I was recently talking with one of my apprentice siblings. She mentioned that I always seem to have such success with my work. She bemoaned that she was constantly failing to succeed, failing to produce.
This brought me to an interesting conclusion. First, my apprentice sibling was actually reading my blog. I never assumed that they would. Any of them. Second, I have a history of positive spin on the blog. Okay, I will not change that. This blog is about successes. But success can also come from failure. My next blog will be about a failure, what I learned from it, and how I can turn it into a success.
So, getting back to my apprentice sibling. She looked at me with big eyes as if she hoped that I could fix the failure roadblock in her work.
Honestly, I wish that I had a magic spell that could help, but to all those out there who do not succeed on the first take, remember that this is a process. Sometimes my redactions come out the first time I do them. The well-planned experiment is a success. The food is tasty and a plausible outcome from the original recipe.
This is, in the most part, because of my history with cooking. My grandmother and I did a lot together. She taught me the family recipes with amounts like ‘a pinch’ or ‘the size of a chicken egg…’ or my favourite: ‘just enough’. These times gave me the confidence and the food chemistry knowledge to play with things. And that is what redaction work is. It’s playing with food chemistry.
You must first understand the reasons behind why things happen. We all understand that yeast makes bread rise. But until you know how and why, redacting a yeast-rising bread recipe would be challenging.
Getting a good result is about designing that first experiment around research and cooking knowledge.
What happens when you try that and the results are less than perfect? You can do one of two things.
- Stop working on that recipe. And you know what? There is nothing wrong with stopping. Sometimes the challenge is too much for us at that time. And it’s okay to say so. You might pick it up later when you know more. Notice I said you can try again later? Putting a recipe that is too complex aside is okay, but stopping all research and redaction work isn’t if you want to succeed. You need to push through and have discipline if you want to succeed.
- Research more into the failure and redesign your experiment. Ask others for guidance, research similar recipes, have a look at modern takes or traditional cooking, look into the archeology of the time and place, run other experiments on how they cooked their food.
Ultimately, it’s important to realise that some of the best research has come from failure. It’s through failure we learn or find new paths to research.
Never be afraid of failure.
Until next time, may the blank page of your new year be written with success, happiness, and the occasional failure.