friday's confession

I should have my own tv show.

Here's the thing: I love cooking, I love crafting, I love all things creative. But I'm not one of those people who is just naturally good at these things. For me, cutting a straight line would be about as easy as reading Goethe in German. Virtually impossible.

It's really easy to be intimidated when it comes to this stuff. I grew up watching Martha Stewart and her effortless grace. Let's face it, I am not a person in possession of effortless grace. I read amazing creative people's blogs and see beautiful things people make. And it seems so very easy. But when I try to do these things? There's a lot of effort and usually some cursing. But I still get it done; the getting it done is what keeps me going. And, really, isn't there a certain beauty in the struggle?

Which gets me back to being on tv. I really do think that if more people, people who are intimidated to try things because they know that they won't be able to do it as well, or as effortlessly, or as quickly or tidily as Martha, could see people like me doing things, the intimidation would be gone. GONE. Because there is nothing intimidating in my method.

Case in point: On Monday, I decided to make bread. From scratch. With yeast and everything. I've been thinking about making my own bread since we returned from France, and when we were in Arizona, I found a copy of The Tassajara Bread Book among Tim's things.  I took it as a sign that the time for bread was now.

Folks, this was bread-making 101. I read all of the instructions first, since I'm nothing if not a good student. Step One: mix a bunch of stuff with the yeast and wait 30 minutes. Done. After half an hour, I went to add the flour. But, oops, I forgot, I didn't have any flour. In the car, to the store, back home 15 minutes later, whole wheat flour in hand. I don't think this is what those Tassajara folks had in mind.

But I kept on. I owned that bread. Messily. Flour everywhere. Next time, I'll take pictures. Although I might lose some of my glamour and mystique when y'all realize how very messy I can be.

Then I waited while the dough went through it's first rise. A looong time, since it was too cool in my kitchen (thanks Bay Area summer!) for the dough to rise quickly. So long, in fact, that I completely forgot upon returning to the dough to add the salt and oil that I had decided to cut the recipe in half. Oops. I remembered right after adding said oil and salt, but it was too late. The dough had started enveloping the glob, like a big salt-and-oil-eating monster. Oops.

I laughed. As I was blotting salty oil out of my pretty dough, I laughed. As I attempted to scoop oily, doughy salt out of the mouth of the dough monster, I laughed. Because making bread is fun. Even when you mess it up.

And you know what? In the end, even though I didn't knead according to directions, even though I cut the dough in half for the loaves way too early and then had to pinch it back together, even though I realized at the very end of the process that my lovely mixer has a dough hook and everything could have been way easier, the bread turned out beautifully. It tastes like bread. Good bread. Bread without chemicals and preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. Just bread. Made from my hands.

Of course I trashed the kitchen in the process. Tim shook his head and chuckled when he came home. Which again brings me back to having a show, to really just help everyone else out. To take some of the mystery out of all of this. To make it okay to struggle, to not do things exactly right, but to do it anyway.

I suppose I should invest in a Flip video camera...look out, youtube, here I come!