Saturday, February 4, 2012

Achieving A Failure

Achieving A Failure
And that's a good thing because it means I'm working and experimenting. What's the sense of finding some comfortable niche that only limits my growth as a bread baker or artist. To always succeed at something bespeaks a timid attitude. Yes, I can always bake the same loaf of bread using the same procedures, and that's what professional bakers need to do if they're selling to the public. Or, I can keep painting the same scene with slight variations, never taking any real chances, because then I might be afraid no one would want to buy my work, but what kind of a life is this?

When Dylan wrote, "there's no success like failure," he wasn't joking. And when Emerson said "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," it doesn't take a quantum leap to draw a parallel with what Dylan said.
Yes, it's much more difficult for me to make a piece of art using unfamiliar colors and materials or construct an earth oven of unusual design. Sure, I might fail, but I'd prefer that to riding on a wave of certitude that will always inhibit my growth.

Today I am changing my sourdough bread formula. Day#1  Normally I use about 1/4 cup of sourdough starter for a loaf of bread. Today I stirred in a full cup of starter. I don't really know (although I think I do) what will happen, but I'll let you know the results. Day#2. The resulting bread was heavy, although filled with mouse holes, between them it was dense and very sour, not exactly my favorite.

Yes, I used too much sourdough starter, but I had to go to that place. I went there because I was asking my perennial question. What if?

P.S. I forgot to mention in my last post that I never did get an opportunity to achieve another failure in Guatemala making corn tortillas. I was simply too busy building stoves, and I didn't have time to mess with the masa harina. Just as well.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Back from Guatemala

I'm back home now from Guatemala, and as always, my stomach needs a little bit of repair. Unfortunately it's not so easy to stay well there, and there's not too much you can do about it. One does have to eat, drink and touch things.
Anyway, lots of energy efficient stoves were built by our group, and you can see some smiling faces by one of the stoves. My son Eric financed the cost of materials for the stove in the photo.
The stoves we build are intended to replace the "three stone fires" where Mayas develop all kinds of respiratory problem from constantly breathing smoke.

Energy efficient stove for making flat breads (tortillas), soups and for general cooking purposes.

Maya shrouded in a miasma of unhealthy smoke from cooking over a "three stone fire."