Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Why would you bother?

Every once in a while, I conduct what I consider a science experiment. There is no real science involved. It’s just me attempting something new, without any surety of the outcome.

Several experiments have taken place in the kitchen, as cooking is like a second language to me. I get the basics, but I’ll never be fluent. 

Among my bench tests are these:
  • Roasted peppers—Easy peasey, so they say. Ingredients? One: peppers. Process? “Blister” the peppers and let them cool. Then magic is supposed to happen, as the skins just peel away. In reality, fingers blister, pepper skins turn stubborn, and cursing ensues. My result was edible, but I spent way too much time on what is essentially a condiment. Never again.
  • Bagels—New York-style bagels are the gold standard. So what makes them different? The care put into each of three cooking steps: boiling, baking, and broiling. Some recipes leave out the last step, but broiling adds a delicious golden crisp to the crust. I’ll admit I didn’t mind the process, but buying bagels is so much easier and tastier, at least in my kitchen.
  • Wheat bread—I have come to the revelation that I will never get along with yeast. It’s too temperamental. Yeast is the Goldilocks of baking; it can’t be too hot or too cold—it has to be just right. I can’t be bothered, which is how my loaf of wheat bread became a wheat brick.
  •  Fingerless gloves—Escaping the kitchen, I turned to YouTube to learn how to knit with circular needles. Then I tackled a pair of fingerless gloves. The pattern I chose was adorable. The instructions claimed ease and simplicity. The result was wearable. Then I wore them. Word to the wise: If it’s cold enough to need gloves, you really need gloves with fingers.
Why do I keep pursuing my version of the scientific process? 
—If producing items fit for purpose is the benchmark, then I’m barely making the mark.
—If we learn more from our mistakes than successes, then I’ve earned an advanced degree.
—If the journey is truly more important than the destination, then there was value gained.

If trying something new and different is what’s important throughout life, then it certainly is worth all the bother.

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