Blame It On The Baking Show

I went into the grocery store for two nonfood items and came out with them plus a chicken pot pie. I blame it on pastry week on The Great British Baking Show. There’s also an American version, The Great American Baking Show, inexplicably filmed in the same tent in England but I digress. Both versions follow the same format of three challenges per week: a signature bake, which is a personal specialty; a technical challenge, a recipe that is long on difficulty and short on instructions; and a showstopper, a big, over-the-top show piece, think freestanding edible sculptures. Each week someone is sent home and each week someone is declared Star Baker.

I’ve learned an awful lot watching the various baking shows and almost none of it involves flour. For example, the technical challenges are the perfect illustration of how you don’t need to know everything about your new thing before you start. Contestants often haven’t even heard of the dish, let alone had a chance to perfect it. And you know what? They can still have successful bakes, really delicious, impressive-looking results.

Something else I learned is that even when your bake looks like a total disaster, don’t throw it in the trash! It could still be delicious. Baking, like life, is not all or nothing. Just because your towering showstopper pastry sculpture collapsed, doesn’t mean that you are an abject failure. You can still score points from the ruins. You can still win.

Speaking of winning, I have also learned that you can go from Star Baker to being sent home in a single week. You are only as good as your last bake. There is no resting on your laurels, in baking or life.

Lastly, I learned that when your work is done, it costs you nothing to help someone else. Who knows, next week you may be the one that needs that extra pair of hands to steady your showstopper.

Whether your thing is baking or beading, get out there and do it, whether you already know it all or are flying by the seat of your pants. You’ll amaze yourself with your results and have a blast in the process. Just promise to save me a biscuit!

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