Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mistakes ... Learning

I learned long ago that one of the things I could practically guarantee when working on a project was an error.  I began noticing back in my cross-stitching days.  I'd work and work and work and all of a sudden, everything was out of sync. I'd work backwards, trying to find the issue and upon discovery would either choose to rip everything out, or just accept it and move on (depending on how much the error changed the image).

Then, as I began to knit, I noticed that it continued to occur in my work.  I just couldn't pull off perfect.

Last night I announced to my Twitter and Facebook friends that I had managed to put red food coloring in my chocolate chip bars.  I'd reached into a drawer, pulled out what I thought was the bottle of vanilla and about the time I was pouring the teaspoonful into the batter, I realized that something didn't look right.  It was red.

My poor brain seized up.  Too many questions began flying through in a split second.  Do I throw out the batter?  These are supposed to be a thank you gift for a young man that had changed the belt on our mower here.  Would he get it?  Where is my vanilla?  I should probably ensure that is in here as well, right?  How weird is this going to look once I put the chocolate chips in?

Within a moment I had come to the conclusion that I could just move forward, add the vanilla and chalk it up to creativity!  Which is generally what I try to do with a mistake.

There have been many times when I couldn't cover my errors with a good story.  Substituting salt for sugar will not make anything taste good.  Wow, once long ago, Carol and I had brought some friends up here to the cabin.  This would have been within a few years after mom died and Dad wasn't living close enough to spend a lot of time here.

I volunteered to make breakfast - I make a killer sausage gravy.  So, I started working away at the stove, adding spices, etc. that I found in the cupboard.  When I tasted it, I couldn't understand what in the world was wrong!  It was awful.  Then I started looking at the spices - mom had purchased them years and years previously ... oh, they were really, really bad.  A lesson I had to learn the hard way about keeping those things fresh.

As I just now pulled a loaf of sourdough bread out of the machine to rise and place in the oven, I think about the terrible loaves I made a couple of weeks ago as I tried to understand how this entire process worked.  The mistakes tasted fine out of the oven, but soon became much too dense to eat.

Oh, and don't forget the meatloaf I tried to make.  Would you believe this girl makes terrible meatloaf?  I'm a great cook - and I fail at this miserably.  Well, I did.  I haven't had the courage to try again.  The first time I tried to make it, I was just out of college.  I browned the hamburger.  Uh huh ... that went well.  Then, I made it for Max.  I pulled it out of the oven, turned it on to a plate and as it hit the plate, the sound wasn't quite 'squishy' enough.  In fact, the thing was as hard as a hockey puck.  Max ended up tossing it out the back door for the raccoons and when it hit the ground, it didn't break apart, it bounced.

Sometimes the mistakes I make bring something fun - like Red Velvet Chocolate Chip cookies.  Other times, they are a meatloaf that bounces in the back yard.

I like the fact, though that these mistakes mean that I keep trying new things.  Sometimes I have an incredibly large learning curve to get through ... but, it really is fun to learn!

Oh - and aren't these lovely Red Velvet Chocolate Chip cookies?

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