June 23: Disco Stu

The Task.

Dance, like no-one is watching, for 15 minutes. It doesn’t matter what it looks like and it does not matter what music, so long as I am in my body and moving in a way that feels right.


Why this challenge?

Dancing is great. It connects you with your body like almost nothing else can. I am someone that stays in his head 80% of the time so getting out of it is always a good idea. Besides, the things that go on in my head, no one would want to stay in here for long.

Additionally, I like to empathize with others and their experiences. Why is this important? Why, because my girlfriend is a dancer, and although 15 minutes is nowhere near the sometimes 40 hours a week she does, I hope I can get a picture of her passion.


Execution.

Put on some good music and dance baby.

The important thing is to not think about what movements you are doing. If you try to put on a show and attempt to look good (at least for me) it doesn’t go well. You have to let your body just go with it.


What I’ve Learned.

To stay out of my head a little more. Being in my body is energising and brings a certain contented joy that only comes from such an activity.

And finally, I think I now see why Natalie (my gf), enjoys dancing so much.


 

June 9: The Self, in Physical Form

I am sorry this post was a day late, but by the time I finished the challenge it was definitely time for bed.

The challenge Yesterday was rather broadly defined as simply baking something new. The catch? It had to be from scratch. Who would call Nutella croissants a bad idea?


Why did I pick this challenge?

I enjoy cooking. When I say that, people assume two things: the first is that I am good at cooking, and the second is that I look forward to it. I am no chef, and I should definitely measure a lot more of my ingredients. Additionally, I don’t exactly wake up looking forward to cooking breakfast, and in fact I often procrastinate cooking, but once I force myself to get started, I find joy in the task.

I consider myself a person open to all new experiences, as broadening my horizons is one of my core values. I think humans in general love new experiences. In my opinion, television, which opens people to limitless experiences, is a reflection of this in my opinion as it offers the most amount of experience for the least amount of effort. The culinary world has an incredibly diverse makeup and is another easy area to gain broader horizons. Hence the term ‘foodie’.


Execution.

As my lovely girlfriend, Natalie suggested the challenge in the first place, it was only fitting that she participated in it. An adventure to Woolworth’s for puff pastry ingredients lead to a ten-minute long primer on what ‘strong’ flour means, before finally finding it and heading home.

I had no idea that puff pastry was only flour and butter, but I also had no idea how hard it is to get right. We combined the ingredients and rolled it, folding it about 5 times, before storing it in the fridge to cool. I should mention that I don’t own a rolling pin so improvising lead to a mostly-empty red wine bottle being used. #unilife

At this point, Natalie went to bed because she needed to get up early, and I continued the process. Let me tell you that it did not end up as planned. Croissants were a bit ambitious, ending up more along the lines of shortbread biscuits. Bad shortbread biscuits. On the plus side, I had fun making them and didn’t just make the one shape:

 

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Unfortunately the only picture I took of them. Romantic though right?

 

The puff pastry really didn’t embody the ‘puff’ aspect of its name.


What I’ve learned.

Baking is much more of a science than cooking is. I am not saying that cooking is simple, but you can use a recipe as more of a guideline and still get a decent result. Baking is not similar in that respect, especially pastry. The measurements were followed; however, I didn’t read the warnings about pastry personally, simply relying on my girlfriend’s knowledge, which resulted in me ruining them.

I was more affected about my failure than I would have usually been. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, working on them late into the morning and/or the creative nature of rolling out the dough, cutting what you need and crafting the shape. All I know is that I was crushed when they sucked, and I now know what bakers mean when they ‘put their heart into their food’ in a very intimate way. The action of creating something, and putting effort into it, imbues that something with part of your personality, and when the final product comes out good, you feel pride, not just in your creation, but also yourself. Sadly, when the result is not so good, the reflecting nature of it can make you feel a sense of shame.