THE HAPPY ACCIDENT
Tarte tatin was the result of an accident. Or so I've read.
There are a few versions of the story but it is commonly said that Stéphanie Tatin, one of the two sisters that ran the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, was overworked one day and while trying to bake her specialty "tarte aux pommes", accidentally placed the apples and sugar in the pan before placing the pie crust first. In a rush, she threw the crust on top, baked the whole pan in the oven and turned it out on a plate upside down . . . and the rest is history. An accident turned one of the most famous french desserts of all time. "An accident in the kitchen story" surely does not get better than this. But that does not mean there aren't other good stories.
The storyline is a bit different but these tartes tatin was a result of an accident too: there were some figs trying to be caramelized and they collapsed. Luckily there was an apple.
As the Tatin sisters' story tells us, the kitchen is a place to learn that not all accidents are failures — quite the contrary, some of the most beautiful and delicious things can be a result of one. How odd to welcome these "accidents" when all my life I have been more than careful to avoid (m)any, going to great lengths at times. It is like looking at the world (or the kitchen) through a different pair of glasses, and improvisation and spontaneity and a few spills and crumbles here and there . . . it is all welcome. Accidents do not end as mere accidents but become happy accidents. Which brings us back to the tartes tatin.