Saturday, June 04, 2005

Reflections on Failure

I just made a chocolate chip cookie recipe that was, in my mind, a resounding failure. I'd made the recipe successfully before once or twice back home, and didn't think I'd have any problems here.

There were some differences. For one thing, I used whole oats instead of quick oats, which may have affected the absorption of liquid. The baking soda may have been too old. The oven, I know, is not accurate. And the elevation may be different here than in Ottawa.

Nonetheless, I'm super annoyed. I rarely make anything at home that is this off the mark, and I feel like I've wasted some precious ingredients that were not purchased by me to begin with. There is no rum ball bin here to hide my shame or make something of them at later date to disguise my mistake. I will just have to live with this and do my best to learn from it. I know where the possible mistakes might have been, and so I must keep them in mind in the future. And that's pretty much all I can do.

But bear this in mind: no recipe is necessarily foolproof. Change one ingredient or make the recipe under completely different circumstances and you may find you get a completely different product in the end, as I have just done. But the important thing is to not panic and throw away the recipe. The important thing is to analyze and theorize, and keep experimenting. If you believe the recipe is worth it, you might be rewarded in the end.

And when in doubt, change the name. I will call these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, "oatmeal chocolate chip lace cookies." Chances are, no one is going to know the difference, and you can claim you invented the whole thing yourself, thus making yourself out to be brilliant.

It isn't necessarily failure, it's revisionism.


tshsmom said...

Good attitude!
I've had this happen, got totally pissed, and threw the whole mess out.

Bridget Jones said...

Oh I apologize, Wc, I thought for some reason that you were male. Abject apologies.

This post reminds me of the time I tried to duplicate a dish that I had at a friend's (California casserole). It was just a soggy mess when I made it, and when I checked with my pal, I found out why.

This dish is layered, lasagna style, of cooked rice and sour cream (layer 1), then old cheddar cheese, (layer 2) and halved jalepeno peppers (layer 3).

I forgot the rice.

ROFL what a hideous mess I made....Bridg

p.s. no I didn't make anyone eat it and I didn't have a dog at the time...

Bridget Jones said...

p.s. from Bridg again, your restaurant choices are EXQUISITE!!!

Wandering Coyote said...

Bridget: Why thank you! My time in the capital wasn't wasted. Many a decent restaurant there. I was mentioning last night to my friend that I would miss Shawarma King... And the Green Door has the best desserts in town, not to mention awesome breads!

ann said...

ah, yes. i've had this happen many a time. i'm sure the cookies are still yummy--just different!
p.s. thanks for adding me to your blogroll!


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