If at first you don't succeed...
A skill I mastered a few years back was the art of baking. It might sound silly but my baking journey surprisingly gave me a lot to learn from. I wanted to be more responsible in the kitchen. I felt like preparing edible food for my family and others was a step into becoming an adult. I felt like it was my duty as a growing adult and possible future wife and mother to be a confident cook in the kitchen. Not that I couldn’t cook, I could prepare very simple meals. But I had heard people talk about how hard it is to cook. I questioned the daunting rumor I had heard. Was all cooking going to be a difficult challenge? I needed answers as well as confidence. I decided to just start by focusing on one branch of cooking; baking. I prepared myself for hours of tiresome stirring and reading confusing recipes online or in cook books. It was going to be hard, but my dream of a victory full of perfectly formed cakes, breads and muffins fueled me on.
At least once a week I would bake something from scratch: Challah bread, corn bread, and zucchini bread, cream puffs, pumpkin muffins, ginger cookies, carrot cake, chocolate cake, and red velvet cake. Not every time was a success. I once misread 1 and ½ cup of yogurt in an Irish soda bread recipe for 11 cups! The bread cooked for hours, but still came out gooey on the inside. But by my trials and errors I had become pretty good. Because of my one question of “can I do it?”, many questions branched off concerning the art of baking. Like “why does it bake at this temperature? What makes this dough softer? Where did this style come from?” I learned the world of baked goods was much wider than I had ever thought!
But I still felt like I could learn more. I needed a tougher challenge. I searched for one of the hardest baked goods to make. I found my perfect opponent in an Angel food cake recipe. The process was long and delicate. But the result was a lovely cake. However, it didn’t blow me away. I wanted to experience being blown away by food. Now that I had practice making one, I made a second. It was phenomenal! Light and soft in your mouth. The flavor was sweet and silky. My confidence swelled. I could bake anything. Maybe not at the first try but with more experience through my trials and errors I couldn't fail. A point of mastery is eventually reached; however, you are always learning more. A master never stops being a student.