This is Not a Cooking Blog

Actually, lately it hasn’t been much of a blog at all. Sorry about that. Mind full and fingers still.

The mess pictured above was intended to become a coffee cake. A coffee cake made with freshly picked blackberries from my sister’s backyard which, if you know blackberries, you realize are a bit like zucchini – delicious at first and then plentiful in abundance. My mother and I decided on a coffee cake as part of an ongoing campaign to help her regain the 20 pounds she lost after a recent illness through a cake-at-three-meals-a-day strategy. I don’t know if she is gaining weight but I am.

Anyhow, being helpful daughter this week (as opposed to daughter on the wrong coast who doesn’t call often enough, which I am most weeks), I dashed off to the grocery to pick up another lemon and a small container of full-fat Greek yogurt. Then, while the dinner soup was simmering and corn bread muffins cooling, I casually tossed the ingredients together as per recipe Googled as if I did this every day. And ended up with that mess, plus a large bowl of coffee cake topping, and a bowl of glaze.

Hm. This looketh not like a coffee cake. Not being someone who tosses coffee cakes together every day, I vaguely remembered that they are generally a drier batter than regular cakes. I checked the recipe: pour half the batter into the pan, layer the blackberries, then drizzle the remaining batter over the blackberries. Those verbs were just not going to apply to this batter.

After a quick consult with mom, I added the rest of the yogurt and some milk, raised the oven temp to muffin temp, greased the muffin-tin and baked them. At worst, they’d be awful and I’d have to wash the muffin tin. At best, we’d end up with something edible. They looked good when I took them out, a pretty golden brown, and they smelled good.

So this morning, I reheated them with coffee cake crumble on top, turned the blackberries into syrup, split the muffins, soaked them in syrup, and drizzled the icing over the top. They looked delicious.

They tasted delicious. Possibly not reproducible since the next time I follow the recipe it might work fine (suspect the flour wanted sifting).

How often do we find ourselves in a situation at work, where we’re facing a bowl of something that is supposed to pour and drizzle but clearly won’t – possibly through some miscommunication or mistake of our own – and we start to panic because, if it’s work, it’s probably not a coffee cake, it’s probably profits, expenses, reputation, morale, or customer-relationships. Instead of thinking, how can I possibly turn this into less of a disaster, we freeze, staring into the bowl of glop, unable to form a coherent plan.

At this moment, I always like to ask myself, “If this were possible, what would make it possible?” Sometimes I even say it aloud, sometimes it helps people think outside the box, and we come up with a solution. It may not be what we had originally envisioned or planned, but it works.

If this were possible, what would make it possible?

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