Just Eat It–for days when even the internet can’t save you from culinary disaster

Gilda Radner said: “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”

Gilda’s sage advice about living life with the acceptance of improvisation in the face of failure reminds me of my own baking experiments over the past year in trying again and again to get my bread to rise. Some days, it was a cranky packet of yeast, others it was a cold draft running through the kitchen. I still ate down every slice because I didn’t want to waste the food or all the hours I spent in communion with this flour/water/yeasty creation.

Here’s making do with what you’ve got in a world of delicious ambiguity.

Making Do

Buy organic eggs,

give more to Goodwill,

be bold, she said,

because that was how she moved–

she knew what she wanted 

and earned it with long hours

and a morality that made the pastor in town

cry himself to sleep with envy.

For some reason she decided 

to be my friend, decided to teach 

me to be a better person, 

teach me to make good bread

Knead dough so its surface shines

like the inside of an oyster.

In the dusky night of my kitchen

with bare feet humming on dusty floor

I pummeled my plain-dusted 

pillow of a loaf into the counter

Palmed it down and around,

smoother and higher 

so it accrued a gravitational

pull toward its doughy center. 

But when I took the lump 

from the oven, the crust

was creased and brown, 

covering a meaty thick

middle laying low in the steel pan:

my whole wheat rock born in-


I ate a warm slice with butter,

barely swallowed it down 

without choking. 

I could blame the loss

on my friend although 

I knew that in my hands

nothing could go right,

so I downed another slice 

with jelly.

There’s nothing like the glower of a judgemental cat to watch over any baking adventure.

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