Sunday, October 27, 2013

Failures & Moving On

There was once a time in my life when I viewed failure as something negative, downright appalling. For me, failure was the epitome of being unsuccessful, off your game, wasting resources and precious time. It took me until just the past year of my life to fully realize that without failure, we have no yardstick by which to measure our success. Failure is a part of life, a well-needed one, and we are better because of it (or at least I feel I am). The world of baking is no exception to the basic laws of failure, and even a well-versed amateur chef like myself faces mishaps and defeats time and again.
For those of you who are outside my small world it was my birthday last week, which usually means ample celebrating occurs, along with plenty of baking opportunities. I take birthdays and celebrating very seriously (only until the fun-having starts), and typically engage in a week-long festive celebration involving as many of my friends and family as possible. For some reason this year was different. My desire to celebrate was near non-existent and the usual urge to bake completely missing. That might partly explain why these cupcakes (which turned out more like muffins) failed me. My heart just wasn't in it. Hideous little things, aren't they? Happy birthday to, or maybe not.
I've learned over the years that if a recipe isn't working out, one of a few things may be in play: the original recipe sucks and requires some tweaking; my ingredients aren't the freshest possible and I should hit the store, then try again; or other areas of my life are so intense at this point in time that everything I do (including baking) is being impacted, therefore I need to stop avoiding my troubles and deal with them head on. I bet you can guess which of these was likely the truest of my birthday week baking mishap adventure... three cheers for being a grown up! Wait, maybe only one and a half cheers.
Now, you may have noticed this post is full of inspirational (if not slightly annoying) quotes in place of an actual recipe. This is in hopes that you, and I, find a shiny, happy, glimmer of keep your ass moving and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Take a lesson from me, be proud of those failures. Much like our scars and and personal histories, they shape how we interact in this world and how we treat others. A person who hasn't experienced a heartfelt failure is someone who has my sympathy, for I fear that person isn't fully grasping all that life has to offer us. I imagine it is similar to viewing the world in only one color.
I promise you a few things: there are other cupcake recipes to try, fresher ingredients to track down, and many more successes and failures to come in the future. None of us are above failing, and hell I don't think I would want to go an entire lifetime without a single failure. Yes, I may need a reminder now and then of why failing isn't a bad thing...but that is why I have you wonderful folk (you keep me honest).
So on that note...bake on, lovelies! There world awaits your culinary prowess and positiveness. Toss those sad little cupcakes out, shake it off, and try again another day. The only failure here is not trying again.

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