This afternoon I made a batch of granola, then I tossed it out into the yard for the birds and tried again. You wouldn’t think something as simple as granola would pose much of a problem for a girl who can successfully replicate Chicago deep dish pizza in her own kitchen, but the second batch ended up in the yard too. Some days are like that.
I’m really not very good at not being good at things, but a certain amount of failure is inevitable. And each of those small failures is, of course, a learning experience: screwing things up may actually be the best way to figure out how to do them correctly. Two burnt batches of granola have ensured that future batches — and there will be future batches — won’t spend more than thirty minutes in the oven, no matter how pale and soggy the oats still appear to be. Sure, a recipe can warn you of such pitfalls (as, um, I believe mine did), but you might not fully internalize those warnings until you’ve spent an afternoon making and photographing food for birds.
Our culinary blunders, then, are more setbacks than defeats, each burnt bite nudging us along toward perfection (or at least toward edible breakfast food). Good news for granola girls; bad news for birds.