I am not a joiner.
And yet five years ago, I joined an online baking group. Not just a baking group, but one that set for itself high goals and tight deadlines (something I didn't need more of in my life). I told myself, This is a terrible idea. Still, I joined.
Predictably, I stressed out over the deadlines. I hunted down impossible-to-find ingredients, was frustrated by my ineptitude and my failures, and was consistently pushed to produce complicated items I never would have attempted on my own.
I wanted to quit--Lord only knows how many times I promised myself, After this challenge, that's IT.
But then each time, there was that moment after I hit the Publish button and the post finally went live (with a great sigh of relief and always at the last possible second), that the Daring Bakers started to appear with their comments, offering their encouragement, support, commiseration, and instruction. I still have friendships I made over failed pate a choux all those years and posts ago.
Almost without realizing it, I learned so much that I actually started to want to know more. I no longer waited for challenges to push myself. I started a little baking blog to chronicle my experiments. And then, eventually, somehow, I became a pastry chef. And here we are.
To Lis, thank you for planting that seed of daring. And to everyone else who who stayed up too damn late boiling sugar syrup and offered advice on making cannoli molds out of dowels and otherwise cultivated that seed along with me, I thank you also.
I'm still suffering PTSD flashbacks from the December 2008 French Yule Log Challenge (shudder). Anyone else?