business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

It's an oldie but a goodie:

The single best thing to put into a pie isn’t apple, cherry or pecans.

It’s your teeth.

But there may be an even more important ingredient in any pie and it’s a reason why especially in the holiday season people connect food with memories and family more than any time of the year. That ingredient is love.

Let me explain why I am feeling philosophical.  A few months back my mother-in-law passed away just a few months after her 100th birthday.  She lived a wonderful life with a legacy of family and a huge serving of memories, many centered on her pies. So much so that at her memorial service her children (my wife and three siblings) distributed her piecrust recipe to the attendees.

With that memory still very fresh, it was hardly surprising that my wife shed a few tears this week while making her mother’s traditional Thanksgiving dessert, cherry pie. While baking she reached out to her siblings to discuss her feelings and they too chimed in on their baking and planned baking and shared stories about their mom.

The food industry is in many ways a miracle of logistics, efficiency, customer service and more. But more importantly, it provides the basic needs of life; the food that sustains one and all. All year long we talk about the industry as a business with profits, loss, mergers, technology and labor. But what this industry sells is in so many ways so very different.

Through the pandemic the industry’s place in America’s homes was suddenly cast in a new light as scarcity and worry suddenly thrust food stores and supply chains into everyone’s list of priorities and concerns. With restaurants largely shuttered, people returned to home cooking and baking in ways not seen in decades and with passion and importance that no marketing program could ever have built.

And the industry now has to find ways to use that spotlight to keep those customer dollars flowing.

But we also have to remember that food is more than fuel for the body. It also is the foundation of endless family meals and memories and in countless ways the traditions people hold near and dear family by family.

So the secret ingredient in my wife’s wonderful cherry pie this year had nothing to do with the cherries, flour, sugar or butter.  The most important ingredient is one she can’t buy in any store.  It is the memories of how her mother taught her to make a flaky pie crust or properly measure shortening using displacement theory or every how to ensure that every last bite will always contain at least one cherry. 

Every aisle of the store is filled with products that in turn are used somewhere to create their own memories around kitchen tables, family meals or even office cubicles that feed people’s memories and souls. That’s a recipe for business connection and success that no one should ever forget.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at

His book, “THE BIG PICTURE:  Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available here.

And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon here.