What Baking Taught Me: Disappointments and Second Chances

When I arrived here in New Zealand, I was amazed at how almost 99% of the houses I’ve been to own a microwave oven. It’s as important as a heat pump or maybe much more valuable. I grew up in the Philippines, where only the privileged ones have access to a microwave oven or those in the baking business. So I got excited and told myself that maybe I’ll try baking and be successful with it since it looks easy in movies, plus I can cook.

Well, I was 100% wrong. I was struggling, wasting resources – money, time and effort. It got worst over time, and for some reason, it made me frustrated and annoyed.

I’ve tried watching several videos on Youtube and Facebook to understand and observe what I need to know. I’ve even bought some of the baking stuff I see in different videos to make sure that I ‘m doing everything accordingly.

After several tries, I was still unsuccessful and kept failing. Everything was starting to be so disappointing that I wanted to quit. But my husband was very supportive that he ate every food I baked even some of it were not edible, except for one chocolate cake that I made with everything I had.

He said he was sorry, but we might need to dispose of it. I sat down, pondered what I’ve done wrong, and after a cup of coffee, I realised three inevitable facts and lessons that I unexpectedly applied in my life. 

FOLLOW EVERY INSTRUCTION, BE PATIENT AND STOP COMPROMISING

I thought it’ll be okay if I don’t use the exact ingredients as required. I thought that maybe, the substitute buttercream is sufficient and I don’t need to join other people in adding chaos in the supermarket. I got impatient, and just want to go with it thinking I have it all under control, even when there’s a slight chance that deep within me I know that it will fail. Well, it was a tragedy, and the cake looks horrific.

I tend to become too confident and rushed that I don’t realise the consequences of my action in my life most of the time. I compromise with my issues and adversities with the mindset that it will always work out in the end. I forgot that negotiating is like gambling – either you get a favourable result or the worst (not a bad one but the worst). I became too blinded by my frustrations and impatience. Instead of looking at the bigger picture of why it happened, I always end up asking myself, “What did I miss?”

BE FULLY PREPARED, IMPROMPTU DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK

I saw my friend baked something without preparing everything she needed. All of the ingredients she wanted was just near the bowl, all of the stuff unopened, yet she can still make them with no sweat. But whenever she needs something, she yells out and ask her husband for the missing ones and ends up rectifying the preparation because something had gone wrong. I tried copying it, and messed up big time and ended up wasting more money.

I realised impromptu doesn’t always work. I thought it saved me a lot of times before. I didn’t understand that the problem was like a ticking bomb simply waiting to explode and I’m delaying it more. I have to be fully prepared and stop saying “bahala na” (whatever). I understood that I’m not the same 20-year old who can make mistakes and get away from disappointing outcomes. I need to have a plan A to Z even if they’re unsuccessful. It’s better to fail with a plan than none at all.

NEVER GIVE UP, KEEP TRYING – BUT LEARN WHEN TO STOP AND BE OPEN TO THE IDEA OF DOING IT AGAIN

There are no mistakes in life, just lessons. But when you try baking, there might be some unavoidable mistakes. Most of which can be rectified or not really. For example, you know that if you try to mix the egg white in a slightly wet bowl since you’re impatient to wipe it off , it will not thicken up regardless if you beat it forever. So either you don’t give up and mix the egg white forever or get a new set and make sure that you’ll be patient enough to clean the bowl properly.

This idea was quite hard for me at first since I’m persistent and too proud that whatever I do is always right (maybe because I’m the eldest sister), but I learned that it’s inevitable. There are two things that I’ve come to understand. One, I don’t want to accept that I’ve done something wrong and keep going even if I know that it’s not right. Or maybe, I know that it’s wrong and I’m close-minded or lazy to do it again because it’ll hurt my pride that I can’t do it. 

After that cup of really bitter coffee, I decided that I’ll keep baking till there’s a slight improvement and do it again till I get good at it. There will be days that I’ll be disappointed and frustrated but that’s okay. Life is all about the ups and downs, learning new experiences and giving thanks to God Almighty for the lessons we learn along the way. 

So when I try to bake and feel that I might have missed something or if the dough is not rising or whatever, I do it again. As I keep doing it, I’m able to find out what problem is and fix it. I was able to rectify it if something goes wrong, which means I’m learning.

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