Today began very routinely. Then I decided to step outside my comfort zone. I decided to make a quiche.
I’ve cooked eggs many ways. I cooked my first scrambled eggs standing on a chair. Then I discovered the delicacy of fried eggs on toast. I mastered the over-medium egg in the kitchen of my first apartment. Now, the sunny-side up egg and the frittata—or “crustless” quiche—are standard breakfast in our home.
But while you can throw a frittata together in haste, a quiche must be made with care. You must make a delicate, buttery dough, well in advance. You must blend the perfect balance of eggs and cream for a silky custard filling. You must gently layer cheese, bacon and onions so they float evenly once the custard is set. And finally, you must handle the golden crust like an expensive vase.
Why would I take on such a daring task, you ask?
The cons are loud and clear. I will spend far hours more than it takes to prepare our usual breakfast. I will likely waste costly ingredients making a mistake along the way. And I fully expect the end result will be a failure—I only hope it will be edible.
But, my dear friends, I assure I embark upon this journey enthusiastically.
Let me explain why.
I can remember the last time I made sunny-side up eggs—because it was this morning. But I can’t remember a time last year that I made them. There were many, but none worth remembering.
I’m sure the series of unmemorable acts made slow, incremental refinements to my skill. And I no doubt owe this morning’s delicious breakfast to those cumulative hours of practice. But those acts did not provide anything groundbreaking. I did not learn anything new.
But, today’s costly and likely-to-fail experiment will be remembered. And it will offer more lessons than I will be able to learn from at once.
I’ve heard it said that you move mountains one small rock at a time. But that’s nonsense. The earth shakes suddenly and violently, moving them in huge pieces, or even all at once.
Sure, there is a time and a place for refinement. But leaps are made by doing something radically different. And passion and creativity are fueled by shaking things up.
You don’t have to make a quiche, but do something wild and different today. I assure you, you won’t forget it.
And, if you’d like to take a crack at this yourself, you can find the recipe in Bouchon, the cookbook from Thomas Keller.