That's what it takes sometimes to get me to try something that I had previously thought was outside my realm of possibilities. What's funny about this is the new things are often pretty easy/trivial.
For instance, a few years ago I was visiting a cousin when her then 17-year old daughter made us a delicious meal of vegetarian sushi. I was pretty impressed because I'd always considered sushi something that was only doable by someone with vast culinary experience. After the awe wore away it was replaced by a wee bit of indignation. I couldn't understand how someone who hadn't even graduated from high school could make sushi. I felt like the gauntlet had been thrown down and that was enough to push me out of my comfort zone. If she could make sushi, dammit, so could I. Of course, I quickly discovered that the reason a 17-year old was capable of rolling sushi had less to do with her abilities and more to do with the fact that it's actually pretty easy. Well, no matter, I now know how to make sushi and do so pretty regularly.
My second experience with awe morphing into something akin to a dare happened when I assisted in a teen cooking class. Every week this group of 10 or so teenagers got together and under the tutelage of the teacher, not me, made various desserts which everyone, student, teacher, and adult helpers got to sample at the end of the class. Yum!
At first I felt my kitchen skills were decidedly superior to the kids. I could peel an apple so that the entirety of the peel came off as one piece. I could roll out pie dough without having it stick to the counter. I knew what a double boiler was. Then one day we made crepes and I was crushed. Crepes definitely fell into the category of "things I don't make" and here I was in a teen class watching some 14-year old boy flip picture perfect crepes. "That's great," I said to him in praise, but inside I wasn't so positive. I came home that night and, following the instructions the teacher had given the kids, made a batch of crepes. They were not my best, but I've made them regularly since then and, like sushi, they have become a regular part of my cooking repertoire.
Then, the other day I saw this. I didn't get quite as indignant because Erin is not a teenager. Based on past experience that obviously plays a role in how competitive I get, but I did feel that pang. Bagels were on that unwritten list I keep of things I don't think a mere mortal such as myself can make. Don't ask me why. Don't ask me what the criteria is for deciding what is or is not within the capabilities of the average person. I just know it when I see it and bagels were definitely it.
Until yesterday that is.
Then I got so jacked up by my accomplishment that I baked a batch of blueberry muffins which never were or will be on the list of items too difficult for proletariat such as myself to conquer.