Tag Archives: experience

A cake flop and kale fail tale…

11 Jan

Failure. It is a scary word with negative implications. Failure can be defined as: “An event that does not accomplish its intended purpose”. Well now that does not seem too awful, does it? Progress can certainly be made even when not accomplishing an intended purpose. Sometimes a new purpose can emerge. The word failure is more daunting than its definition.

I have failed. Many times. We all have. But failing does not make you a failure. If you haven’t failed, you haven’t taken any risks. So take risks, because if you are taking risks, you are succeeding. Failure appears  in big ways and small ways in life. Get over it, move on, and try again, and again, and again to succeed.

I recently tried roasting some kale. My technique just didn’t work. My son said I had a “kale fail”.  And he was right. My family will continue to enjoy kale…but I will prepare it in other ways.  Then there was the time I became a bit impatient, and tried to frost a cake with frosting that was too thin, and tried to put it on a cake that was still too warm.  Typically, for most frostings or icings, it’s just not a good idea to put it on a warm or hot cake. It melts off.  And I proved that right with my impatience.  Trust me…I know what I am talking about.

If a recipe flops, it should only happen once. The next time I try that recipe, or another recipe, the lessons I learned by having that recipe flop will help me succeed the next time. So how is that a failure? Learning something is always a success. The experience of making a recipe well as well as having one go wrong both make me a better cook and increase my understanding of the culinary arts. Either way victory is mine!

Failure, whether real or perceived, can produce many reactions. Fear, doubt, and depression to name a few. We need to shake free of that, because failing can lead to success. In other words, failure can, and should, drive us toward feeling empowerment, a step forward. It may not be immediate though. Sometimes success takes time to grow out of a mistake or failure. So failure can also produce the opportunity to learn patience. Wow! Fantastic things can come from “failure”! So lets not fear it. Take it for what it is. It is an opportunity. Success. Confidence. So go take the risk! You can’t fail!

The little cake that flopped! hahahahahaha

This cake wass a flop. It is ugly, but it tasted good. But since I strive for beautiful food, it was a flop.

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Kitchen Confidence

13 Feb

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child

I have been cooking for years.  I enjoy cooking, food, and the fellowship that meals together provide.  My meals are typically nutritious, flavorful and have a bit of a flair in its appearance on the table.  I am usually into presentation…it is my artistic side expressing itself. I put thought into food, meals, and the ambiance of the event.  As I have said in previous blogs, sometimes I get too tired to really pull out all the stops when I cook.  But for me, cooking is usually a pleasure.

I have friends that find “Whats for dinner” a dreaded comment when directed their way.  I can’t relate to that because I enjoy cooking.  I can always pull a quick meal together, or an elaborate one given the time.  I realize, however, that I have lots of experience.  And made lots of mistakes.  In fact, I still make mistakes, but now I can usually quickly evaluate and fix them.

As the Julia Child quote says, I spent a lot of time with that what-the-hell attitude when learning to cook.  I dug in, started cooking in earnest in college, and went from there.  Cooking is like math though.  You begin with a foundation, a very basic one, and then go to the next level when ready.  You can’t do division without understanding addition, subtraction and even multiplication.  And with cooking, you can’t bang out a complicated sauce or a fantastic roast without a foundation on which to build.

My youngest son gets easily frustrated sometimes.  When that happens, many times it is because he wants to be good at something and tries to master it right away.  When he first started playing chess, he would sometimes quit in the middle of a match when he saw that he could not win.  I would tell him that you can’t expect to win Wimbledon the first time you pick up a tennis racquet.  When he finally won against a well respected opponent, he was thrilled.  He still talks about that match because the success was hard won.  He earned it.  Working toward something develops, amongst other things, a good work ethic.

Working toward getting better at a skill, which cooking is, takes time, experience, and patience.  It isn’t a “home art” taught in school like it once was.  Now we kind of have to take the initiative and teach ourselves to cook.  And like anything, when you apply a solid work ethic to it, great things begin to happen.  Great things like confidence.  Fun.  Enjoyment.  Satisfaction.

Confidence is not something you “get” or something someone can give to you.  It is something earned.  And the only way to earn it is to be put or to put your self in situations to take a risk and experience small successes.   Once the foundation is there, confidence is instilled, and growth occurs.  Blocks on which to build.

Start cooking.  But don’t take yourself seriously.  Start with a simple recipe and a few inexpensive ingredients.  Make it easy on yourself.  Soup is easy.  Baked proteins with rubs or marinades are easy, like pork tenderloin or chicken.  Roasted veggies are a snap.  Salad dressing is simple.  Don’t be afraid of ruining a recipe, wasting ingredients, or disappointing yourself or others.  Get positive energy from taking a risk…and gaining confidence.  Take Julia Childs “what-the-hell” attitude with you and have a blast!