“If you want laws and sausage, you should never watch how they are made,” says Stanley Feder ‘66. Ignoring Otto von Bismarck’s famous advice, Feder has gone from forecasting political developments for the CIA to running his own gourmet sausage business, Simply Sausage.
Feder got an SB in political science at MIT and then earned a PhD at Brandeis University. As an undergraduate at MIT, he dealt with the pressure by cooking. “Now that the statute of limitations has run out, I admit I cooked on a hot plate in my room,” he says. He kept cooking while he and his wife, Judith, now a Democratic congressional candidate in Virginia, were raising their two sons. “I did all the cooking in the family,” he says. “Even after a hard day at the CIA, I’d cook for an hour or two–it was a great creative outlet.”
At the CIA, where he was hired two years after getting his PhD, Feder pioneered new methods of forecasting political developments. “What I learned in first-semester physics was to identify all the forces operating on a body as it moves through space. I applied that concept in politics, too,” he says. Though his colleagues were accustomed to more intuitive and less methodical thinking, Feder’s approach served him well through some of the greatest political events of the late 20th century. During the early 1990s, he led dozens of studies on the prospects for change in the newly independent states of the former Soviet empire. In the mid-1990s, he gathered leaders in diverse fields for a series of analytic working groups that studied the likely shape of global relations in the post-Cold War era.
After leaving the CIA in 1998, Feder started a consulting business, but it didn’t satisfy his desire to work with food. So in 2005, he incorporated Simply Sausage, which operates in the Washington, DC, area. Now he forecasts sales of such products as a North African lamb and beef sausage seasoned with paprika, fresh shallots, sea salt, and fresh cilantro.