B.I.T.E.: Mistakes

Yesterday was Twelfth Night and so, for that reason and because it was Work At Home Wednesday (which I’m considering changing to Friday), I made a Galette des Rois.  And, as you can see, it exploded in the oven.

Turns out my oven thermometer’s busted so although it read 300 degrees, it was probably closer to 500 degrees.  I’m not sure about the physics of what happened but in any case, it burst at the seams and out oozed all the filling.  Disaster!

Amanda Hesser, the popular food writer for The New York Times, confesses that when she makes toast, she often burns it.  This is a woman who’s one of the foremost food authorities and who’s editing the venerable The New York Times Cookbook.  And she burns toast.  Mistakes happen all the time in baking.  Maybe you lost count when you were scooping up teaspoons, maybe it’s too humid, maybe that bottle of vanilla doesn’t have anything in it after all or you were having an intense conversation with a friend and you ignored the timer for the brownies and now they’re overdone.  Here’s the thing about baking though, even if you make a mistake, like overcook your brownies so they’re dry and cakey, you can throw them into a bowl, add some chocolate custard and some raspberry jam and some raspberry liquer and voila! Trifle.  And then you try a few bites and it’s so good that it’s hard not to eat the whole thing and, somehow, much more addictive than the brownies you were planning on.

What about mistakes in life? I know I make them way more often than I make them in baking.  So I wonder what to do to turn them around into something good, even better. I’ve been wondering about this a lot lately, especially since this time of year brings up so many opportunites to reconnect with old friends.  Can we mend the disaster we made of our time together and weave it into something better?  You go think about that; I’ll go finish my trifle.

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