How to Mary Tyler Moore your Internship

Each week I have a questionnaire to fill out for my internship that becomes part of my grade. The questions are sometimes deep thinkers: Describe your biggest challenge to date. Other times they're remedial: List your duties and responsibilities for this week. At the bottom of each questionnaire are motivational suggestions. This week's read "Although routine tasks are less challenging, remember that you are making an important contribution. The little things DO get noticed!"

It couldn't have been more fitting because today I "took a nothing day and suddenly made it all seem worthwhile" via a series of routine tasks. It was dreadfully quiet and slow in the kitchen, due to the long holiday weekend that spilled into today. On slow days, when recipes are on hold, or not ready to be prepared, we have a "task sheet" to which we refer for "stuff to do." As you might imagine, the list is compiled of cleaning and organizing duties - not very exciting or glamorous, but they do make a big difference.

So today, I organized all of the spices and herbs, cleaned out the flour bin, added new flour, and then did my usual lead intern inventory for the day. I also had time to attend an editorial meeting (yes, CPK and TV talent were there, too), and later met with some of the editorial staff members for informational interviews.

At the end of the day, I stopped into the pantry to drop off a box of salt and caught a glimpse of the spice shelves — they looked pretty darned good. As I was leaving, one of the test cooks shouted, "Hey, thanks for taking care of the flour bin today, that was great!"

I didn't think anyone had noticed. It was a very Mary Tyler Moore moment — if I had a hat, I would have thrown it in the air while waiting for the subway.