Baking and cooking can be many things to many people; A way to relieve stress, get out aggressions, or soothe sadness. The simple act of slowing down and creating something from scratch with your own two hands can just be such a catharsis in this busy, maddening world. It isn’t, however, something to plow through, rushed and uninterested in the process itself, eyes only focused on the end result. Baking is less about the cakes and the cookies that come out of the oven, but more about the sifting of the flour, careful measuring, and skillful work with the knife. Or in my case, disastrously clumsy and painful use of the knife.
Waking up late and hastily throwing together the base for my Passover dessert to be served at seder later that night, everything was going as planned… Until I pulled out those fateful oranges. Without thinking, I began hacking away, paring off strips of zest when the blade slipped and… Well, I think you can guess what it began paring after that. This was quite possibly the worst injury I’ve sustained in the kitchen yet, and yes, it was all from a careless mistake.
Things kept going downhill from there- The crust for my tartlettes fell apart in the oven, and my iSi cream whipper refused to work in more than spurts and splats, making for a rather Picasso sort of presentation. Taking a deep breath, slowing down a bit, and thinking things through more was the only way out of this mess.
The orange curd meant to fill my tartlettes went into the bottom of some clear glasses instead, to be topped with chopped strawberries and strawberry mousse. Much simpler than my original plans, but working with only one hand definitely limited my options this time around. At least there will still be a dessert to serve tonight… And I don’t think I need stitches, I consoled myself at the time.
Thank goodness those verrines were so well received after all of that drama! It’s one thing to be able to think on your feet, but another to think ahead enough so that you don’t need to. Just in case you’re thinking about speeding through your next culinary endeavor, consider how much less time and pain it may take if you go about it mindfully in the first place.