From the Ashes of Disaster Come the Macarons of Success

Ficus cookies.

THAT is what I have taken to calling the maddeningly touchy almond cookie of the French. (If you have never owned a ficus, or have particularly good luck with ficuses ((fici?)), then you may not catch my drift.)

They are a pain in the rear end.

I have made a grand total of four batches and finally have something resembling those little Parisian crabby patties.

From the initial sifting, to the aged egg whites for the merengue, to the gentle folding, and the final patience testing rest and bake time, SO MANY THINGS CAN GO WRONG.

I think that’s why I’ve been so persistent with these. I’m not used to this sort of culinary failure. Yeast breads? No problem! Pie crust? Runs in my blood! Decadent cake? Already licking the spoon! But the macaron? First try didn’t even remotely resemble the shiny dome and bubbly feet I’d come to know and love.

As I was being razzed mercilessly by those people whom we sometimes call friends and family, (with the exception of Cousin Jennifer, who stuck by me like a champ) my resolve strengthened further. I would rise from these ashes. And finally… finally, I have skewered my standard into uncharted territory. Battle no. 1 is won.


After discovering that these make essentially the best ice cream sandwiches ever, I may have trouble choosing an alternate filling.

In keeping with my tradition of mixing food with philosophy, (is there any better way?) I have found that in the pursuit of the perfect macaron, I discovered a persistence that is *maybe* migrating to other areas of my life. I love to learn and try new things, and I don’t do it nearly enough.


It’ll make too big a mess.

It’ll take too long.

Does it even really matter?

I will probably FAIL.

The failure is definitely a deterrent. I don’t think there’s anyone who actually loves failing, but I avoid it like Gollum avoids Elves.

And humans.

And dwarves,

And the dark lord.

I like hobbits too. Easy, happy, content hobbits. Unless they’re tricksy, then count me out.

When my first batch of macarons flopped, I wanted to give up. Really. And I know it sounds silly and pointless in relation to eternity, but I felt like crap.

I avoid any situation like that in life–any situation where I could fail or make a fool of myself or have to be corrected or taught. However, when you start chopping out opportunities that involve those things, you start to realize that you don’t have many opportunities left.

So I don’t know where that leaves me, or you, for that matter. But maybe, just maybe if we stop ruling things out because of failure, we’ll find something that surprises us.

Keep those heads in the clouds.



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