Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Cinnamon Roll Theory of Life

Last night I made cinnamon rolls. This isn't very interesting if you don't know I have tried to make these rolls for almost 10 years.  Don't laugh so hard, yes I said 10 years.

Many years ago (well, almost 10) I took a class by a lady who used to own a bakery.  She demonstrated how to make amazing cinnamon rolls.  These weren't just any rolls, these were so fabulous they could haunt your dreams.  I saw everything she did and took notes.  I went home and tried to make them the next day.  Utter failure.  Cinnamon rolls should not be dense enough to throw at people's heads as weapons.  Just saying.

So I tried again and again.  Some of the results were not pretty.  I have tormented friends and relatives with these horrible creations, but yet I continued to try.  This brings us to last night.  Somewhere between finishing the project I mentioned yesterday (btw no one gave me any suggestions, so I took on yet another project.) and dinner I decided to try the rolls again with a few alterations.

I have to admit the first attempt was horrible.  I made something resembling lumpy glue.  Not pretty.  So I started the process a second time last night, and the result was amazing!  In fact, they are possibly the best rolls I have ever eaten, maybe even better than the originals she made years ago.  (I do have to admit my memory of those rolls is a little dim, it was 10 years ago...)

I am sure you are dying to know what I did differently this time.  (Maybe "dying to know" is an over statement.  Maybe just "slightly curious" or "bored and still reading" apply more.)  I made substitutions.  Yep, that's it.  There was one part of the recipe which never worked for me.  I always thought it was why the rolls were hard, but I wasn't sure.  Last night I changed it to another similar ingredient and it worked like magic.

It struck me as I was cleaning the kitchen after the roll making event that I had stumbled on a deep metaphor for life.  As long as I can remember I have been given a recipe for living my life.  My family, friends, and even society tell me what I need to add to my life to have the perfect result.  Some of these things seem like a good idea, but some of them just don't work for me.  After adding a few cups of this and a few tablespoons of that I usually realize the recipe isn't quite right.  I am not getting the results I expected.  The funny part is that I keep trying the same things over and over. You would think I would learn.

When it comes to happiness everyone has a slightly different recipe for success.  (Yep, I just had to throw that trite metaphor in there.  Mrs Jenkins, my freshman English teacher, that one was for you.)  While some ingredients, such as flour and yeast are vital, other things such as type of flour and quality of yeast are flexible.   Knowing when to alter things a little bit is important.  In fact, as I proved last night it can be the difference between success and failure.

So I close this metaphor with a thought.  Work on the recipe of your life.  Look at your ingredients and see if anything is causing your life to be harder than it needs be.  Add only the best ingredients and remove or substitute the things you don't like.  Keep notes, as you don't want to forget what you have changed. And in the end enjoy your result.  As I have learned with 10 years of experimenting, the reward is sweet...and yummy too!

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