I made the worst breakfast ever yesterday. And I made it twice. Worst of all? It was an attempt to make my sister's birthday breakfast. First attempt: gluten free crepes with banana and mango, a simple recipe from my guru. Result? Salty sweet, thick & eggy omelets. Second attempt: gluten free pancakes. Result? Soggy chickpea flavored patties. Yuck and yuck. I felt terrible. An hour of work with nothing to show for it.
Baking is an art. The preparation, presentation and aroma, the taste, texture and scale: they all contribute to the same basic elements of design. I studied art for 8 years, so it's hard for me to think in other terms, and I've learned that the creative process cycles. I saw a great Ted Talk from Elizabeth Gilbert (check it out here) where she discusses how the Greeks and Romans viewed creative genius as a separate being from oneself. Instead of taking all the credit for your successes, and punishment for your failures, the muse is the culprit of all things and comes and goes as they please. And my muse has not been with me...I have bakers block.
Of course I've been baking. I made 5 more loaves of cornbread, cooked more peaches in the residual basil sauce and even had the birthday breakfast bust. But sparks of genius are far from your control and the rest is discipline. Keep at it. Don't give up. Bake crap, throw things away--it's the bitter process of learning. The easy part is to practice with what you already know, and the hard part? To take a risk, fail, and continue forward.