I love food blogs. Writers sharing their personal experiences which have jogged food memories that culminate in well-crafted, stunningly photographed dishes. Oh, my….it’s a beautiful thing. To the unsuspecting reader, it appears to be a seamless, flawless, organic experience. As a newbie blogger, I too, want to share the best of what I do. You know, accentuate the ecstasy of what I do, while eliminating the agony.
Now, I may be new to blogosphere, but not new to cookie and cake design. I’ve been doing it long enough to have streamlined the process; rarely do I make too many more cookies than I need to sufficiently adorn the cake, and I can eyeball the correct amount of cookie dough and royal icing I’ll need for an order within grams! But this last project had me wanting to deploy my own JetBlue inflatable slide.
The request was butterfly cookies for a baby shower. Simple enough, right? And, I had a link to the invitation so I could see the artwork and get a feel for the aesthetic mood. A beautiful butterfly in its modern simplicity.
The striated pattern on the butterflies would translate so beautifully to my cookies. I could paint the stripes on with diluted food color, as shown in this excellent video. [insert screeching brake sound here] Wait a minute!!! I don’t do this! [insert cloudy vision of classroom] Damn you, 7th grade art teacher, Mrs. Christianson, for giving me that D in the first grading period. Damn you for paying more attention to the students who could draw and paint with what seemed to be the skill of Michaelangelo, while you scowled at my stick figures. With my confidence stymied, I put the cookies aside and procrastinated by doing a load or two of laundry.
When Jackie came home that evening, she sensed my hesitancy and pitched in to help. We practiced on paper and then took to the cookies. Here’s what we started with:
We practiced on paper til I decided it was high time to sacrifice some cookies. Here’s the melee that ensued:
Maybe paint, then drizzle? You know, for a more multi-dimensional look? Or maybe just drizzle?
Um. I don’t think so. No pressure here. Cookies are due in 36 hours. The sweat is now squirting from the top of my head, like in a ‘Cathy’ comic strip. ”I’m a sham/I’m no good/I’m a big, fat, failure” is the soundtrack that I’m listening to in my brain. And, I’m getting testy. Very. Testy.
This is the time to walk away. The sweating, the angst, the knots in the stomach aren’t going to give way to any kind of successful outcome. Go to the think tank (shower).
All this cookie really needed was a lighter touch. Dilute the food color a bit more, and lightly brush it on, overlapping the strokes every so often. Oh, and a crisp outline, too.
I never, ever would have shared this #cookiefail with anyone. But, I tweeted that I had about 7 reject cookies up for grabs. I had lots of takers, too. And, then, out of the mouth of a babe, otherwise known as Lauren, an incredibly talented, sweet and wise-beyond-her-years food blogger, tweeted back and said “Write a blog post about it!” With that one little sentence, no longer was I a loser, but a teacher. A giving, no-holds-barred teacher, willing to expose my own shortcomings in an effort to illustrate that without the occasional failure, we’re not challenged to move beyond our fears.
Do these look like failure to you?
Thank you, Lauren! Now, on to the pile of dishes in the sink that nobody blogs about either!