About 75% of the grilled cheese sandwiches that I’ve eaten in my adult life have been burnt. The surprising thing is that I only burn about 40% of the sandwiches that I make. Obviously my cooking needs some work but even with that, it would seem that I go out of my way to eat burnt grilled cheeses. Closer to the truth is that I refuse to throw away the burnt ones. My wife and children get to eat the quality sandwiches. A burnt grilled cheese sandwich is not a thing to be discarded when you are the cook. The failure to find the correct temperature and timing is a learning opportunity.
Too often we look to forget, edit or deny our painful past. We choose to throw it away as if it were a sandwich that had spent too long on the pan. It is just too difficult to swallow. We cannot face the fact that we made a mistake. Silently we blame circumstances or other people for the charred mess. So we discard it and move on to simpler things that require less skill or timing. This world is filled with the prepackaged, no preparation, no thought products that will make us feel better. Or better yet, there is a soup and grilled cheese restaurant that would be happy to do it for you. In the end, your failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your thought goes from “I didn’t make a good grilled cheese.” to “I CAN’T make a good grilled cheese.” Or maybe worse, ” I can’t cook anything.” This all seems a little extreme for one sandwich but it happens every day with so many things beside sandwiches.
Failure is not fun. I’m not suggesting that you should enjoy it and it is completely unnecessary to live there. However it is useful to digest the things that have happened. Take what nutrients there is to be acquired and improve upon the next attempt. PAY ATTENTION TO THESE TWO POINTS THOUGH! 1.) You should not feel obligated to eat everyone else’s burnt sandwiches. You’re eating your own ONLY in order to get better results in the future. 2.) Don’t get into a competition to prove that your sandwich is the worst. Winning that competition gives you a prize that you don’t want.
So go out into that kitchen that you call your life. Take the ingredients that you have and make the best things that you can think of. When you burn something (and you will), don’t brand yourself a failure. Swallow it down and move onto the next dish. NOTHING that you make will be perfect but all of it will be yours. Own it! Make today perfectly imperfect!