It’s a well known fact that galas and auctions use cocktails and goodwill to loosen hold of your wallet. This time the benefits truly went both ways.
A few months ago, with a green Galatini in hand, I’d enthusiastically signed up for a pastry making and brunch event. If you know me, you’d know it was the Galatini doing the signing up. I am the Betty Crocker box kind of baker, which is mostly appreciated at five year old birthday parties (in the shape of a microphone, but that’s another story). I’m really okay with being this kind of baker because I also have little self control and if I could make incredible breads and pastries, I’d sit around eating them all day. The real reason I signed up had more to do with seeing my friends’ names on the list. Super mature.
So last Sunday, with a lot of grumping and tardiness, I picked up said friends and then found myself in a gorgeous kitchen with a group of women I know from the kids’ school. The first incredible moment happened when we walked in and I saw that Leah Grossman, who I’d previously only known as my son’s friend’s grandmother, was the expert master baker. In all the time I’d known her, I had no idea she was this amazingly talented person. You know what they say about books and covers and judges and stuff…
Anyway, Leah set out to teach us how to make pastry dough and immediately I shut down and resorted back to my Betty Crocker self. Sure, I’d brought my Kaspar’s apron (work team morale cooking event) and rolling pin (used only by Boaz and Naomi for playdough). I chatted happily with everyone while we all started about and was relieved that there weren’t enough mixers to go around.
But then Leah turned to me and said, “Have you gone yet?” and I found myself mixing the dough and then rolling it out and fitting it into cute little tart pans and it was really fun. And surprisingly not scary. (C’mon, pasty dough is scary, right? Right?)
And then Leah said something that made my light bulb go off. She was working the dough in a very non-delicate, hands-on way and when someone commented on her approach, she said, “You can’t be a good cook if you’re afraid to get in there and mess up a bit.” (Or it was something like that.)
And it occurred to me that she was incredibly right.
It wasn’t just about cooking, though suddenly I did feel like I could take on that pastry dough at home, but it was about everything. I’d found myself so worried about failing lately that I’ve been afraid to trust my instincts. And this is true, even in areas where I do usually feel comfortable and at ease. And the pastry class was a very welcomed reminder that success rarely comes without at least a few ounces of failure. And those failures, should be welcomed for their learning value (and then not repeated, of course).
So even though the desire to try out the tart recipe at home disipated fairly quickly and I’m still grateful for the Betty Crocker boxes in my cabinets, I have a new appreciation for french baking and the extreme wisdom and truth behind it. Also, anything with that much butter in it has to be delicious.