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“Abbey the Intern” – Expect the Unexpected

Recently, I attempted baking one of the winning recipes from this year’s Amateur Recipe Contest — Apple-Grilled Cheese Dessert Sandwiches. I was so excited to try this new recipe, especially since I promised to bring in samples for the Michigan Apple Committee. I just knew that it had to turn out perfect.

I went to my parents’ house so I could use their kitchen to bake. I was set up and ready to go, and that’s when it all began. I should have known… I’m not an expert in the kitchen. As a working college student, I barely spend time in the kitchen since most of my meals are microwaved or “on-the-go”.

Part of the recipe calls for homemade pound cake. I’ve never made pound cake before, but at the time I thought to myself, how hard could it be? First attempt, fail. Second attempt, again, no success. Third attempt, forget it. I began to get really frustrated. Why couldn’t I make this work? A couple people gave me some baking tips, and many people told me to not give up and keep trying. So I did. Fourth attempt, a little better. At that time, I realized I had used up all of the ingredients in my parents’ house, leaving them with no eggs, butter, sugar, etc. It was time to make a trip to the grocery store.

Frustrated and embarrassed, I thought about what happened on my way to the store. I realized there was a bigger lesson behind this. First of all, I began this task feeling overly confident. Cooking and baking may come easy for some people, but not for everyone. It takes time and patience, which reminded me that I should never assume that something is easy before actually doing it. This experience gave me a new respect for people who are excellent cooks and bakers, especially the ones who never give up on trying something new.

This experience also reminded me that not everything goes according to plan. I assumed that everything would go smoothly and I would be able to bring in a great-tasting treat for the office to enjoy. However, as an aspiring PR professional, I’m taught to always hope for the best and prepare for the worst. For instance, we can always prepare for the unexpected by having a back-up plan. Looking back, I should have prepared myself for what actually happened so that I would’ve been more efficient with my time and food costs.

Another, yet more extreme, example of how things happen unexpectedly is the 2012 crop loss. It’s hard to predict when a disaster will strike, especially when it’s caused by something out of our control, like the weather. Having a back-up plan helps with knowing what to do next while lowering levels of worry and concern.

While such experiences can cause negative consequences, it’s good to know that there are some positive outcomes to every situation. For instance, for me it was that I gained a new respect for cooks and bakers while learning a valuable lesson about having too high of expectations. Something positive can be said to have come of the devastating crop loss, as well. For instance, if there is one thing people should know about Michigan apple growers, it’s that they are hard workers who do not break under pressure easily. If anything, the tragedy brought the Michigan Apple community closer.

When I spoke to Michigan Apple grower Al Dietrich on the phone last summer, he couldn’t have explained it more perfectly –

“An industry like the Michigan apple industry is hard to find. Although we are competitors of the same market, Michigan apple growers are like a big family who share growing, storing and packing ideas with each other. We all support one another and work together as a whole. We come together for one reason, and that is Michigan apples.”