What Baking Can Teach You About Yourself

You’d think that with my recent adventures in the kitchen – pasty folding, challah braiding, dealing with a layer cake falling apart -, I wouldn’t really be phased by anything.

Well, cake pops happened. Cake pops are lollipop-looking balls of chocolate-coated cake. And they look so fun and easy. Apparently, they’re not something I can nail the first time… or even something that looks decent-ish. Let’s just say that, whatever I did, simply didn’t work. The chocolate thing didn’t work. Over half a dozen cake pops broke and/or had their little sticks slide out when they shouldn’t have. The icing I tried to use clearly isn’t meant to hold shape once tilted. Quite frustrating.

And I learned something about myself. Two, actually, though they’re more or less related.apple_pie_jam_1

I had something of this with the cake we baked for my dad, but it was more obvious today: I set very high expectations for myself, sometimes even when said standards are not fair. For example, expecting to make decent cake pops and failing to hit the mark (or even the target, it seemed). I’ve grown up with the idea of achieving high standards. My school curriculum deemed anything below an 80% a fail. My parents instilled in me the desire/need to do well and master a lesson or task. Neither of these are bad things, but I have a tendency to take it farther than it needs to. Like today’s cake pops.

The second thing is that, oy, do I ever still have pride issues! I’ve always been very hard on myself when I fail something. Anything. (Except for my driving test in the summer. I could have cared less except for the fact that it meant that I’d have the take the test again….) Setting high standards and aiming to reach them probably has something to do with it, but I also know that pride is a major factor too. I can’t stand failing. To the point that I sometimes treat a failure not as a lesson, but as an example of how I myself am a failure. (I mean, there have been some times in which I’ve thought that and I still agree, but most of the time, that kind of thinking really just doesn’t apply.) I’m still kind of frustrated at myself. Partly because those stupid cake pops didn’t turn out, partly because I had planned to take them to work tomorrow as part of a treat-day thing, but now mainly because I got frustrated at twenty-five harmless little balls of cake .

Isn’t it funny (not!) how little things can bring out the worst in us? Or rather, that we allow little things to stir up those nasty things? I’m half-jokingly determined to not attempt cake pops for the next ten years. Note that I began that resolve with, “That’s it. I refuse to try these again for ten years because this attempt was just too frustrating!” and that it’s now more like “Haha, yeah, watch, I’ll probably want to try again next time we have cake scraps….”

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