Last week I was preparing for my final exam for organic chemistry. The day before the exam I decided to make waffles. I threw together a basic mixture, knowing in full confidence that you really truly can’t screw up waffles.
And I promptly proceeded to make the worst waffles I’ve ever created in my life. They were bland- tasteless like I’ve never tasted before and on top of it, they were tough.
I took it as a sign- like a litmus test for my life. I’ve certainly made some terrible pancakes in my life- burnt more than I can remember and eaten my fair share of rubber hockey pucks, but never have I ruined waffles. It was a reminder for me that there was still just too much going on and too much stress in my life if I was making terrible waffles. I left the batter filled bowl in the corner of the kitchen and headed out that day telling myself I’d deal with cleaning up the failure that was my life, later.
I’m embarrassed to say that several days went by before I attempted to deal with the bowl. When I finally went to look at it though, I was in for a bit of a surprise. The gloppy dough smelled deliciously like yeast and was full of bubbles. Out of curiosity, I covered the bowl with a towel and decided to let it sit around longer to see what might happen.
A few days after that it was continuing to smell deliciously yeasty and was quite happily full of bubbles.
I decided I would make bread.
Unsure of what I was doing, I decided to add some yeast just in case and kneaded in several cups of flour. I set it aside to let it rise and was surprised to see that it rose happily. I punched it down before adding it to a bread bowl for a second rise and while after an hour or two, found that it hadn’t really risen this time, decided it was time to toss it into the oven.
I baked it for over an hour, checking as it slowly rose ever so slightly before eventually realizing that it wasn’t going to get any bigger.
What I ended up with was a strange sort of dense bread- slightly yeasty, slightly sourdough-y. I see it now, not as a sign of failure and frustration, but instead as a sign of adaptation and the ability to change. I’m rarely certain of what I’m doing and where I’m going these days, but maybe this serves as a reminder that if I’m flexible and am willing to change and adapt, things will work out- just maybe not in the way initially expected.