Monday, February 21, 2011


There is virtually no modern chef or cookbook in the world that talks about failure.

(Except you, Julia, you're an inspiration every passing day, baby!)

You will fail. Yes, you will fail. No matter how much you prepare, you will fail.


If you are suitably ambitious, you must accept that failure is inevitable. It's called learning. There can be no learning without failure.

What is needed is a healthy attitude to failure. It happens. Scream for a minute or two, and then dial the takeout. Regroup later, analyze your failure, and always, always, always revisit the dish another day. Which you will nail correctly and beautifully but only because you failed the first time. That's called learning. Extraordinarily rarely, you will fail twice. That's called learning too!

(The CC has even failed thrice, and lived to cook another day!)

Incidentally, of all the smug fucks, a certain Richard Olney informs us that: "A failure is no disgrace and may very often be more instructive than a success."

Yeah?!? Well, fuck you, Richard Olney, when you have screaming hordes in your living room on a hot summer's day, and your dish just disintegrated, you might just have a slightly different view of success.

Or not.

There does seem to be a utility in having a suitably detached point of view. In time, you will rapidly learn to look at your failures in a funny light. It'll turn into a good party story.

Comedy is merely tragedy with added time and perspective.

Wasn't it hilarious when that dish fell apart right before Thanksgiving? Or that burnt dish on Valentine's Day? Or that food that disintegrated right before the party guests started streaming in?

Go on then. Be ambitious. Fail with confidence.

You're gonna fail, and you're gonna love it!

(Chime in with your failures, readers. This is a contest in who can embarass themselves the most!)


Marcus said...

I once served severely undercooked fried chicken to 2 couples at our weekly dinner party, a grievous offense in the South.

A good friend of mine, who as far as I know never met a plate of food he didn't like, finished an entire leg (raving about it all the while) before I realized what had happened and said aloud what everyone else was thinking (basically, "I'm not eating this shit").

I don't think I've tried to fry chicken since. My wife has a few times, but it just never comes out like Grandma's. I think, in part, it's the 40+ year-old cast iron skillet she (grandma, not wife) uses.

I'm probably way underestimating the age of the skillet. It originally belonged to HER grandmother.

ShockingSchadenfreude said...

That is indeed a serious offense, and yes, that ol' well-seasoned skillet matters a lot.