My grandmother’s yeast rolls were absolutely to die for, although she rarely served them other than Thanksgiving and Christmas. And so far as I know my cousin Glenn and I are the only ones among her living descendents who have attempted to replicate them. Problem is there’s no written recipe except for the fact that our two mothers had somehow remembered the ingredients. The challenge, though, was with the measurements which in this case called for ten cups of flour. Now as anyone who has ever baked yeast bread knows most recipes call for only half that amount, otherwise the dough becomes so stiff it is impossible to knead, which is exactly what happened when we first tried it. Then we discovered the secret. Our grandmother, you see, didn’t use a regular eight-ounce measuring cup; instead she had this small china teacup with a broken handle that she kept in her flour bin, probably about half the size of a standard cup. Ah-ha! So once we figured out how to measure properly Glenn and I were able to replicate our grandmother’s delicious yeast rolls with pretty darn good results – if I do say so.
Then there’s last week’s Wall Street Journal report about French President Nicolas Sarkozy who has suggested there should be a better way of measuring prosperity, one that goes beyond mere goods and services produced, commonly known as GDP, and that it should include such factors as vacation time, health care and family relationships. “From now on,” the Journal reports Sarkozy as saying, “France will consider well-being in addition to the classic measure of gross domestic product.” I mention this not in any way as an endorsement of the French president or his political views, whatever they may be. But the question he raises is a valid one: Does the current measurement system align with the results the country is trying to attain? If not, doesn’t it seem wise to consider other possible ways of measuring?
The same WSJ article quotes Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz who states, “What we measure affects what we do. If we have the wrong measures, we will strive for the wrong things.” So how we measure things may indeed be a valid consideration for all of us – whether measuring the level of prosperity for a nation, flour for yeast rolls, or the well-being of our own lives and that of our families. It begs the question; do our personal measurement systems align with the results we are striving to attain? Think about it.