Create Unlikely Allies

On Saturday I attended the Bar Mitzvah of my good friend’s son.  He was poised and eloquent as he read from the Torah and I enjoyed seeing him and other children whose height had surpassed my own in the last year.  Surprisingly our table conversation at the Kiddush wasn’t focused on the amazement of seeing how the kids had grown.  Rather the wonder and intrigue being discussed was Cindy McCain. Her recent advertisement which opposes California’s H8 turned heads and created a steady bubble of dialogue.  Because of her husband’s rejection of gay marriage, Cindy McCain was viewed as an unlikely ally for opponents of H8.

Creating unlikely allies is one way a project, idea or concept can get noticed and garner more acceptance.  People stop and take note because they’re thrown off guard by the combination of individuals or groups that are supporting the initiative. A while back when launching a Customer Satisfaction initiative, I enlisted the support of our General Counsel and the manager of our mechanics and fleet.  Was it an odd combination? Yes!  And that was absolutely a contributing factor to the project success.  Others wondered where this diverse group of leaders had found common ground and that resulted in a greater willingness to listen and ultimately, more acceptance.  Where else have we seen unlikely allies?  Cindy McCain and gay marriage?  The Publican and the Pharisee?  A utility executive and community supportive agriculture?

Hakurei turnips from Desert Roots Farm

Hakurei turnips

When our CSA delivery came on Thursday it included a myriad of greens rich in calcium and vitamin C like collardsarugula, spinach and lettuce.  There was also a bunch of shiny hakurei turnips.  Small, sweet, and dense – I love their texture and their taste. They’re nuttier than the traditional turnip varieties but still a challenge to present for a family dinner.  However if I pair them with something that others aren’t expecting, it will raise curiosity and get more attention, buzz, review and possibly eating.  Unlikely allies work in the kitchen as well.

What are you working on where enlisting an unlikely ally will contribute to greater success?


Hakurei Turnips and Greens

Serves 2 – 4
  • Hakurei turnips (1.5 cups scrubbed and quartered)
  • Greens (at least one pound – I like dinosaur kale torn from the stems)
  • 1.5 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp toasted sliced almonds
Warm a saute pan to medium heat.  Add toasted sesame oil.  Cook turnips until they are beginning to turn brown on the sides. Stir continuously about 5 minutes.  Add greens and continue sauteing for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and soy sauce. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.  This is a great side dish but an avid vegetarian can make it a meal.
Leave a comment


  1. Peter

     /  January 28, 2010

    Nice job on the blog today. Who would have thought that Cindy McCain and a turnip could be related in a story but you did it! Really enjoyed the flow of the story.

  2. GKH

     /  January 29, 2010

    Nice story. I wish I could see a picture of the turnips with the greens and almonds.

  3. Judy Theman

     /  January 29, 2010

    Great blog Tammy. I’m impressed by your wide array of knowledge in the turnip department! I could only imagine the fuss even the mention of a turnip would cause in my home. You’re doing a good thing with those boys of yours.
    I’m envious. Judy

  4. Tamu

     /  January 30, 2010

    Awesome blog!! I am a big fan of turnips!

  5. Kimball Holt

     /  January 31, 2010

    This was my favorite blog so far, but I said that about the second and third ones as well.

    I tried the first recipe you posted in “The Beginning” and it was a big hit. Since my boys love black-eyed peas and jalapenos, Hoppin’ Jack looked like it would be a hit. For some reason, I hadn’t really cooked collard greens before and was worried that Ryan might have some visual concerns. Before serving, I put a handful of familiar raw arugula on top of each bowl and sprinkled chopped fresh jalapeno…seemed odd to mix the two but I didn’t have cilantro. Everyone was intrigued and the dish got a big thumbs up.

    In the accounting/auditing world there are many instances where I’ve work with unlikely allies. I have a collection of hard hats from my trips to various power plants and have learned to adapt, adjust and communicate using terminology that both makes sense to them and helps me extract the information I need. Those trips were the most enjoyable aspects of my jobs.

    • Kimball,
      great post. I’m so glad you tried the recipe and that it worked for you! Your story of going to the field with hard hat in hand also gave me a great idea for a future blog topic. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Hello Tammy (et al),

    I read the note about McCain’s wife etc and how the Husband’s views were being interpreted as being the wife’s views (or something akin to views by association).

    How about, we give the credit to Cindy McCain for what she IS doing instead of the ‘part politics’ that she’s married to.

    We have a beautiful intercession here with turnips that would drive most rabbits, over the edge !!

    On your recipe, we use pumpkin seeds, hickory nuts, walnuts and butternuts and also make a plate of squash which lies below (or next to) the greens and turnips.

    If you don’t mind the vito-mites that are in turnips you can also do these up in a pressure cooker with cabbage, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and sausage (or soy) links.

    After eating meats and veggies from eastern Africa I tended to also put in some spice to lift the upper sections of the pallette… so to speak.

    Good graces to you all, may we meet again…

    • Thanks for stopping by although I have to admit total ignorance regarding a hickory nut or a butternut (or did you mean squash with the latter? And yes, the idea of spice is always welcome!

  7. Click to access bttrnt.pdf

    Butternut Trees grow fairly well throughout the East, Midwest and where transplanted in the other States.

    Here’s little excerpt about Hickory Nut Trees in Georgia. YES, they do love wetlands areas, but I’ve seen them in most deciduous forests with their ‘nut crop’ being dependent on weather and such.

    We used to gauge the winter weather by ‘when’ the Hickory Nut Trees lay down their leaves, nuts and then put out their buds for Spring.

    Blessings Tammy,
    Mike cH

  8. Betsy Andrews Etchart

     /  June 15, 2010

    Tammy, finally, now that my youngest is 7 months old (and sleeping at the moment), have I found the time to visit your blog! What a compelling story here (well told, of course). I am a big fan of bringing together disparate elements to create an unusual and often unusually lovely results. I thought of you this morning because I’m trying to find raw milk and local eggs for my oldest, who is now almost two, and I figured that if anyone knew of a source, it would be you. Keep up the good blog!
    Betsy Andrews Etchart

    • Betsy,
      How nice to see you here. I don’t know about raw milk (although I should) but you be able to get eggs at your local farmer’s market. I have to believe given where you live that you have a neighbor who will sell you some eggs. Watch for roadway signs and ask around. Please stop back by again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: