That’s what my dear brother asked me when my husband sent him that picture. Explanation: I attempted that morning to make toast (*see result above), but I forgot about it and left it toasting on my cast iron skillet till it was the color and texture of coal. P.S. I don’t have a toaster. That night I tried to boil some eggs for the morning, but … I forgot, and 45 minutes later my husband heard a big pop from the kitchen. The water had evaporated and the egg shells were starting to explode. Good grief.
Things go wrong for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes, you’re just overzealous. You over-whip (by hand) an earl grey whip cream, and it starts to turn into grey, nasty butter… something Anny and I accomplished by taking turns whipping for our first post, the Earl Grey chiffon cupcake.
Sometimes, you just don’t know. Anny taught me how to make spicy tuna rolls in the first few months we knew each other. When I tried to make it at home, I didn’t know I had to wrap my frozen tuna in paper towels to draw out the blood as it defrosted. My husband and I felt sick after eating a few bites, and Anny and her ex-sushi-chef-now-medstudent husband realised why. Oops.
Sometimes, you find a bad recipe from the internet. This happens a lot, like this week, when I ruined a perfectly good Caribbean avocado by combining it with mashed sweet potato. SMH. Your standards just might not be what every else’s are.
And of course, there are the times you just forgot. Forgot a step, an ingredient, or that something has been on the stove for way too long.
You would think that with 4 years at design school with a BFA to my name, I would have learned to embrace failure for what it is; motivation, a lesson, the road to something original. With my art, I know how embrace failure, and I know that I’m never going to want to stop making art.
But in the past year, I’ve realised that a meal can be so much more personal than my art. When my food doesn’t turn out the way I want, I am offended. I am offended at myself, my tools, my skill-set, my lack of knowledge, my forgetfulness, my ingredients. It’s a terrible feeling and I have cried more than once over a plate of food I’m about to eat. It makes saying grace so much more important.
But I know that I can’t give up on this, and not just for practical reasons like it’s healthier and more affordable to cook at home. I don’t make art just to look at it later or to hear people say they love it, but because I find joy and peace making it. It’s time to do the same with food. I got to start finding joy and peace in the process and not just the product, whether the product is the meal or the compliments it gets.
I’m challenging myself to never think, “I can’t make/do _________ because it’s too hard/frustrating/easy to mess up/impossible/and nobody will like it.” Why?
Because I can read. I can learn. I can try. Again. And again.
Now let’s eat.