Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ubuntu Cookie Review

When one posts something on the Internet, it is foolish for them to think that it will be ignored. And when one posts something, full-well knowing that it will not be ignored, it is foolish for them to think that it will not be criticized at some point. While I did not harbor this delusion, it was also not a thought that occurred to me. I didn't spend a string of sleepless nights wondering what people would think. I didn't live in days of constant fear of what the critics would think. I posted information that I thought would be interesting to some, and hoped that it would also be informative. To say that I actually expect anyone to attempt half of what I post would be... well, that would just be silly.

That said, I came across something interesting today in my stats. Somebody not only attempted my Ubuntu cookies, but then reviewed my procedures. Apparently my writing left them with that warm fuzzy feeling that one gets when they know they're about to do something really good, and really enjoy it. Sometime later, they realized a fact I failed to include: some of the stuff I do is really hard, and largely a waste of time.

Why then, do I do it? Why do I spend countless hours in my kitchen, putting together some crack-pot recipe and/or design that I know that nobody in their right mind would attempt, and then post tutorials and walkthroughs? The main reason is practice. There are few things that I love in life as much as the kitchen. I will spend the next couple of decades paying off student loans from cooking school, unless something really lucky happens to me financially, and I don't even work in a professional kitchen. Cooking is a labor of love for me, and an obsession. I'm not happy just being a good cook. I want to be a better cook. And so I challenge myself. A lot of what I do is little more than proof of concept. But as I work through my challenges, I learn. As I learn, I get better. And as I get better, I think of new challenges.

That explains why I do these crazy things in the first place. So why post them? I want to share my experiences with others, in the hopes that they can learn from my mistakes and successes without having to experience them myself. Much of the information presented consists of things that professional cooks are never taught, but will eventually learn on their own. Some of them, such as Anthony Bourdain, have managed to land publishing and television deals that allow them to share such experiences. Most will never have that opportunity, except with those close to them. And if somebody does want to experience what I have already told them about? I wish them luck, and hope that they learn from it as I did.

How hard were the cookies? They were really hard. I actually did the Tux cookies first. They were incredibly difficult, and my freezer didn't handle all the opening and closing very well. Immediately after I finished them, I did the Ubuntu cookies. They were relatively easy, but only in comparison to the Tux cookies before them. Had I done them first, they would have been much harder. And the Firefox cookies? Compared to the Tux and Ubuntu cookies, making the Firefox cookies was almost as easy as eating them. And yes, anyone that would attempt to make a 3D Tux cake probably needs their head examined, including me. But I consider the knowledge I gained from making the Tux cake to be nothing short of invaluable. I do plan to make another 3D cake in the fairly near future, and I expect to use every piece of information that I learned in making the Tux cake. I don't, however, expect that cake to be any easier. With luck, it will be a lot more challenging, which will also make it just that much more rewarding.

I appreciate all those who write such reviews, not just about my work, but about all such efforts. I believe I learned from their article at least as much as they apparently learned from mine. To all of those who wish to attempt some of my creations: I wish you luck, both in your efforts and in the therapy that will likely follow.


  1. You know I tried the cookie recipe and forgot to tell you about it.

    On the downside: I couldn't find when exactly was the best time to color the dough. I wound up referring to other recipe books to figure it out. I printed out four pages for the recipe. Of course, knowing you I wasn't expecting a recipe card either.

    On the upside the cookies went rather well. I opted for a simpler design: a pumpkin with three colors and layers. I started with one large orange center roll. I then made a trough for it. A smaller green roll went inside the trough. Then I also had some plain dough that I rolled out. The pumpkin core was wrapped inside the uncolored dough so that the cookie had a nice white outside to wrap it up.

    I also used margarine instead of butter. I know it's not the best, but it worked. :)

  2. The festival is going on this weekend but it's been moved to the Boy Scout headquarters in Orem. I entered a house at this one for the 1st time as a professional and I was quite amazed at the entries I saw when I dropped mine off. They are HORRIBLY unorganized for sure. It was like being in the middle of a tornado and I was 5 hours into delivery time. I thought mine was pretty great (a giant suitcase with a mouse village built inside) but sitting next to the giant ginger castle, mine lost some luster. I too was surprised at the level of some of the entries.


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