Friday, August 5, 2016

6 Life Lessons From a Cheesecake Flop

This afternoon I made a cheesecake.  It was going to be a delicious and beautiful thing:  white chocolate with a huckleberry topping.  I made one two weeks ago that was beautiful in every way shape and form, (top photo) unfortunately, this attempt didn't have the same result (bottom photo) and ended up all over the stovetop when I removed the side of the springform pan. I have never, had a cheesecake do that, even when I first started out at around the age of 11.  It was such a flop, it almost would have been funny if it weren't for the fact that I spent a good portion of my afternoon making that cake for my family.  But, so goes life sometimes, and in baking and life its best to learn from our mistakes and just move forward.  With a little bit of back story shared, here are 6 quick and easy life lessons to be gained from a cheesecake flop:

1. Perfection really is the enemy of good.  Last cheesecake turned out great, but in my attempt at making a perfect, or just better cheesecake I really messed up.  Please don't misunderstand me, I'm all for striving to do better improve, etc.  but sometimes in our attempts to do that, we make decisions that we wouldn't normally make that are against our better judgement, and it does not turn out better. Which takes us to lesson number 2.  

2.  Sometimes, it's best to go with your gut instinct and what you know works for you instead of trying what you heard or read somewhere or what works for other people.  I knew the cheesecake turned out fine last time, and instead of doing exactly what I did before,  and what I knew worked, I tried to add in some milk, because I read that most people add in sour cream, or cream.

3. But.... if you do decide to try something new (the way I did adding milk in) don't be set back by it not turning out the way you thought.  No attempt at trying something new is ever wasted, even if it doesn't turn out rosy.   It gives you more experience and knowledge to draw upon, and hopefully, you won't make that same decision again.  And to paraphrase a quote "I didn't fail at making a cheesecake, I just learned one more way how NOT to make one"

4. Because you mess up once, or twice, thrice, etc., doesn't mean you have to be defined by your failure, or that it cancels out your other successes.  It's impossible for imperfect beings to do everything perfect.  Because I messed up this cheesecake, doesn't mean that I'm no longer a good baker, or that all of my previous successful cheesecakes, were for not.  It means I'm an imperfect being (who happens to be a perfectionist) and that my work will reflect my imperfection.  Can you believe the unjust irony in that???

5. Sometimes, things aren't what they appear.  Before I took the side of the springform pan off, that cheesecake was standing tall and wasn't too shabby looking.  After I took what was confining it to that shape away, it fell and flopped all over the counter.  It didn't have the stability to hold itself up, it was relying on the artificial help of the springform pan.  People can be that way sometimes.  Things may look nice and well enough to us, but the real truth is known when we take away what is confining a person or group of persons to a set shape.  Just because someone can say or do the right things when the are being confined to that, doesn't mean they have the stability or foundation to continue doing so if what confines them to that (rules, culture, etc) is taken away.  Sometimes, that "perfect" person, couple, or family isn't so perfect after all.  Which makes them human.  Just like you and I.

6. Don't judge by appearance.  That cheesecake turned out awful looking, and was quite literally a flop.  You know what though?  My siblings begged me not to get rid of it because it tasted so good.  They didn't care what it looked like, or the fact that it was more like pudding than cheesecake.  Just because something (particularly people) don't have the most appealing look about them, doesn't mean that that is all there is to them.  Some of the most beautiful people are right in front of you, if only you go past what you see and dig into what they are made of.

There you have 6 life lessons from a cheesecake flop.  Didn't think you could learn so much from a cheesecake now, did ya?



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