When You Fail at Things You’re Good At

Not to humble brag, but I have few disasters in the kitchen. But when I have them, boy, do I have them.  The other week when I was ill I decided that the only thing that would help my summer head-cold would be if I baked some homemade peasant bread.

Yea, I don’t know what I was thinking either. Let’s blame it on all the medicine I was taking. And the fact that I really, really, really wanted to eat some real bread. When I crave carbs and the local shop is closed it is painful for anyone who has to deal with me. So I decided to make my own bread, while feverish and sniffling. For the ever-loving-life of me I could not get this bread to rise. I even turned the oven on, and cracked the door open to make the kitchen warmer and more conducive to bread rising.

I was inspired by this recipe at Alexandra’s Kitchen. It’s a beautiful simple peasant bread. This is how Alexandra’s turned out:

Picture from the above website. Beautiful, right?
Well this is how mine turned out:
Distinctly ugly.
Not beautiful. And to be honest, I was really ashamed. I mean, I still ate it. Sam still ate it. But it was still an epic fail visually! (Though ugly, it was still really tasty.) But I’m the kind of person that picks the best cupcakes out of the batch for Sam when he’s bringing some in with him to work. I really pride myself in the kitchen and I am embarassed when I do something badly.

I’m a type-A personality. I dislike being bad at anything. I strive for perfection. And I fail in a million different little ways and it really does irk me.  I’ve always been this way. As a 3rd grader I would spend hours making sure my homework was perfect. It got to the point where in 6th grade I was waking up in the middle of the night to look over my work again and again. My mom started keeping my backpack in her room at night so that I wouldn’t sneak out of bed to keep working. That is really crazy, right?! Okay, I’m borderline obsessive compulsive and struggle with generalised anxiety, but perfectionism just adds its ugly face to these attributes.I’ve learned to give myself time limits over the years. If something isn’t done to my satisfaction in a certain pre-set amount of time I will walk away from it for the day to avoid starting to obsess over it.

Sam is a perfectionist when it comes to certain things- work being one. But one of the brilliant things that I have learned (and am hopefully picking up) from him is the ability to accept my failures with grace and to not dwell on them for too long.

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  • I’m definitely not a perfectionist compared to you, but I can totally relate to feeling utterly deflated after a minor cooking disaster. C always eats everything happily, but with each bite I am thinking about how it could be better… πŸ™‚

  • Tami

    Our faults are what make us, us! But I’m with ya, sometimes they’re hard to accept.

  • Sarah @ To Be Mrs. Collier

    Growing up, my parents always told me to be the best me that I can be. Well, that irritates me because there is no end to that! I can’t cross it off a list. Striving for perfection is exhausting and I always feel like I come up short! So I had to ditch that mindset and whenever I have kids, tell them perfection is not real. Hard work and dedication every day is.

  • mary_smith

    I’ve had my share of cooking/baking disasters. Like when I attempted tofu and we ended up eating turkey sandwiches instead. Oh well. Y a live and learn!

  • Selene Over the Pond


  • KElizabeth

    Haha, oh well! And if it mkes you feel better I make fresh bread weekly in the fall and winter and I still get the occasional dud that comes out like a hockey puck…


  • Tayler Morrell

    I know exactly how you feel–I am also A type personality as well as having anxiety disorder!

    Our Faidy Tale

  • Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often

    I love to bake and have had a few things not turned out the way they should be. A good trick is to place your bowl of dough on a heating pad. It helps it to rise quicker especially in areas where the weather varies. From one perfectionist/Type A person to another I totally can relate!

  • I’m Type A as well. When I go on vacation, I panic about all the things I left behind at work that I should have done, could have done differently and then I accuse myself of having done things wrong. I want everything to be perfect.

    If you learn how to accept them with grace, let me know! I could use some advice there too.

  • Chelsee W

    I know what you mean! At least it was tasty!!!

  • Amy @ The Tide That Left

    You should see the mess I make in the kitchen. It’d make you feel a whole lot better about a (not so) ugly loaf of bread.

    Thanks for the note – you absolutely should get away somewhere warm and souq filled. I could spend hours sorting through all the pretties.

    • Thank you Amy! And thank you for posting such lovely pictures of the souq today and making me jealous that I’m not traveling right now! xx

  • Karly Kim

    Is it weird that I think the bread still looks delicious?! Perfect in my eyes πŸ™‚

    • HA! Yes Karly that is weird. Good thing I love you anyways! xx

  • Haley

    Aww.. I can’t imagine a little 6th grader sneaking out at night to check over her homework to make sure it was perfect.
    Good for you for setting limits on your activities! My hubby is very OCD with things too. NOT with cleaning unfortunately.. but with anything that he’s doing. Folding towels, painting, putting flooring in, or the other day I fixed Alina’s piggy tail to the best of MY ability.. And apparently it was noooot good enough. LOL That’s the best thing about relationships.. well good ones; we help each other out with our little quirks.

  • Patricia

    I’ve been there! When the recipe turns out particularly bad, my husband asks if I found it on Pinterest…

  • aww that stinks it didn’t turn out as expected. at least it was still tasty! I get upset too when things don’t turn out perfectly because I can be a perfectionist too, so I feel ya πŸ™‚
    — jackie @ jade and oak