A couple months back, a group of us (3 couples to be exact) decided to begin a monthly “game night”. A rather simple endeavor, pick a date, rotate the host/hostess, decide on a theme, choose a game and let the fun ensue. We have gotten through our first host/hostess rotation, appropriately so, the first theme was “In the Garden of Eden”. My turn came second and “A Very Brady Game Night” was born, complete with “Sam slippin’ Alice the meatballs” subs ( I never claimed to have angelic heritage). Last night brought us to “Tea Time at Tina’s”, an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party/Japanese Tea Ceremony Fusion event.

And all of this has what to do with “Hi, it’s Tina” or the “Daring Bakers”, you ask?

Well, Tina is a young, starry eyed, although a bit trepidacious hostess; she has great ideas, makes wonderful menu choices but becomes unsure upon entering the “implementation” phase of things. So, as the sands emptied from the hourglass, my phone began to ring with more frequency and urgency…”can I?, should I?, how much?, too little?, what temp?, how long?… the questions flew!!!! Now I am not the most tech savvy person on the planet but my cell phone does have caller ID, I have assigned Tina her own special ringtone and my hearing is still sharp enough that I can recognize this sweet ones voice; but each and every time I answer, with what she descibes as a husky, sleepy growl of a Hello, the response is always a cheery, melodic “Hi!, It’s Tina” (one must hear it to truly understand).

“The Daring Bakers”, intriguing, fascinating, a group of Blogger/Bakers. My limited understanding is that they, each and every month, create a baking challenge, “bake” the challenge and lastly blog about the challenge. On a specified date, the blogs of each “DB” discussing the challenge are “revealed”. The same ingredients, the same techniques yet results as varied as each Baker that Dared. Creativity combined with challenge and in the end, if the “Oven Gods” are smiling, a sweet reward! What a fun bunch, “I must belong”, so to the founders Lisa & Ivonne I send my request.

Again you ask, one relates to the other HOW?

Moments after I send my request a warm and welcoming reply arrives. A thank you for interest in “our little baking community” and a listing of “rules and responsibilities”. Now I have read and reread the reply and I assure you there was no “but” in it, nevertheless, I heard a “but” loud and clear. The “rules and responsibilities”, hmmm, the trepidation was setting in, “Tina I understand you”. Baking, now that is certainly not the issue, true I have had my share of “fallen” cakes, more than once I have been heavy handed with an ingredient and have upset the balance of flavor in a dish but I have often been heard to say, “I taught Martha Stewart everything she knows”…obviously a false statement but a blazing testament to the confidence of my skills in the kitchen!

Blogging, however, puts me on a totally different comfort level, or I shall say “discomfort” level. Don’t get me wrong, years ago while we were still using chisels to carve words into stone, I always received high marks and praise in my creative writing courses. Then I could turn a phrase, occasionally I still can, but then I was under the tutelage of knowledgeable folk, fresh in my mind was the difference between a verb and a preposition, then I knew a noun from an adjective!! After years of not really using these skills regularly and of settling into speaking “not-so-grammatically” correct english, I now worry what “experienced” bloggers would think of my “scribblings”.

So staring at the reply, I thought, “how nice, they opened the door” yet I also thought “I am not worthy to enter their Sanctum Sanctorum“. “can I?, should I?, how much?, too little?, what phrase?, how long?” again the questions flew yet this time not from Tina but from myself!! I debated and all but decided to reply with an appreciative Thank You but…

Luckily, a glance to the clock on the wall indicated it was time to get to game night, so my reply would have to wait a bit. Off Ray and I fly, we are the first to arrive, yet late as is typical of this group. In the door we walk and there is Tina, lovely in a kimono purchased in Paris, a few platters of food not completely “put together”, yet surprisingly absent was the sweat from her brow as I expected. The trepidation had transformed into calm surrender, it is what it is, it is what it will be. We chatted, laughed, ate and had a marvelous time. Questions aside, a smashing success!!!

Arriving at home, I thought “Tina overcame her obstacles and so shall I”! This morning a reply to Lisa & Ivonne, yes I accept the rules, I am ready for the responsibilities…no word as of yet but I am committed to becoming a Daring Baker. Perhaps not tomorrow but someday soon I will reference Shakespeare and his talents in the same manner that I do Martha’s!!

The teacher is now the grasshopper, it is now my turn to say….

“Hi, It’s Tina !”