This summer I took up wheel pottery. I needed a creative and social outlet where I could take my mind off everything else in the day and force myself to focus on the medium infront of me. Clay demands an extreme amount of attention, but practice and patience reward the artist with a beautiful piece.
Even if your pot doesn’t turn out how you intended, you can often salvage it into something else. A flopped vase or bowl evolves into what my teacher calls more “organic” than a perfectly circular pot. Experimentation with cooking is akin to pottery: you start with an idea, but it can take on a life of its own. Oh, and experimentation with baking is like playing with fire! Maybe your recipe will be delicious. Maybe it will blow up in the kiln (or oven). Have I taken this metaphor far enough?
My good intentions (making Dad “legal” desserts that don’t have flour or cane sugar) led me to adapt a recipe I made last weekend from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. Last weekend’s treat was a delicious, dense, moist banana lime bread so good that I carried a big chunk of it outside in the morning with my coffee, only to return 2 minutes later for another big chunk. I couldn’t get enough, but Dad couldn’t have any. Clearly it was time to start substituting critical baking ingredients with absolutely no experience! HEY, at least the result was edible. Not just that, but good.