14 Life Lessons from The Great British Baking Show

If you know me you tolerate my obsession with the original Great British Baking Show. Each season begins with about 12 amature bakers and progressively tortures them with difficult and obscure baking challenges designed to eliminate them one by one. It’s much like the TV show ‘Survivor” but very British. And very sweet. Nobody’s hair is perfect, no one is trash-talking anyone behind their backs. When one of them is asked to go, big group hug. We can learn a lot from this.

Here are some life lessons gleaned from The Great British Baking Show:

1. You can be really, really good at something and still meet someone better than you.

2. Mistakes happen. How you handle them is what’s important.

3. You don’t have to create drama or villify people when they (or you) have to, or choose to, leave. Hug, smile, and move forward.

4. More often than not, being consistent is more important than showing off.

5. If someone tells you they want you to do something, and you don’t do it but you give them something else, don’t be surprised if they aren’t happy.

6. You use math and chemistry more often than you think.

7. No matter how pretty a pastry is, it still has to taste good.

8. Meltdowns are never pleasant to witness. Nor are they productive.

9. Do your homework.

10. When you bravely stretch outside your comfort zone, what you can accomplish will astound even you.

11. There’s nothing wrong with learning as you go.

12. Really know your basics. This alone may keep you out of trouble.

13. You don’t have to be the star of the show to make a big difference.

14. The pursuit of your goal can be more important than what you actually win, ie: Spending ten weekends baking in a tent with a bunch of strangers to win an engraved cake plate and an armful of flowers.

But. Afterwards . . . contestant Richard Burr wrote a book on baking, ‘BIY: Bake it Yourself’, Luis Troyano wrote ‘Bake It Great’, Chetna Makan wrote ‘The Cardamom Trail’ and ‘Chai, Chaat & Chutney: A Street Food Journey Through India’. Martha Collison wrote two baking books, ‘Twist’ and ‘Crave’ and she also has a weekly column with Waitrose. Jane Beedle has appeared on tv, including a spot making muffins on TV’s ‘Lorraine’.

Ian Cummings developed recipes for food brands, created a classic Thai green curry for Cambridge News, and wrote about baking bread in an Icelandic volcano for the Telegraph.

Ruby Tandoh wrote ‘Crumb: The Baking Book’ and ‘Flavour: Eat What You Love’. Ruby writes for The Guardian, co-founded “Do What You Want” and wrote a new book about body image and feminism “Eat Up: Appetite and Eating what you want.

And by the way, NONE of these personalities and successful cookbook authors actually WON The Great British Baking Show—they just participated their hearts out.

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