Friday, June 10, 2011

Kolache Intimidation, Contemplation, and Other Technical Difficulties

Back in the late 1970's and early 1980's,  James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente developed The Stages of Change Model as a way to describe the process smokers go through in trying to quit. Why do I bring this up? While working to improve the blog for you guys, I made a realization: It has been over a year since I have attempted to make a batch of kolaches. A year since I have attempted to master what this blog's name was all about. It got me thinking. Why have I not tried to make these in so long? I have all these new gadgets to help, 3 pages of notes from my kolache lesson with a little old Czech lady, what am I missing? This is what has turned me back around to these stages of change. Many of you have probably heard of these stages, but here is a quick brief for the rest of you, and how they fit in relation to my problem behavior of avoiding making kolaches.

Stage I: Precontemplation (Not yet acknowledging that there is a problem behavior that needs to be changed.)
  • "Kolaches?! Who wants those things? No one. So what if I don't make them, get off my back, will ya?"
Stage 2: Contemplation (Acknowledging that there is a problem but not yet ready or sure of wanting to make a change.)
  • "Okay, so it's been a year since I've baked them, but you know, I'm busy and tired. I mean, we can always get them from the store when we visit Jon's parents if we needed some anyway."
Stage 3: Preparation/Determination (Getting ready to change)
  • "I think I really need to make some kolaches, lest I forget everything I learned during Kolache lesson 101....over a YEAR AGO!!! Holy Fishsticks, it's been that long!?!!

Stage 4: Action/Willpower (Changing the behavior)
  • I am going to make some kolaches! This very weekend!

Stage 5: Maintenance (Maintaining the behavior change)
  • Big family get together coming up! Time to make more kolaches!

Stage 6: Relapse (Returning to older behaviors and abandoning the new changes)
  • Screw this, I'm not baking anymore. Ever.
Now not everyone relapses, some people relapse and then re-enter the cycle. As far as I can tell, I'm sitting between Contemplation and Preparation, and here's why.

Kolaches nemesis. They are not merely a pastry that can be whipped up in a batch of a dozen or so. They are usually made in batches of 6-10 dozen at a time. They are a labor of love that take an entire day of coddling to make perfectly. It is exhausting and your back is killing you by the time you are done making them. You also need a giant bowl to make them in, and I am concerned that I still don't own a bowl big enough to contain all the dough. Okay, you're right, I'm still making excuses. I have just had so many fails when it comes to kolaches that I don't know if I can stomach one more.

And let me tell you another thing, the good bakers don't write their recipes down. When I went to the Kolache Master's house, she told me to use 10 sifters full of flour. Not cups, no units, not spoonfuls. A sifter full is not a unit of measurement. Why 10 sifters full of flour? Because that was just how many would fit into her stand mixer. Well, what if my stand mixer is not as big as hers? Then what? The whole mess will be off then and I'd have another disaster on my hands like this, this, this, and let's not forget this.

Will I ever get this right?

I can't even get photograph them properly!

... *sigh* ...

What would Julia think if she heard this? She would be abhorred. "You have to be fearless!!!" she would chirp. She's right, you know. I could spend the rest of life being afraid of these things, or I could say, "What the hell!" and keep on trying. I'm still wavering between Contemplation and Preparation, but now I'm making plans to go purchase what I need: 10 lbs. of flour, 4 dozen eggs, a gallon of cream and 45 lbs of butter. Maybe if I can find my balls tomorrow I will get started, long as I am up by 4 a.m., I should have enough time to finish. Wish me luck.


  1. Yay, kolaches! Yay, Stages of Change!


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