I've been thinking a lot about my "disappointing" first few months. If you’ve ever made pancakes, you know that the first one is always the worst.
That’s a bit what these first two months have felt like. I prepared the batter, heated up the pan, and the first one just wasn’t right. In fact, looking back, it’s more like my first pancake as if I’d never made pancakes before – I looked for a few recipes online, I found one that I liked and seemed simple enough, I followed the directions as closely as possible... but I had to substitute a little water for eggs because I didn’t want to waste time running to the store in the middle, I heated the the pan up a bit too high, I got all excited spooning in the batter and then – yuck! Not a complete failure, and still something to be proud of, but not the nice fluffy pancake the recipe promised.
As any aspiring chef, I’m going back and looking at other recipes, comparing the ingredients, figuring out what I should have done differently, and willing to try a few more before giving up completely. I know that confidence will grow with each new pancake, and I might even try a “plate cake” one day – what my family calls the really huge pancakes that take up the whole pan. You need to be very comfortable with both your batter and pan to attempt a plate cake – especially a nice round one, perfectly golden on both sides.
Now, I could go buy a mold, to get the fun shapes. And I probably will one day, when what I want to make is dinosaur-shaped pancakes. But for now, I am happy just to work on my batter, and get to know my pan, working my way up to the confidence and experience to attempt a plate cake.
The first pancake was always going to be a bit rough. I see that now. And no matter what the other chefs online say, their first pancakes were probably pretty rough, too. Sure there might be a few star chefs who are able to do it. But I am not a star chef. I am not even an amateur chef who tries out for a cooking competition. Expecting a plate cake on the first try just from following a recipe I found online (and with missing ingredients!) was definitely setting the bar higher than was realistically possible.
However, I’m not upset that I tried for a plate cake. I wasn’t trying to make the same old pancake I’ve been making for years. I wanted something different. And by setting such a high goal, and searching for inspiration and direction online, I learned a lot more than I would have just flipping through my grandmother’s old cookbook.
Right, now I'm hungry, so I'm off to make some (real) pancakes!