The Perfect Slice 


Why is practice important to mastering a skill? What is pride? And how does it show up at work? In this lesson, you will listen to a short story from StoryCorps and answer a few questions that hone in on the topics of taking pride in one's work and the importance of practice. You will then practice the technique of slicing onions and prepare a recipe for quick pickled onions.

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  • Computer or phone with internet access to listen to the podcast
  • Notepad, Paper and pencil
  • Lox:  Salmon that has cured in a salt-sugar rub or brine
  • Pickling: The process of preserving or extending the shelf life of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar.

First, listen to Joshua Gubitz and Len Berk on StoryCorps. Click the following link or type


Write the answers to questions on your notepad or paper. You may relisten to the podcast or re-read the transcript as often as you need to help you answer the questions. 

  • Why is practice important to mastering a skill? When Len says “I’m still trying for the perfect slice,” how does he mean that? Is he still practicing after 20 years?
  • Two aspects of taking pride in work are identifying with the job and finding joy in the work. How does Len find joy in his job? What does Len say that shows he identifies with his work?
Watch the following short video “Onion Slicing Demonstration”. Pay attention to the way the onion is cut.

    Now you’re going to have an opportunity to learn and practice slicing. Try to copy the techinque presented in the demonstration. As you slice your onion think about Len and how he always tried to achieve the perfect slice! 

    • A cutting board
    • A knife
    • 1 red or yellow onion

    How did it go? Is there anything you would do differently next time? Did you get better as you practiced?


    Pickled onions are a delicious, convenient, and easy to make topping for tacos, eggs, burgers, and sandwiches. Use your sliced onions to make quick pickled onions using the following recipe. 

    • ½ cup of white vinegar
    • ½ tsp of salt
    • Jar or container with lid

    Combine the slices from one onion with ½ cup vinegar or citrus juice and ½ teaspoon salt. Put the mixture in a container with a lid and refrigerate for 30 minutes. The onions will last in the fridge for up to 10 days.