Sometimes in life you make a mistake and that mistake leaves with some outcome that is not quite—or at times leaps and bounds off—from what you set out to do. This happens to me quite frequently in the kitchen and typically I don’t share those mistakes. At least not until I’ve gone back and reworked the problem to a point where I have satisfactorily fixed it. The rest? They get swept away and never mentioned to the blog-o-sphere. Ah the sanctity of privacy. Someone told me the other day that I should share one of these epic screw-ups with my readers but I feel like that would be such a downer of a post. See I don’t ever really give up on something unless I’m really, really abjectly upset and convinced it is impossible to do.
This happens more frequently in life outside of the kitchen. I don’t think I have a dish yet that I haven’t at the least back-burnered as a “to try again” kind of deal. It’s just not in my nature. I’d like to think that this can apply to all situations in life too; that it’s never too late to turn a mistake around. As Anne Shirley would say:
“Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it…yet.”
I truly believe that you only have made an irreparable error in life when it’s one that you learn absolutely nothing from. Even if it’s something as simple as learning that your GPS isn’t always correct and when it says to make a right turn onto train tracks you probably shouldn’t listen. I totally did NOT do that by the way but a certain tepsay atherfay of mine has. Sometimes those mistakes can even turn into something pretty amazing even if it’s not what you wanted in the first place. Like these meringue cookies of mine. They started out as coconut macaroons. Well I didn’t get coconut macaroons because I was being a cheapskate. Instead I got meringues but they were absolutely DELICIOUS even if somewhat resembling a lumpy pile of something you’d see on a canine frequented sidewalk. Seriously don’t take my word for it? Well were she here a certain coworker of mine who ate four of these would validate my claim.
I still intend to go back and tweak my macaroon recipe. This time I won’t try to cheap out of using condensed milk. See I’d already used my can for yesterday’s post and didn’t want to run out to the store to buy another. The problem is you need the density of the stuff to give macaroons (and these are not the French macaroon mind you, those are something else completely different) their unique texture and chew. Without it I really just wound up with a sweet that is fluffy and puffy from egg whites. But sweet pac-man did they taste GOOD.
This is probably why I like baking and cooking so much. In the kitchen you can usually salvage anything. Crumbled cakes can become trifles and almost any dish, no matter how deflated or misshapen can be covered up with a good sauce. Even burnt meals can be somewhat saved providing there’s enough left over after the char has been scraped away.
While I really want to believe it’s never too late to turn things around in life, and I do, that doesn’t mean you can always go back and start over. You’ve got to either salvage what you’ve got in a true Tim Gunn “make it work” kind of moment or let it go, lessons learned, and find a new goal or project to funnel that knowledge into. So long as you can do that I like to think of it as turning it around. Sitting around and doing nothing—living in denial? That’s the failure. Doing that is essentially ostriching your way through life and hiding in fear of facing and owning up to your fuckup. When you do that you cheat yourself of other sweet experiences (and meringue cookies!) that might come along your path.
I hope that life doesn’t come and prove me wrong someday. That I don’t make a mistake so big that I wake up every morning for the rest of my life never fully recovered and never able to let it go and move past it. At least I know if and when I am handed that lesson I can hide away in my kitchen and make delicious things out of mess-ups until the end times. Or at least I can so long as I don’t lose my hands in some freak accident that accompanies my harsh lesson in unfixable failure. Dear Universe: please don’t take my hands away. I need them to bake and stuff, okay?
See what I mean? I feel like even with the hopeful naiveté I brought to it this post was kind of depressing. Bugger it – chocolate makes everything better. On to the recipe!
Chocolate Coconut Meringue Cookies
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