I was born a perfectionist. Alright, “perfectionist” is the word I use for it. My family, friends and coworkers have used other words like “fussy” or “stubborn,” none of which are inaccurate. When I was young, my mom tried to help me grow out of it. While some of those aggressive edges have rounded a bit, parenthood being a contributing factor, the need to do everything to perfection is still waiting for an opportunity to hound me for even minor failures.
This week in the Culinary Nutrition Expert program, I was tasked with creating my very own recipe. Because our classes are all about cooking for health, I needed the recipe to be fibre-rich and allergen free. I hummed and hawed about the perfect recipe. I wanted to showcase my incredible cooking abilities and the depth of my nutrition knowledge. I decided on a muffin recipe. More specifically, a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free blueberry muffin recipe. Further, I decided they were going to be the best damn gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free blueberry muffins that I had ever, ever had. I made a colossal mess in the kitchen. I ground the flour myself from wholegrain brown rice and steel cut oats (that should’ve been my first clue) and tried my hand at some long division and organic chemistry to determine how much baking soda and lemon juice could be subbed for baking powder. As you may have guessed, my first batch was terrible. They were oily, heavy, and repulsive. As is evidenced by this photo:
I was so disappointed, but I knew I could figure it out. I was certain that my second batch would be spectacular! My confidence high, I pulled my second attempt from the oven to find that they were very slightly less oily, heavy, and repulsive, but by a very narrow margin. At this point, I had a decision to make: keep striving for the perfect muffin or go back to the drawing board with something else and accept that maybe today wasn’t the day for the best damn gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free blueberry muffins.
And you know what? I called it quits on the muffins. And I moved on to try something new, which turned out awesome (Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower with Cilantro-Caper Chutney coming soon!).
As evidenced by this post, this whole situation got me thinking about perfection. When I try something new, I want to be great at it already. I don’t want to have to practice to get better. Unfortunately, that isn’t how things work, especially health-related things. Shifting our food choices, exercise habits, and responses to our own emotions can be really difficult and take years to develop. Just when we think we have a skill mastered, something new pops up and we have to start all over again. That said, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Don’t wait to try something new just because you won’t be perfect yet. Don’t wait to make better life choices just because you don’t have the best one figured out yet. Finally, for goodness sake, don’t throw out all the muffins because they aren’t perfect.