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Pushing the envelope can lead you to amazing experiences

Thank goodness there is so much to learn about food. While tracing the history of a cuisine, a flavor or a technique, you can really see how it fits into a culture and the day-to-day drama of human existence through time. It’s as though you were able to see, all at once, both the object and the cells that make up that object. So much to learn and in my case mostly about baking.
There are few savory dishes I won’t attempt or that I feel intimidated by. That’s not to say they would taste good or look the way they’re supposed to, but I’d give it a shot and try to get it right.
Have you looked at a recipe or dish and been put off by the number of ingredients, the ingredients you’ve not heard of, or the time or equipment involved? Only you can judge your level of ability or patience to tackle something, but pushing the envelope and getting out of your comfort zone can lead you to some pretty amazing experiences. Even the failures are good because you know what to fix next time out.
The list of savory dishes I want to try includes several I’d like to get right, but they remain on the wish list, only because I’ve had no time or can’t find something I need to get on with it. It’s not because they’re scary.
Baking, on the other hand, feels like steering the ship into waters beyond which there be dragons. The baking list is made up of things that scare me. You can instinct your way through a Moroccan stew, to a point, but baking is chemistry requiring a level of precision with a smaller margin of error.
Screw up the Moroccan stew, and people will taste it and think, “Well, this is good, but I’ve never been to Morocco, so I guess it’s right.” Screw up a cake, and it’s evident with a glance or a single bite, no matter what your experience or origin.
You can taste a stew and know it needs salt or something, but the cake is a commitment once it goes into the oven, and there’s not a lot you can fix.
I want to try cannoli. The excuse, up to now, was that I had no forms to create the little tubes. Now I have four of them in a box in a drawer, waiting for me to get busy. I think three weekends have passed since I found the forms and bought them, and all three of those weekends have begun with the intention to make cannoli. Thankfully something always came up. Maybe this weekend.
Macarons also are lurking in the darkness to smack me down to size. They’re a delicate, little, sweet sandwich made of flavored and tinted meringue and a filling. Reading recipe after recipe, it’s clear there are innumerable places to slip up. My excuse here is that I don’t yet have the fancy template doodad with circular markings to show exactly how big to pipe out the mixture before baking the outer bits.
I think I bought the right-sized piping tip about three months ago. Hopefully I won’t find the template mat anytime soon or I’ll be out of excuses.
Croissants are next, and I have no excuse at all for not trying them before, except that they look hard and take two days. The reward is a flaky, buttery treat — unless you goof. Then I suppose the reward is gluey dough blobs.
Maybe croissants this weekend. There’s just no excuse not to.

Published: June 11, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170619985