Crazylandia Four and a Half

To go back a bit…

When I was working at the Italian restaurant there was a worldly piano teacher who worked in the building.

We bonded over Contemporary Classical Music (Cornelius Cardew) and 20th Century literature (Samuel Beckett).

Some nights, after lessons, he would come down for dinner. If it wasn’t too busy, we’d chat about music and literature, and I’d make him dinner.

I think one of the first times I was left alone to run the line, probably a Tuesday or Wednesday night, he came down.

It was spring and we had just received a shipment of beautiful morel mushrooms. The special that night was a morel risotto.

He asked me to make him a plate for dinner.

I was really pretty excited to be making a dinner for someone as worldly and sophisticated as he, so I did my best. At that time, I thought the best thing to “improve” the recipe and make it special would be to make a whole lot of it.

So I sent out a heaping plate of morel risotto.

Afterwards I asked him to be honest, I was after all just a learning cook, and tell me how the risotto had been.

He replied it was good, but the portion was too large. There was too much rice and not enough morels.


To be trying to impress someone with your cooking, and have the very thing you thought to do to make it special be pointed out as its flaw. And to see instantly that they are right. And worse than that, to have disrespected such a beautiful and special ingredient.

Yep, that smarts.

But, you learn the limitations of your knowledge, take the lesson, and move forward.

As Beckett writes in Worstward Ho, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”