10 Things Learned in 10 Cooks // Part Two

Last week I talked about some of the basic things I learned during my first 10 cooks (including the definition of “cook”)

This week I dive deeper, maybe (maybe) getting more philosophical…

Lessons Five through One

5/  Facebook is a fickle master
For the first two or three cooks I was able to announce the availability of sandwiches on Facebook Marketplace and a few different Durango-area FB groups. Starting around week three or four, my attempts at posting were reviewed then denied and/or restricted. With a lot of finagling on my end – making unique posts for each FB group, deleting all my old posts, renaming photos before I uploaded them, and more fun like that) I could sporadically get a post to stick. 
I would also PM every person who previously ordered a sandwich or expressed interest in some way. That was time-consuming but worked fine until a few weeks ago; FB Messenger has changed in ways that I don’t fully grasp and not all my threads with folks were intact or in one place.
I’ve known for awhile that Facebook is a tool that I’ve been utilizing for free (well, free if we ignore the not-minor fact that we’re all the content creators i.e. we’re Facebook’s product…but that’s a different discussion). Facebook doesn’t owe me anything.
So from now and until we have a regular schedule, we’ll be shifting over to letting people know via email when we’re serving. If you want to receive those emails you can send us your email address using this form right here:
4/  We don't know where Rang Tang will end up

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in a few years of entrepreneurial projects it’s that the most important thing is to start as soon as possible with as little unnecessary investment as possible and go from there. 

In this case that looks like this: Cook, serve, learn, iterate, repeat. 

While we have ideas for how we’d like Rang Tang to serve the Durango community in the next few years, we know that we don’t know what we don’t know.

We could start out wanting Rang Tang to serve the best barbecue in the Four Corners and end up having a massive packaged coleslaw business.
If you want to get God (higher power, great spirit…) to laugh, tell it your plans.
But as long as we’re operating from a place of integrity and having fun along the way, it doesn’t really matter where we end up.
3/ People are grateful for and will seek out food prepared with care
If you’re reading this and don’t know anything about Durango, it may interest or surprise you to know that there already is an existing barbecue restaurant with two locations. 
I’ve been twice – once when I just. needed. brisket. now. And once after I had been “in business” for a few weeks. The food and service are good.
But for some reason people – rather than ordering online, walking in and picking up their waiting orders – will reserve a sandwich via FB messenger, drive to a not-quite-central location, and wait in my driveway while I’m finishing up their order. They’re grateful for the food and, I think, the experience.
Walking out of my apartment and handing folks a bag with quality, good-for-you food that I made over the course of 48 hours….
It’s such a rush! and I’m incredibly grateful for people’s support. It helps keep me excited to become more involved in this Durango community and to provide them with the food we all deserve.

Which leads us to…

When I started this endeavor, I knew that I wouldn’t compromise on the quality of the food I was going to serve. There’s nothing in my pork sandwich that I wouldn’t personally eat on a regular basis. 

But…I’m as much a product of my (suburban 1970s/80s) upbringing as anyone else; when I see the price difference between organic and conventional vegetables, it still hurts a little to pay more for the organic. And it hurts even more to pay even more at the farmers’ market – even though I’m often handing money directly to the person who grew my food. 

I’m well aware that whatever price the farmer is asking is fair. Or it’s unfair, because it’s definitely not enough!

But when I shop in the supermarket and see government-subsidized industrial-farmed prices for produce and meat that are not (as) healthy to eat as food grown without fertilizers or pesticides.

Organic, non-GMO (ideally small-farmed) food is what I put in my body, so that’s what people who choose to buy my pork sandwiches get to put in their bodies.

But until a few months ago it didn’t occur to me that if everyone chose to eat this way the prices for quality food would drop for everyone.


By supporting this way of nourishing ourselves, not only are we healthier — we help change the food system for everyone. 


1/ Food connects people with the present moment.
Okay, so I already knew this when I started Rang Tang. Twenty years ago I was called to enter the restaurant industry. 

Funny, until writing it just now, I didn’t realize how much of a calling it was, but it really was. I was enjoying a great career in film production in New York City. I made solid money and worked for good people on intellectually engaging projects.

The work was, as I said, engaging in the moment, but it ultimately wasn’t satisfying because the final products were nothing to be proud of. Think aspirin commercials, or videos for an oil company.

But on nights and weekends I was having these incredible experiences…in restaurants. Sitting at bars alone or at a table with friends being served food that made me shake my head in disbelief at how good it was.

I had to be a part of that. 

So at 29 I quit my six-figure job and started working in a restaurant as a food runner (a flat $80/shift). That was the calling.

And still, almost two decades later, that’s what it’s all about for me. That’s why I’ll deal with the vagaries of Facebook and split wood and sit on the ground watching a fire and chop up pork with a mask on in my own apartment.

We live in an era when we are less present than at any other time in the existence of life on earth.

What Andy and I want to share with the extended Durango community is that moment when the food and the company is all there is.

Won’t you join us?


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