Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The importance of failure

I made chili tonight. Good, basic chili. And I blew it. I'm not sure what went wrong, but something in the seasoning was off, or maybe the meat was just too long in the freezer, but it was just boring. It wasn't inedible, but it wasn't the warm, comforting creation I was hoping for.

I was frustrated. I've made chili tens if not hundreds of times before, used all different kinds of ingredients and never use a recipe. It's usually really good. But this time? Not so much. I kept tweaking it until finally there were enough spices to cover the blandness and we could at least eat dinner, but it wasn't what I had hoped for.

At first I was embarrassed. I take pride in my cooking and consider a meal well prepared a little love letter to my friends and family. But then a friend reminded me that
  1. he knows I'm a good cook
  2. there is no endpoint in becoming a better cook, one is always learning
  3. and part of learning is sometimes failing. 
The whole point is to learn from my mistakes, try again and do it better (or at least differently) next time.

So it is with cooking, riding a bike, writing a blog post, just about everything. You try, you will sometimes fail and that is a gift. For the home cook especially, as long as no one gets sick or dies, you can always order pizza and try again another time.

So let's see, next time I'll get the meat from someplace else. I'll use the frozen peppers from the garden. I'll...

(c) 2009 Laura S. Packer