I'd like to think that when I get in the kitchen, I have the best intentions. But to be honest, every time the oven turns on, the motive is different. On the best days, I bake to bring the brush to canvas, to see what happens when the flavors, the colors and the stories that have been brewing go from head to hands to reality. At other times I bake to order, which, is a lovely routine that requires little thought and a lot of heart, because tell me, who sends cupcakes out the door without heart?
But quite frequently, there is another reason I do it. I bake to forget the hours before the apron was tied on, the candle was lit and the music was turned low. This kind of baking typically yields one of two results: that which is completely brilliant and that which turns totally disastrous.
Tonight I met that second result. Things started off well enough, as many adventures with Easter candy generally do. There was vanilla and there was food coloring. The butter was beat just right and the piping was lovely. But then, well then things ended not so wonderfully, as, ironically, many adventures with Easter candy also tend to do.
There was a chocolate dip, there was a hammer (!), and there was a whirlwind that looked like Little Bunny Foo Foo went on a straight up bippity-bopping bender all over the damn forest, trashing cupcakes, hotel rooms and more. And the Good Fairy was nowhere to be seen.
Luckily in every disaster there is, of course, a lesson.
In Italy, there is a cookie called Brutti ma Buoni. The "ugly but goods." This name has always made sense to me for many reasons, not excluding the fact that those biscotti and a cup of coffee just so happen to be holy matrimony in a breakfast-in-bed treat.
I think that what you learn traveling through the creative process is that, just like in life, the key to growth is to stop taking the disasters so seriously. Or to look at them not as failures but as beautiful messes that took you from point A to point B...even if point B finds you sitting on the kitchen floor with a half-spilled glass of wine, laughing through tears as some horribly moody old John Lee Hooker song plays in the living room and you are faced with the ugliest cupcakes you have ever seen.
Which is where I was tonight, when my thoughts and imagination exploded into something not-so-pretty, but hell, deliriously delicious and worthwhile in its own right.