When we went to France last summer, one of the things that I wanted to take back to the states with me was giving up multi-tasking. While in France, I worked hard (so sad) to focus on one thing at a time. Enjoy the moment and completely focus on the thing at hand. There have actually been studies that show that multi-taskers don't do things as well as someone who does a focused task. We multi-taskers might get a lot done, but something suffers. I would posit that happiness suffers. We are so focused on getting the tasks done, that we don't take time for the pleasure of what we're doing to invade our soul.
While in France, my soul was invaded repeatedly by pleasure and I certainly enjoyed it! Back in the states...I continued to work hard to stay singularly focused. A very tall order and I am not always successful. For work things, I just have to multi-task...I can't seem to overcome the years of self-training to juggle 10 things at once. Oh well...guess I'll never be completely happy at work.
However, in more personal things...I have gotten much better at single-tasking. That's right...doing one thing at a time and enjoying it. Especially with cooking. But, it still takes actual effort. If I don't focus on focusing...I am soon doing several things at once and not enjoying any of them.
This is a very long-winded introduction to this week's recipe for French Fridays with Dorie. You may know where I'm headed on this one. While working on this very simple recipe (basically, create jello with orange juice, sugar and gelatin and then add fruit after the jello has set a bit), I was distracted with a few other things (like going shopping in the middle of making the jello). Dorie's recipe said to make the jello and then refrigerate it for two hours (stirring a few times) until it was the consistency of egg whites. I made the mix, popped it in the fridge and ran out for a quick shopping trip. About 90 minutes later, I texted St. James and asked him to stir the orange stuff in the fridge. He texted back and said it was set like jello and he couldn't really stir it. Oops!
The next morning, I started it again (luckily I had four packs of gelatin, as the recipe needed two). I reminded myself to stay focused. I thought I was focused, but got distracted for a little bit (I think I was cleaning the house, as we had company coming)...by the time I went to stir the gelatin, it was very set (not quite completely, but pretty darn close). At this point, I had no more gelatin (and was losing patience), so I added a little hot water to break it up a bit, stirred in the fruit and dumped it into a baking pan. When making this, I wasn't completely unpacked yet and couldn't find my loaf pans...so I used a square. When I unmolded, I used the first try as a base layer and then unmolded the second try on top of that. I should have put a layer of whipped cream or marscapone cheese in between the layers. That would have made the two layers hold together and give it a bit more of a visual interest. Along with the loaf pan, my camera was still packed also, so my one photo is from my iphone again. I now know that there are some cool apps for the iphone for photos (just downloaded hipstamatic), but you have to take the photo with the app...you can't fix the photo afterwards.
My result was not pretty, but it was quite tasty and everyone loved it. Only I knew that it should have looked oh so more elegant. I promise next week to have some nice photos...and maybe to stay focused and make the recipe properly.
PS...to all my fellow Doristas...I have been catching up on your blogs...however...google won't let me sign in for some damn reason and I can't leave any comments. I'll be working on that this week too!