Tag Archives: Souffle

Fear Challenge 1/5: Souffle

In the post that is called ‘The Things I’ve Never Done: Part 2,’ I set five goals for myself.
Well, I completed one.

I made a vanilla souffle.

…And it did not go well.

Do me a favor: Visit Google, type in ‘Vanilla Souffle,’ and click on the image search function. Then, look at the pictures.
Do you get how the souffle is supposed to look, all puffy and bursting out of the ramekin?

This is mine:

photo 2

It ACTUALLY did the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what it was supposed to do!
And NO, I didn’t slam anything or bump anything!

I was PISSED.
…Then, I found it kind of funny. And I ate them.
I actually have never eaten a souffle before this and, if I’m honest, it was quite disappointing. Sure, it did not rise, but that wouldn’t have mattered. It tasted like…baked eggs with sugar. If you want that kind of taste, why not make a smooth, yummy custard instead of this?

So, all of this time, I’d been scared to make a souffle.

Did it hurt my ego a bit that it didn’t rise?
Sure.

There are those people who are good at almost everything…you know who I mean? The people who are kind of scary because everything that they do just turns out great and wonderful, or they take to a game or a sport or whatever, and they’re perfect at it.

Oh, this woman who I know is a doctor, but on the side, she knits opera gloves for orphans! Oh, you need to have her show them to you, but that’s nothing compared to what she did for her daughter: She sewed her wedding dress! Didn’t even use a pattern; it was her first time, too. …Yes, her first time sewing! Oh, and you know those amazing cookies in the break room? Guess who baked them!

Well, I am not one of those people.
I default to ‘inept,’ and that really bugs me sometimes. Yes, this involves practice time, as well. It’s downright tiring.
It makes me feel like I’m always outside looking in, which is how I’ve felt my entire life; like a puzzle piece that doesn’t fit anywhere.

Don’t get me wrong: I like being the odd puzzle piece.

But being inept at so many things makes it so difficult to interact with other human beings when you know, no matter how hard you try, that you will lose that cutesy board game, or that new project you wanted to try that is outside of your comfort-zone will turn out a mess EVERY TIME.
A lot of people enjoy ‘a bit of competition;’ it motivates them to be better and strive for greatness, but all it’s ever done for me was make me feel like shit. There are many times in my life where I’d asked myself, in earnest:

Am I good at anything? Anything at all?

The silence following that question is awful.

So, I came to the conclusion that instead of feeling horrible about myself for my ineptness, I would strive for MY best. When I did not bother to compare how I was doing next to others, it made me happier and more willing to continue with all of the things I’m inept with that I love to do. I no longer thought things like:

Why bother? I’ll never be any good at this, so what’s the point?

…and started thinking:

So what if this person is so good that it makes my skills look juvenile? I did my best, and I’m proud of myself!

It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
So good, in fact, that I had a revelation: I reject competition, in and of itself.
It’s certainly not a popular thing to say, but it works for me.

Even though I’ve made this personal progress with myself, I do become fearful of failing at something I feel I’m good at; it’s something I need to work on. Baking is cooking’s sister, so I honestly become scared to do it sometimes because I hate it when I make mistakes.

I would salivate whenever people made souffles on TV; they look SO good…but I was sure mine wouldn’t come out right. And I was jealous of the people who could make them so perfectly. But the funny thing is…it wasn’t as delicious as I thought it’d be. It looks amazing (when it’s done correctly), but I’d be almost embarrassed to serve something that tastes like that to my friends and family. Cut up some strawberries, sprinkle some baker’s sugar on them, and serve it with some angel food cake…call it a day. It is way less work, more filling, and a better dessert, anyway.

Maybe people make souffles simply because they’re difficult and they want to impress people…

Anyway…I did what I said I’d do: I made the souffle.
Did what I was afraid of happening happen?
Yes.
How did I handle it?
Just fine.

The Things I’ve Never Done: Part 2

It was late on a weekday night.
I really needed some cartridges for my electronic cigarette, and I know of a place that’s open 24 hours a day that sells them: A gas station.
I trotted into the little store, not really expecting anybody else to be there, but sure enough, a man stood at the counter, talking to the cashier.

Coming up behind the man, I patiently waited for my turn, and as I did, I began to space out and look around.

If you’ve read the majority of my posts, you may already know how I have a deep affection for foreign cashiers who call me ‘honey’ or some other pet name like that. Well, this cashier is one of those. I’ve been there a handful of times, and people tend to remember me. So now, whenever I’m there, his eyes light up in recognition.

I digress.

There are many things to catch a person’s attention in gas stations because they’re almost always bursting at the seams with merchandise, but I just had to pause at a certain wall, which was the right and front of the counter.
It was filled with condoms. ALL different kinds of condoms.

Magnum Thin
Magnum Ecstasy

A strained smile stretched across my face as I choked on a giggle. It’s not that I’m so much of a child that I find large condoms funny, but it was thought of me, (this short, demure, pathologically polite woman) cavalierly plucking a box of Magnums from the wall, and tossing them onto the counter.
‘Hey. How ya doin’?’
I’d stretch my arms out, placing my palms on either side of the counter top, then tap my fingers, looking past the cashier.
‘Phfft…’ I’d make a long, obnoxious sigh while squinting to read the text of the tiny boxes behind him. ‘Gimme a box of V2 Reds, would ya?’

I wonder if he’d still call me ‘honey’ after that.
My smile was almost out of control.
Going to a gas station to get a box of condoms…who DOES that? I have never once done such a thing. I mean, how do you fail to plan for that? And if you did, could you ever show your face in the store again?

My mind went momentarily blank.

Ok, let’s pretend that you NEED those Magnum condoms. Your imaginary boyfriend’s in the car, waiting outside and…and the grocery store was completely out of larger condoms and he simply cannot fit into regular ones. Oh, and he totally decided to come and visit at random (he’s sweet like that) and you just went to dinner, and he was alluding to the fact that he wanted to make love to you as you guys were heading home, and you PROMISED him that you’d get the condoms, but you didn’t. So, it’s up to YOU to get those condoms…RIGHT NOW, do or die! What’re you going to do?

I looked from the cashier to the condoms…then back at the cashier, and the condoms, again. My brow furrowed in desperation.

Hhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllllooooooooooo…hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhoooooooooonnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyy…
His voice warbled in bass tones as the scene played out in black and white, slow motion in my imagination; his eyes traveled down to the black box I had laid on the counter. When they came back up, he stared at me in pained disappointment, as if he were silently saying ‘Say it isn’t so…’

White hot embarrassment shot through my body at the thought of it.

You’re 31 years old and you’re seriously too ashamed to buy a fucking box of condoms? REALLY? Just grab them and stop being ridiculous!

Try as I may, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

‘Hello, honey!’
This time, he was actually talking to me. Giving him a very big, but almost culpable smile, I came up to the counter, defeated.

I’d officially let my imaginary boyfriend down. I was ashamed of myself, and I just knew we were going to fight about it the entire way home.

When I got back into the car, the situation haunted me. I’d wussed out, much like the way I had with so many other things due to fear. Even though it’s very foreign to me, buying a pack of condoms at a gas station is something that’s relatively normal, yet when I pressed myself to do so, I prevented myself from doing it.

How many things are there that you’ve missed out on…how many ‘normal’ things have you missed out on because of your fear?

Well, I’ve decided that I should try to do some of these things. Like I said, they’re normal things, so no bungee jumping or anything like that, just, things that my panic or fear has prevented me from doing. And I’m setting a time limit for myself: August.

Here is my list:

1. Get a pedicure.
I’ve never had one…EVER. I wasn’t interested as a kid, I couldn’t afford it in college, and I was too scared to do it with my panic because I felt like I’d be unable to ‘escape’ if I needed to.

2. Do a home improvement project completely on my own.
I have not dared to even attempt this, as I’m terrified of screwing something up in my home. This is the first house I’ve ever bought, I’m not really very handy, so I’m scared that I can’t do it.

3. Go to a bar alone.
That’s right…alone. I’ve met up with people at bars who I’ve arranged to meet with before hand, but I’ve never just gone by myself. Besides, being in a crowded place and with loud people and no support is horrifying.

4. Make a souffle.
The souffle is supposed to be one of the most difficult dishes to make, and to be honest, I’m proud of my cooking skills…so proud that I’m scared of finding out that I’m not able to do this. I know…you’re probably thinking that this one is lame, but it’s scary to me, and that’s why I haven’t done it, so it’s on the list.

5. Buy condoms.
If you thought that I would let that one go, you were mistaken. It’s personal now, so there.

Five goals. Five months.
Hold me accountable.

3, 2, 1…BEGIN