We have all heard the cliché phrase “There is method to his madness.” But, have we ever stopped to consider that in so saying, there is likewise “madness in his manner?”
Methodology is the “how to” of accomplishing any task. It is procedural and often summarized by technique, system, and routine. Manner, a close but often misunderstood synonym, is the attitude in action behind the behavior or process. However, we often fail to realize that when we act in method, we likewise act with manner. Furthermore, we may not realize that the variable nature of our manner alters the results of our method.
This concept is especially true in the kitchen. The modus operandi used in the production of culinary craft is critical. Methods of preparation, of measurement, of temperature, of technique, and of MANNER must be followed with exactness to produce a product with uniform results.
Making a souffle requires that the aggression of stiffly beaten egg whites must be folded with gentleness into the base, allowing a minimal release of air from the whites. On the other hand, if we reverse the manner behind that method, our gentle beating of the whites will yield foamy soft peaks and the very aggression of our folding, quickly altered to stirring, will certainly produce the deflated outcome of a souffle failing to rise to the potential of its fullest height.
And, so it is with us.
I remember my mother’s advice to me as a young child: “Remember your manners.” That’s just it. I fear as a people we have forgotten our manners. We have focused so much on our ever-changing methods, the latest and greatest technology of our techniques, that we have failed to remember that our manner are inseparably connected with our method.
Have we allowed our obsession with producing plans and policies (method) to overtake our performance and approach (manner), altering our behavior from strategies of consideration to careless stratagem? As we plan, produce, and interact, may we likewise plan and produce attitudes and actions that are congruent with our constructions—especially in the construction, not deconstruction, of our fellow man.
May we always remember that manner assuredly affects method, considering that the two must work in harmony for a more beautiful life.
R. Shannon Mock
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