Ego boost: you make something for the very first time that is known to be particularly finicky or difficult, like dosa or sourdough bread, and the very first time, it comes out… perfectly.
Ego deflation: you make something the second time knowing that the first time, you totally nailed it, and the second time… it comes out like total garbage.
The latter is what happened when I made Banh Cuon yesterday. I reflected on the first time when I made these delicious ripe crepes in 2017, and being very ambitious, I made it for a dinner party on the day of. I didn’t think they could be that hard, and after the first crepe was a failure, every subsequent one came out perfectly. I was like a Banh Cuon whiz. I still have pictures from that day, and I was so proud of myself. Now, I just feel like a bit of a failure. Was it the pan (yes)? Was it the unevenness of the heat – maybe? Was it the original proportions of the cornstarch to rice flour to tapioca starch – yes. Was it all the above? A little.
These are the trials and errors of shelter-in-place.