Kitchen Disasters: Why Messes are Important

by graceelena on November 19, 2013

Have I ever told you about my love of food disasters?

Like the time I was making frosting for a friends birthday cake. I tossed the butter and cocoa into the kitchen aid mixer and turned it on high. A cloud of cocoa powder immediately erupted all over me, the counter, and the guy standing next to me. The guy who happened to be buttering his corn on the cob at the time. He quietly turned to me and said, “There is chocolate on my corn.” “Yes.” Then he walked away.

Or the time I was baking a cake for a vlog. Baking while also explaining each step and smiling at the camera is surprisingly difficult. Just as I was explaining the importance of leveling off your dry ingredients, I lightly touched an egg that then rolled just quickly enough to fall right onto the floor.

Then there was the time I made homemade marshmallows and for days everything I touched felt sticky.

These moments make me laugh. Loudly. It’s my first reaction and largely uncontrollable. Normally it’s not a problem, but today, well, today I was at work when the food disaster struck.

I was at work early for an event. An event that involved a Senator. I was asked to make more coffee. A simple task. I watched the coffee slowly drip into the carafe. I was tired from a late night and too early morning. The coffee filled the carafe in a steady stream while hot water began to pour from the side of the coffee maker covering the counter. I watched for too long. I caught the last few drops of hot water in a plastic cup. The rest dripped onto the floor. I cleaned up the mess and continued to wait. The carafe was full to the 4 cup line, then the 6, then 8, 10, 12, and 16. Done … except it wasn’t. Coffee continued to fill the carafe and it was picking up speed. I flicked the switch to off but it kept coming. Coffee was overflowing onto the counter. There was nothing to be done without moving the carafe first. I dove in, grabbed the carafe, and said a prayer of thanks that my pain tolerance is high as my hands were covered in hot coffee. Several cups and a coffee lake later, the machine stopped.

The entire time I was biting my lip to keep from laughing. A meeting with a Senator was happening in the next room and all I wanted to do was run in and share my story with them. I held it together, wiped down the carafe, and carried it into the meeting.

I live for these moments. The moments when you think you know what you are doing or everything is running to plan when suddenly–it’s not–and you have to figure out how to get back on track. Sometimes that means your hands are bathed in hot coffee or your best friends kitchen is covered in a thick coating of chocolate but sometimes the messes are bigger. Sometimes it takes more than a sponge and paper towels to clean up the mess, to start over. But we do. We figure it out and we move forward. These moments remind us of our strength and fortitude. These moments remind us that we are alive.

I embrace these moments, with or without food, but always hope they come with a side of spilled bacon grease, a lap full of ketchup covered eggs,  or green juice on the ceiling.