Exploding empanadas and imploding brains

The first rule for setting up on your own is that it’s OK to give yourself a break. For me, yesterday was that day.

It is common knowledge that starting a business is fraught with:

1) set-backs;

2) obstacles to tackle;

3) and problems to solve.

– And those are only three different ways of the thousands available to describe what can go wrong.

These facts are usually comfortably accepted from a safe distance –  as I did only a few months ago. However, I am now elbow-deep in product improvement and struggling to achieve a reliable, sturdy dough. Yesterday I had one of those moments where the culmination of two days of cooking was made completely redundant by an undercooked dough and forty empanadas in the bin (well…probably baked and fed to the family as an experiment).

I would like to say that at 5pm today I shrugged and got straight back to re-making EVERYTHING…..but that would be highly innacurate and in no way depict the meltdown in my brain where nothing was ever going to work and I had made a huge mistake even choosing maize in the first place!

So, after mentally throwing in the towel, I slinked off into the garden to have a cigarette (I know, unpopular these days…). While I sat in the sunshine with my sister she couldn’t really understand  why I was making such a big deal about not being ready for the market stall by the next day. I said that it was my deadline and I would be failing if I didn’t show up to my own deadline!

I talked through the logistics of killing myself in order to get everything made and organised by 7am the next day and realised that it was probably better to finish off what I could do today and prepare fully and thoroughly the following day. That way I would avoid forgetting things due to lack of sleep (such as my empanada warmer oven on my first day at the stall last week! yeeshk!) and make sure that I present Maize Blaze at it’s best, as opposed to rushed and potentially disastrous.

I took a two hour break; had a snack and a shower; and went back to the kitchen chirpy and refreshed enough to find a solution to the dough debacle.

Red pepper and sweet potato empanada nestled safely in some red cabbage salad, maize 'cous cous' with and my spiced maize swirls for extra crunch.

First intact empanada of the day (finally!)
Red pepper and sweet potato empanada nestled safely in some red cabbage salad, maize ‘cous cous’ with and my spiced maize swirls for extra crunch.

I wasn’t at the market today but I am satisfied that it was the best option but, most importantly – I am happy and motivated again. I would not underestimate the power of taking time away from the problem to get perspective but also of accepting that things can, AND WILL go wrong. The trick is allowing yourself to recover from the set-back before tackling it and not beating yourself about it in the first place.

Lesson One for me with Maize Blaze but I am sure there will be many more….!

(*quivers with fear and excitement*)


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