By London Koffler
As the quintessential college graduate, this year my part-time minimum-wage job did not provide me the money to buy the Christmas gifts my family and friends deserve. For some reason, I decided to try my hand at making my own gifts instead of purchasing them. My recent binge-watching of cooking shows convinced me that I, too, could construct my own culinary masterpieces with great ease. I spent days on the internet browsing recipe sites, trying to choose the perfect one that would please everyone. I finally decided on chai tea cookies with whipped cinnamon icing on top.
The problem was, my kitchen is probably from the 1970s—no storage or standing room, a gas-burning range, and literally no counter space; I do not exaggerate when I say literally. I have to do all of my food preparation on a wooden chopping block we positioned in the nearby bedroom. Over the previous several months, I had gotten used to this arrangement, but this was the largest undertaking I had faced since moving in. I lined up all my ingredients, pulled out my bowls, and pre-heated my oven. I was ready.
Or so I thought. As any well-seasoned chef could have predicted, this was going to be a disaster. I didn’t even have a rolling pin or a whisk. Why did I think I could make cookies without a rolling pin or icing without a whisk? I tried so hard to make it work, but nothing I did was good enough. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted my muffin tin. At this point, I was desperate. I took the cookie dough, crammed some in the tin, and shoved the whole thing in the oven. By the time I removed them, they were severely overdone. Looking over at my chopping block, I saw my “icing” that was more of a glaze. I thought, “Why not?” and dumped it over the muffins too. It couldn’t possibly make them any worse, right?
I still took those cookies/cupcakes/muffins to my family’s Christmas Eve party. I thought, if nothing else, it would be a conversation starter. To my half amusement, half horror, my grandma picked one up and ate it. She noted that she loved them and wanted my recipe. I think my jaw dropped to the floor. Everyone tried one with their coffee and said the same. They all wanted to know where I found the recipe. I hated to tell them, but I didn’t think that was a mistake I could ever recreate.
Like with most things in my life, I found that my best efforts were, in fact, good enough. I have always been too hard on myself, and this proved to me that I should try to cut myself some more slack. I tried something new, and even though I thought I failed, other people saw it as a success.
Edited by Rachel Menkhus