Sunday, September 2, 2007

On Baking a Cake: A Generic Wish

'You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.' - John Lydgate, Poet
'The purpose of government is two-fold: happiness of the people; and determining the means by which that happiness can be achieved.' (or words to that effect) - James Madison
Act utilitarianism states that, when faced with a choice, we must first consider the likely consequences of potential actions, and from that, choose to do what we believe will generate the most happiness. -Wikipedia -on 'Utilitarianism'
"Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure." - Jeremy Bentham
'The greatest good for the greatest number' applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations.' - Theodore Roosevelt
A 2004 Guest Editorial - with general applicability:

The most common reason for baking a cake is to celebrate and enjoy a special occasion.
Two essentials are having a well-motivated cook and a good recipe with these generic steps:

• careful selection and assembly of essential ingredients in correct proportions, also to insure maximum safe edibility of the cake by identifying and eliminating potential sources of poor taste, indigestion or allergic reaction.

• preparation and mixing of ingredients using the proper implements, in the proper sequence.

• baking individual layers in appropriate, non-stick pans of right size and shape.

• properly using a pre-heated oven of right size, type and temperature, for the correct amount of time.

• knowing baking parameters in advance, but checking the cake recipe periodically to make sure it is done as close to perfectly as possible.

• removing the cake from the oven at the correct time and allowing it to cool and set.

• optionally, preparing attractive, edible filling, icing and toppings, again taking care to select and prepare proper ingredients, then evenly applying it to the cake to make it look scrumptious.

Careful cooks will select a recipe that appeals to the widest possible range of appetites and diets, always avoiding those ingredients that might be tainted, potentially poisonous, or simply don't taste good.
If the cake is purchased in a store or bakery, the same care must be taken in its selection to the extent possible.
Here, laws relating to truth in advertising, labeling of ingredients and nutrients, unit pricing and shelf life all help to determine if the cake is reasonably priced and fit to eat for the maximum expected number of people.

Before the cake is ready RSVP party invitations are made for enough people to come and share the treat, with sufficient cake for everyone and without too much leftover.

During the party, everyone is served before seconds are allowed. Having seconds is a sure sign the cake tastes very good, and this encourages the cooks, to bake another cake and have another celebration.

In all of this, it should be obvious that the goal is not the cake itself. The cake is only a delectable symbol in an event that is being held to celebrate achieving some goal that makes people happy. The party brings people together to share this joy and develop appetites for furthering their common goals. In other words, planning another party – with another cake!

Such parties are usually memorable events because we all have a ‘sweet tooth’ for enjoying notable achievements, or making a commitment to yet another worthwhile goal.
And, such parties tend to naturally sustain themselves by stimulating the ideas, goodwill and hard work necessary to continue such achievement habits.

Our elected ‘cooks’, are responsible for using the same care in developing and administering every policy, ordinance, program and budget, that it takes to bake a delicious cake.
To insure consistently good results requires discipline, and a process of continuous improvement to educate new ‘cooks’ and to refresh the memories of older ‘cooks’.
If the goal is to insure the nourishment and delight of our community, then the ‘cooks’ must be scrupulously accountable for finding and carefully following only the best governance recipes available.

As Bellingham’s Centennial year approaches, this presents a special opportunity to celebrate the good fortune with which our community has been blessed.
It also presents an opportunity to further improve our city for the next century, and to continue creating the legacy that we wish our children and future residents to inherit.

Part of our Centennial celebration could include baking a community cake with 100 candles, to symbolize those features of our city that are deemed most desirable by citizens.
It shouldn’t be hard to come up with a long list. For starters, how about our natural surroundings, climate, clean air, good water supply, an accessible waterfront, a revitalized downtown, a wonderful system of parks and trails, good schools, a fine public safety program, well-planned development, fiscally sound local government, excellent medical facilities, and an actively involved citizenry.

Happy New Century Bellingham!