Esoteric Baking

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Making an unusual bread recipe, that actually is not bread at all, I remembered the internet comments on the recipe I first learned that led to this current personal version. “Don’t read the comment section, Mom!” my kids warn me, because there is often unrestrained negativity expressed in comments. I have learned to practice neutrality in order to patiently get to the gems within the ranting. I hope you will find some useful wisdoms in this note for your own experimental contemplations.

As happens when a project is more difficult than one’s mind hoped for, this particular recipe evoked quite a bit of complaining among the readers. I made note of the repeated themes, both positive and negative. Then happily set about my first attempt. Because the ingredients were far from ordinary in baking, the various stages of the bread’s production did not appear ordinary either. I repeatedly warned my husband in the next room, “I’m not sure this will be edible!”

Even when first removed from the bread pan, the initial appearance troubled me. Per instructions, we gave it time before intrepidly taking our first bite. The pretend bread turned out better than better! My husband and I became instant converts. Our first meal of the day always includes a hunky slice of this psyllium-based bread slathered with butter.

As happens, the market is not able to keep up with demand. Psyllium bread has become a “thing” due to the rise of keto and paleo diet popularity. Necessity is the mother of invention, the old saying goes. And my history of cooking bears this out. My recipe evolved into a unique version personal to our local market and our tastes. Every time I make it, I remember the fuss and stink of the upset commenters on that first posted recipe. And I ponder why they experienced trouble and I did not.

Life is such a huge mirror; at least it is, if one relaxes and looks for the lessons. I am just as guilty as anyone when it comes to frustration with my own ignorance. What are these bloody obstacles? I. just. need. my. happiness! We all do. And O! what a gamut of shenanigans we get up to in attempting to get what we think we need. Or we give up. Giving up can be viewed as weak, but, in my experience, giving up is the first step to opening up my willingness to be taught.

I could teach you all kinds of secrets and tips on baking. I took up the learning of it about age 20. Not sharing how many years that has been now! But this rumination initiated from pondering a deeper lesson from interacting with today’s version of community. Learning, improving one’s experience of life, or advancing oneself in this everchanging world, has not changed. Nor is it anything new for folks to complain and struggle about their perceived inability to learn. And that blaming the teacher? Yep, that is not new either.

The big obstacle is giving up ego. Of course, everyone can make the decision that this activity is not their path. But, guess what? Sooner or later, when you are honest, you begin to notice you learned from that failure so long ago. Maybe you will never attempt baking again, but that lesson keeps evolving every time one revisits the memory. The lesson expands whether one remembers the experience of frustration with life or not.

Some are never going to give up fighting the idea that life is unfair. Others are going to submit to their sense of failure and identify with it. There are others who, somewhat annoyingly at times, believe current successes support their right to barge forth over the top of others’ real needs for balance. Going back to my description of how necessity insisted I adapt the original recipe so that I could keep cooking. I did not consciously think about adapting the recipe, except upon those moments I discovered a new obstacle. In the moment, I just looked for another way. But first! I surrendered, completely, the idea of making the bread. I stepped away before allowing my ego to interfere with creativity.

And I kept reminding myself: this may not be palatable! as I consciously tried out various ideas. Experimentation means learning from failure. Did you hate science labs because you could never get to the correct result? I did, but I decided the challenge was far more interesting than being an A student. Laughing at mistakes turned out to be as much fun as finally figuring out why my experiment failed. In truth, laughing eased the way for learning to occur. And where does laughing come from?

Understanding we are here, alive, to learn, to grow and evolve, and to continue to learn from our mistakes, is the secret ingredient. This special ingredient paves the way for humble receptivity to others’ greater experience…. Not to give up our true selves; rather, to discover our true selves. . . by giving up what is holding one back. Dive In to whatever is your private joy. The single intent to create your perfect loaf of bread, today, keeps rising and expanding, and what an aroma! Neighbours will walk more slowly past your window while You Are Cooking. Cooking up the happier You.

Keep raising your loaf of bread, higher, wider. Life is no longer perceived as unfair upon discovering how to play. . . instead of objecting.

Posted on August 23, 2018 .