Let’s be honest. We all like to think that the stuff we produce in our kitchens will be the best things our loved ones have ever tasted. We may even envision accolades like “This is the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten!” “You’re so talented!” “Wow, how did you come up with this recipe?!” Wonderful, right?
Since I started writing MyDeliciousBlog I’ve received lots of great feedback and compliments and I appreciate it all! One person even said “Gosh, it looks like everything you cook comes out great.” Such a fantastic thing to hear but, as nice as that would be, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Just ask my husband who, for the past ten years of our marriage has heard more screams, crashes and “oh no!” proclamations coming from the kitchen than I’m sure he would care to. So, when it comes to kitchen disasters, I’m not immune. As a matter of fact, my list of disastrous results is long. Here are just a few things that have happened in the last month alone:
1) I forgot to put baking powder into a cake batter so it only rose 1 inch. I cringe thinking of the wasted eggs and butter!
2) I accidentally set the timer on the oven to 1.5 hours when it should have been 15 minutes (what was I thinking?!?). Then, as I went about my other tasks, I wondered why I was smelling burned cookies. . .
3) Thinking I was being so smart and health conscious, I substituted wheat flour for all-purpose flour in a muffin recipe, without adjusting the fat and liquid proportions. Those horrible balls of sawdust could have been used as baseballs in a pinch. Not surprising, my husband asked me never to make them again.
Usually, my husband is there to console or coax me off the ledge. He usually says something like “It’s ok. No one died. You don’t have a terminal illness. You still have a happy life with a husband, family, friends and cats who love you, and the world won’t stop spinning just because this turkey didn’t turn out perfectly. And don’t forget that you’re doing something you love, so don’t take it so seriously.” Isn’t he great?
Truth be told, I do feel an immense sense of failure when a recipe doesn’t turn out as I had hoped. I’m sure I’m not alone. Julia Child once said “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” I still struggle with that but I’ve gotten better about acknowledging that I can’t have success without some disasters along the way. We all learn. We move on. It’s kind of like kissing a lot of frogs in order to find a prince. Plus, as I regularly remind myself, cooking really is fun and it’s a way to express love for special people around us.
So, for those of you who have had lousy results in the kitchen recently, take solace. It’s just a blip in your culinary chapter and you’ll move onto bigger and better things, armed with a new tool in your toolkit.
And even if your dish isn’t perfect enough to serve friends or family (such as a flat cake) AND you don’t like to throw food away (like me), maybe you can salvage the poor, pitiful thing. Consider slapping a label on it like “Emergency Only” and putting it in the freezer. “Emergency” could be defined as the moment when you’re craving something sweet and there’s absolutely nothing else available to you, so you’re willing to eat a sub-standard cake that makes your mouth pucker! Pictured above is one such pitiful cake of mine, nestled between the peas and ice cubes. I know it will come in handy one of these days 🙂