on my baking experience, I realized the last key to this effective conference was that MJ kept it brief.

Here are my scones!

Where do you find conferring moments in your extracurricular activities?

2 thoughts on “Positive Reinforcement in the Kitchen”

  1. WOW! Yummy looking! I bet they turned out tastey! I was impressed the way you showed us how your twitter conversation could be interpreted as a teaching/learning experience. Also, I think, maybe all of us need to take a class in “customer service” just so that we can relate to each other in a kind, humane way. Love you.

  2. I will have to share this with my 15year old daughter, who GAGGED on a nice bean and tortilla casserole and wonders why I don’t enjoy cooking more. Too funny, but also rather nice! (you, not her!)

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