Just recently, I screwed up and I think it’s awesome! I cannot lie. This contradictory statement took me by surprise and taught me and my family one very important lesson.
I’m an empty nester. My three kids are away at university, which is luckily (and thankfully) just over two hours away. That means, we can check the weather for safe driving conditions, hop in the car, and go!
But not without my famous chocolate chip banana muffins!
I am so not a chef!
I admit it, own it and I never pretend to be something I’m not, which is a good cook. What does this mean? I basically suck. Nah, I shouldn’t exactly say that. How about I realize that we all have our strengths, and cooking and baking don’t make my list.
I have taken countless classes from this lovely R.D. My bookshelves are bursting with cookbooks and hand-me-down family recipes. Heck, I even catch myself watching the cooking channel. My TikTok feed is full of famous cooks and chef wannabees. I watch and read these masters in their element and I sigh and say, why can’t I just do that?
The reality is, although I have all of the best intentions, I just don’t have what it takes to bake and cook. And I’m Ok with that.
My Pediatrician never complained that my kids were malnourished. They all grew to a healthy height and weight. During the years that they were living at home, there was no need to call the paramedics or visit the hospital for food poisoning. I never called the fire department. Yes, my kitchen is still fully intact since we renovated it in ’06.
For these reasons and these reasons alone. I consider myself a passable cook. You can grade me a C. And I will take it with dignity.
In my “back pocket” of recipes that save me, meaning, when I make them, everyone thinks they are just FABULOUS.
This alone is a miracle that I take great pride in. As my
victims‘ taste testers lift the warm muffin that just emerged from the oven into their mouths, I watch their faces light up and wait for the smile to appear. The “mmmmmm” immediately follows as they slowly chew with great pleasure. I bask in these rays of compliments that I receive and enjoy every minute of the positive feedback because it is so rare that this happens in my kitchen when I am holding the mixing spoon. I tell you, I feel pure joy and say “I did this and I rock.”
These muffins, I will bake for my babies. (I know, I know, they are no longer babies, but If you are an empty-nester, you just know what I mean.) So off to my kitchen I went to make my chocolate chip banana muffins. I can hear the triumph-type music playing!
Gathering all of the ingredients!
Being the organized freak that I am, and taking after my maternal grandmother, I lay out all my ingredients on my kitchen counter. Even though I have made this recipe a dozen times over. I can hear you now. Sharon, why don’t you venture out and make a different kind of muffin? Apple cranberry? Perhaps plain chocolate? Because I’m scared too, OK? Why wouldn’t I make these muffins over and over if they get such tremendous applause? Geez.
As I was saying.
I tie my hair back in a bun. God forbid one of my hairs would land in the batter. I must remember to do this step more often, as, in the past, a few hairs have been caught in whatever I made for dinner. I am very grateful that my family is very forgiving and has a great sense of humour.
After all the ingredients are
carefully measured. I mix mix mix and pour into prepared muffin tins. I then packed them up for our car ride.
Can you see it yet? I screwed up and it’s awesome!
The Big Reveal
After a lovely afternoon together, we said our goodbyes and I gave them each their own care packages that included 12 muffins each.
The next morning, I didn’t get a text message, but a face-time phone call from son #2.
“Mom, what’s with these muffins! They taste awful!”
Panic flushed my body. My eyes darted from left to right, trying to think WHY this would happen. I know this recipe like the back of my hand. Every time I make them, they are a hit. Why all of a sudden did they taste awful?
Say it with me: I screwed up and it’s awesome!
“I have no freaking idea,” I told my son.
My next move was to ask my eldest son, who has taken on the task of cooking. And get this – what he makes tastes great! I mean, hello yummyness! Obviously, I did NOT teach him everything he knows. Yup, the apple fell VERY FAR from this old tree here. Probably fell into the next forest. He learned how to cook all on his own. He does, however, tell people that I taught him how to rinse the can before you use the can opener. Yay me.
“Did you use the measuring spoons?” He asks in the most polite, not to hurt mom’s feelings (bless this child) way.
“It tastes a bit like you put too much baking soda.”
I couldn’t remember what I used. I just put in the ingredients.
Baking is so very different than regular cooking. The proper measuring tools are required, along with a good mixer. I should have taken out the hand-held mixer, that whips things up beautifully. And is so user-friendly.
What did I learn from this muffin baking extravaganza? Besides the obvious fact that I screwed up and it’s awesome!
Here we go:
I’m not perfect!
Surprise surprise. I’m a human being, with a whole lot of flaws and bumps and bruises. I fall down. Many many times. Most people call this situation a “fail”. I do too, but I display that F word in a different way. Like this:
Although this wasn’t my first time at this chocolate chip banana muffin rodeo, I realized that I became a little too cocky. Taking advantage of the measurements I thought I did well but didn’t. This lesson grounded me and taught me to be more precise next time. Baking is a science that I need to pay attention to.
Aside from what you see on social media, nothing is always sunshine and butterflies and perfection. That’s just not how life goes.
I am an example for my kids and when they see me fall down, I brightly smile inside because I know that I have demonstrated yet another lovely lesson – LIVE. When they were little, I would pul out classics like “The Lorax” and “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Suess. There’s always this one here, too. This time around, no storytelling, or book was needed. When lessons happen IRL (In Real Life), it’s priceless and way more meaningful, if you ask me.
I make mistakes. Things don’t work out. They witness this and I know they are watching my every move. Especially how I react.
What I did following this incident that I didn’t do so well on, is what matters. I GET BACK UP and try again.
Say it with me: I screwed up and it’s awesome!