by Chris Hash.
Today I tried making homemade pasta for the first time.
My husband walked by and asked what I was making. “A mess,” I answered truthfully.
I followed the instructions carefully – or thought I did. But my pasta bore no resemblance to the smooth, perfect pasta shown in the instruction book. It fell apart as I rolled it out; it jammed in the pasta machine; and it ended up in a ragged, sticky pile.
What’s my point?
Well, it takes time and practice to develop skills. First attempts are often messy, lumpy, and awkward.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to lose track of this fact in a media-saturated world. I’m pretty sure Martha Stewart Living has never printed a picture of pasta that looked anything like my first attempt. I think the pasta shown in magazines has been prepared by an expert chef, arranged by a food artist, photographed by a professional, and photoshopped by a graphic artist.
The expert chef’s first attempt might have looked like mine. Alas, media rarely shows first attempts. And comparing honest first attempts with practiced, professional, photoshopped attempts can be very discouraging.
In reality, participation is much more important than perfection. But an over-focus on perfection can hamper participation.
Think, for example, of community soccer. In Kindergarten, hundreds of little children happily participate in community soccer. Many of them haven’t got a clue what they’re doing – but they sure are having fun doing it!
Every year, fewer and fewer children participate in soccer. By about 6th grade, most of those hundreds of kindergartners have dropped out because they’re not “good enough.” By high school, very few kids play any more. (And we wonder why we have an epidemic of childhood obesity!)
Perfection is a lofty goal. But sometimes I think that we should focus less on perfection, and more on joyous, messy, imperfect participation.
By the way, the my ugly homemade pasta tasted pretty good. I think I’ll try it again next week.
Copyright 2012 Mapleton News. May not be rewritten, copied, or distributed.