These mistakes can be immediately insignificant and easily forgivable, like the time I mixed up baking powder and baking soda and served my family an utterly flat Indian Corn Pudding.
Lesson learnt from this mistake: Read the recipe properly.
Sometimes, mistakes can be mortifying, and it can take years for them to become retrospectively entertaining. For example, hypothetically speaking (ahem), a girl in grade four might allow herself to be peer-pressured into signing her name to a love letter that her friends wrote, on her behalf, to a boy she didn’t have a crush on (but whom her friends thought she “matched with”). The girl might be peer-pressured into letting the friends deliver the love letter to the boy, even though she starts crying as soon as they skip away to do so. The girl might fully realise her mistake when she sees the boy read the letter and then immediately throw it into a bin. (Ah well, at least she never liked him in the first place.)
Lesson learnt from this mistake: Never let anyone sign your name to something you wouldn’t have written yourself. Also, don’t be peer-pressured, y’all.
There are other, far more serious, mistakes that many of us make in life. Mistakes that have the potential to do greater harm than we’d thought possible. Mistakes like trying to change yourself into what you think the world requires you to be, rather than what you truly are or want to be. Mistakes like focusing only on what you haven’t achieved rather than the myriad successes you have had. Mistakes like thinking you can only be happy if you’ve ticked every box in someone else’s definition of The Perfect Life. Mistakes like thinking that what you are, right now, isn’t good enough.
Lesson learnt from such mistakes: You are more than good enough, always.
You know what? Suddenly, the recent mistake I made of burning the edges of my chocolate coconut biscuit magic slice, and then eating a quarter of it in one sitting in an attempt to shush my emotions, doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.
Because even a burnt slice can be good enough, if you cut away the bad bits and share it with the people you love. After all, sharing is never, ever a mistake.
From The Australian Women’s Weekly Cakes and Slices Cookbook
- 90g butter, melted
- 1 cup (125g) sweet biscuit crumbs (I used a combination of Arnott’s Nice Biscuits and gluten-free, dairy-free coconut macaroons)
- 1 1/2 cups (185g) Choc Bits
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup chopped mixed nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)
- 400g can sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line a 23cm square slab tin.
- Pour butter into prepared pan, then sprinkle evenly with biscuit crumbs, Choc Bits, coconut, and nuts. Drizzle over sweetened condensed milk.
- Bake in moderate oven for 20-25 minutes (check at 20 minutes. The original recipe said 30 minutes, which is a PATENT OUTRIGHT NOGOODSTINKYFACE LIE. I pulled mine out at 28 minutes, because I forgot to check earlier although I meant to, and PATENT OUTRIGHT NOGOODSTINKYFACE burnt bits greeted me.)
- Cool in pan before cutting; store in refrigerator for up to one week. (We also had success with freezing squares and letting them defrost at room temperature, so that they lasted longer than a week.)
Question Time: What is something you’ve learnt from a past mistake?